A new direction

I’m turning my music business over to kencorymusic.com, and repurposing kencory.ca into a more political forum. This is my first entry in the new format.

Here’s a link to an article in Science Blogs by John Dupuis. To quote: “This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government’s long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making.” It’s a long and growing list of Contemptible Steve Harper’s actions to erode environmental regulations and destroy libraries and research facilities concerned with science and the environment. John asks for your help in obtaining references in the media to support his statements so that they cannot be contested. It’s an ongoing effort, last updated in October 2014.

The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment.

Taking a vacation from Facebook

I took a Facebook break – a vacation if you will – this past month. I quit on the spur of the moment. Choose your cliché: It was a perfect storm of reasons to quit, or there was a straw that broke the camel’s back, or “I needed a chance to spend more time with my family”, but I made the decision to take a break within a few milliseconds of realizing that I really didn’t like being on FB any more.

I must say that I enjoyed my first three or four weeks on vacation, but I’m starting to feel the pull back to the community I left behind. My birthday is coming up anyway, and I think it would be rude not to acknowledge the greetings that will come my way. So I’ll be coming back fairly soon.

So why, really, did I feel the need to take a vacation from Facebook? None of the following reasons are all that compelling, but put together, they added up to enough frustration and discomfort to make me want to get out, at least for a little while.

  • Click Bait. I was really getting tired of the number of FB posts that claimed “We did such and such, and you won’t believe what happened next!” and a thousand variants of this. I realize this is a disease of the whole World Wide Web, but it seemed to me that it festered more virulently in Facebook.
  • Stock comments I have a sharp ear for chiché, so I quickly tire of people saying almost the same supposedly clever but ultimately tedious thing in their FB comments, such as “This is wrong on so many levels.” or “I tasted a little vomit in the back of my throat when I looked at this.”
  • Irony Enough said. The world is tired of irony, and starved for honesty and straight talk.
  • Memes and Mindless sharing I don’t think it’s particularly clever to surf the Net to share some gem on facebook. Even if the gem is a jewel of creative genius, your sharing of it is not.
  • Trolls, curmudgeons, and armchair experts. You know who you are. It is impossible to win an argument on facebook, or anywhere else for that matter. I learned this online about thirty years ago, and it’s still true, so it saddens me that people just keep on arguing, instead of sharing their knowledge.
  • Likes I won’t feel comfortable on facebook until I can find a way to disable “likes”. Waiting for someone to like your post (and being disappointed when they don’t) is the single most unpleasant aspect of the facebook experience, and I would dearly love to get rid of Likes completely, in the same way I can get rid of ads.

The 20 Pianos of Ernán López-Nussa

My friend Dr. Germán Rogés gave me this collection of etudes by Cuban pianist Ernán López-Nussa. They were composed for twenty of his piano students, each etude being targeted for a specific student. That said, they are useful to any piano player interested in exploring the Cuban style. I’m fairly certain that all of these etudes were recorded by the composer.

If you’re wondering about copyright, there is none, because López-Nussa placed all of these works in the public domain.

Each coloured link points you to a PDF of the piano score of the audio file immediately below it. Some of the titles, which are in Spanish and French, are followed by my clumsy translations into English.

Feel free to download any of these recordings and scores.

01. Al paso de Adán (No recording available)
02. Angeles de paso

03. Invierno en La Habana (1) – Winter in Havana

04. Locos y loqueros

05. La Voisine – The neighbour

06. Lobo’s cha (no recording available)
07. Voile de Mariee – Bridal Veil

08. Invierno en La Habana (2) – Winter in Havana

09. Zontime Nº3

10. Puesto y convidado (ZT 1)

11. La viña del señor – The lord’s vineyard.(ZT 2)

12. Renoir y Nana

13. Volver a Cuba – Return to Cuba

14. Danza de los inocentes – Dance of the innocents

15. Niña con violin – Girl with a violin

16. Reencuentro – Reunion

17. Figuraciones

18 Carta Anais – Letter to Anais

19. Bruma en otoño – In the autumn mist

20. Momo – Funny Face

21. Clave (Bonus score, but no recording available)

I’ve Got a Crush On You – Dave Barduhn arrangement – Trombone and Piano United

I’ve been playing I’ve Got a Crush On You in big bands for around 15 years now, and I’ve never been able to figure out what the trombone is doing in the intro verse. Well, the other night I took a photo of the trombone part, and today I wrote out a chart that should have been in Dave Barduhn’s original piano part. In the interest of saving the world one chart at a time, here’s my contribution. Feel free to download it! I ve Got a Crush On You – Trombone and Piano Verse
I have this in jpg as well, if you need it. Just send me a comment.

Back to pop.

To prepare for an upcoming house party gig, I’m having to learn songs that I ignored all through the ’70’s, when I was into Yes,  Genesis, Gentle Giant and Steely Dan; through the ’80’s when all I listened to was Canadian jazz, in particular the Boss Brass, Lorraine Desmarais, and Oscar Peterson; and through the ’90’s when it was all about kid’s music: Sharon Lois and Bram, Fred Penner, and Sesame Street. So goodbye to all that and hello to Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Jim Croce, Counting Crows,…stuff I thought I’d managed to avoid for good.

Coming at them after all these years, though, I can really appreciate how great some of these songs are.

Moonlighting

I recently returned to an old nemesis of mine from my teens, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”. Despite the first two lyrical pages, the middle section of this piece is quite intimidating and requires a very muscular approach, both to the arpeggios and the two-note chords in the fourth and fifth fingers of the left hand. Since having drifted away from the “curled fingers” hand shape that I was forced to adopt as a child, and towards a more relaxed, flattened, and flexible position, I find myself much more comfortable with all those black notes.

I’ve been asked to play Claire de Lune as an accompaniment to a flute solo, and I was given a “simplified” piano part to play in a one-off concert. Since the flute has the melody, the left-hand arpeggios have been split between the two hands, and the right hand is assigned the lower part of any two-part passages.

Between you and me, I’ll be damned if I’m going to learn it. Learning a “simplified” version would just destroy the solo piano version I worked so hard on.