Welcome To The Creative Act

A pro-musician making sense of the creative process within the context of his life experience.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Marriage of Figaro - Overture - Zubin Mehta conducts the Israel Philharmonic

I'm posting this because I saw "The Marriage of Figaro" by Mozart at the Santa Fe Opera last night. Great seats and a great experience! The Santa Fe Opera is a great place to attend any musical event and to be able to see this most famous of operas was a highlight of my Summer. This overture is an amazing piece of work. Mozart's genius comes through in every note. RR

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim

This is beyond cool! Jobim and Sinatra are two of my favorite musical artists of the 20th Century. Seeing them both perform some of the hippest music ever created is a real treat for me. When I was a kid, we could see performances like this on broadcast TV! Now, we are subjected to American Idol. Progress? I wonder if there will ever be a Bossa Nova revival? We can only hope and pray! RR

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mario Lanza - Nessun Dorma

'Nessun Dorma' by Puccini is one of my favorite operatic pieces. My Dad had some records by Mario Lanza and I enjoyed listening to them when I was a boy. This song just captured my imagination. I didn't know the words as they were in Italian but it didn't matter because the song was so strong and Mario Lanza's performance was so emotional. I still enjoy listening to his recordings.

Music is a balm for me and I never really know what kind of music works for me from day to day. I make my living performing classical guitar and native flute but I enjoy listening to a great variety of music. My only requirement is that it be good and that it touches me on some level. Of course that is a very subjective measure but musical taste is a very personal attribute. Over the years, I have developed my musical sensitivities and I certainly know what I like. I am always open to new possibilities but I have a lifetime of listening as a reference. I have learned that I am not easily swayed by mass media and I tend to be disappointed by popular culture.

I hope you enjoy 'Nessun Dorma' as much as I have. Here's an idea...borrow your parents' record collection for awhile and see what happens! RR

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

R Carlos Nakai - Potomac 2008

R. Carlos Nakai is to the Native Flute what Segovia was to the Classical Guitar. Here he says a few words after a performance regarding directions in life and the choices we make, our duty to one another and peace. He also opens up a bit about his Vietnam War experience. It's all really rather moving. I have had the privilege to spend an evening with R.C. one on one just talking about the flute, music and our heritage. It was one of the highlights of my life to meet and share words with one of my great musical influences. I have only the greatest admiration for this gentle man. RR

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vincent (Starry Starry Night) - Don McLean

I watched "Lust for Life" today. Kirk Douglas' compelling portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh is so touching. The pain of Vincent's existence is something all artists can identify with at some level. The dark side of a creative life for so many artists is manic depression or bi-polar disorder. It seems that the gift of creativity is accompanied by the mood swings that fuel the creative spark. The swings can be overwhelming for some artists. The mania is a kind of 'high' that gives us the energy to work through the process of creation. When the project is completed, we stand back in emotional exhaustion. The 'low' can be debilitating. When accompanied by rejection and financial difficulties, the 'low' can lethal.

Artists have to be aware of their emotional state and understand the underlying reasons for their feelings. If artists ignore their emotions, they can feel hopeless and helpless. They can feel that there is no way off of the rollercoaster ride. This can result in very self destructive behavior leading to suicidal tendencies in extreme cases. I have buried too many artist friends who have taken their own lives because of this condition.

Don McLean's song shows me that he understood all too well what Vincent was going through. This was one of my favorite songs when I was young and Vincent Van Gogh has always been one of my favorite artists. His work spoke to me and helped me to understand that artistry can and does help a human being to make contact with their inner and higher nature. Artists have no choice but to create...that is our nature. Here's to you Vincent...this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you! RR

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eva Cassidy edition of ABC Nightline

This Nightline special on Eva Cassidy is sad yet inspiring. It shows how music making is more than fame and fortune. She practiced her craft out of love and it shows in the depth of her performance. Music labels didn't know what to do with her so they chose not sign her. Her story is a lesson to all musicians to never give up on their gifts. Don't let ego trips get in the way. Be glad for the miracle that we are. Love the audience...we need them as much as they need us. Life is short and for some even shorter. Play while you can... RR

Eva Cassidy -- ABC Nightline part 2 of 3

Eva Cassidy on ABC Nightline --part 3

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eva Cassidy - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Eva was such a beautiful gift to the world. Songs don't get much more beautiful than this. A perfect melding of song, lyrics and vocal performance. The human heart is softened with every hearing. Isn't that what a good song does? RR

J.S. Bach: Glory to God Alone

J.S. Bach is consuming most of my attention right now. This video is a good introduction to his life and music. I have to wonder what my life would be like without his music. When I am doubting my beliefs, I listen to Bach and realize that there is a Creator Spirit who wants to share love with us. Bach's music really is that important! RR

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chaconne - J. S. Bach

Part II

I consider the Chaconne by J.S. Bach to be the greatest piece of music ever composed. Bach was a great gift to humanity and to musicians in particular. I never tire of studying Bach and the Chaconne has been a source of endless joy for me. The Chaconne helps me to make contact with my higher spirit. It is my goal to learn it well enough to perform it in public. I am nowhere near achieving that goal but is is one of my life's ambitions to do so. This interpretation by Gergely Sarkozy is probably the most heartfelt of all that I have heard. I can imagine him to be Bach playing his own Chaconne! RR