The Work of the Artist

Sometime, a well spring of creation rises up.

This is the inner life of the artist.

Soon, a new world is created.

Look and listen.

This is the work of the artist.

Renaissance with TSSS: Peter in conversation and more (Part IV)

Handful of Shadows

lake crescent, olympic national park

(This is the fourth post in a series of posts on the Tallis Scholars Summer School 2013, held in Seattle. For the previous, post go here; for the next post, go here; for the complete series, go here.)

Peter’s laid back manner extended outside the rehearsal room too. In a long and memorable conversation some of us had with him (in a pub, naturally, he’s English after all), a number of topics were discussed. Along the way he encouraged an enthusiastic undergrad who wanted to start a Renaissance choir, saying that 16 was a good size for a group, because it allows you to do double-choir pieces with 2 voices on each part, and that was a good entry point. I said to the undergrad, “Wow, but you are just a kid” and remembered only later that Peter was himself an undergrad when he started the group…

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The Pleasures of Plein Air


Painting “en plein air” has become a big part of my life over the past couple of years, in fact I think it is addictive!

We have been blessed with a long and beautiful spring, and I am very glad to have experienced it at close hand during several enjoyable painting excursions over the past month.

At a nearby conservation area, the waterfall was in full flow and the viewing platform at its base was empty, so we were able to paint happily without interruption, because it was early in the season.

At the wilder end of an urban park, everything seemed newly-washed in the morning light by the creek, with electric yellow-green buds of leaves on the trees glowing against the dark bark.  I love this neon colour of the trees in early spring — it seems to me to be life straining to burst forth.

Another day was…

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Live and in Colour


I have subjected myself to various forms of painting under pressure this summer:  chasing the light outdoors, trying to complete two paintings in one day at my first plein air festival.  This was another.

A recent spell of extreme heat and humidity made it too hot to work outside, so I stopped at a farm market to buy some flowers to paint.  The flowers in the field were drooping, but there were buckets of beautiful gladioli for sale in the shade of a red tent.

I carefully chose a dozen stalks, trying to gather a full spectrum of colour while dodging wasps buzzing around them.  At home I photographed the flowers indoors, but the photos were way too dark.  The blooms would have quickly wilted out in the 40 C degree heat.

Nothing for it but to paint them from life, next morning when the sun would hit my studio. …

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Sides and Back Assembly

RDS Guitars and Wood Working

Years ago when I started this guitar I had already put the side pieces together and glued in the neck/tail blocks along with the kerfing. I could not find my pictures of that, but I have included a good many others. Since I did all the side assembly years ago, all I had to do was notch the kerfings to match the back bracing pattern. However if you look close you will notice I only cut to the actual side and not through it. This took time and patience. But eventually I got it right and was able to glue the whole thing together. I originally thought I didn’t use enough glue (and I may very well find out later that I didn’t,) but for now it’s holding. As you can see there is some squeeze out and a few general flubs but over all I think for my first…

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Sparrow-flavoured Soup – or What is Continuo?

Andrew Lawrence-King


There are many possible routes towards an understanding of basso continuo. As an academic discipline, it’s often associated with the study of musical grammar, harmony and voice-leading: ‘Harmonise this chorale melody in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach’.

Some performers might – like me – have begun their study with the printed realisations in modern editions: thinning out rich, mid-20th-century piano parts; enriching minimalist sketches; adding some improvisatory touches and trying to filter out what is stylistically inappropriate.

Often the harpsichord is assumed to be the epitome of historical style, and the combination of cello and harpsichord to be the ideal mix of melodic bass and chordal harmony, perhaps with a double-bass to add gravity.

There is a strong modern tendency to think in terms of an ideal realisation, with the ‘correct’ harmonies. In this view, a perfect (in every way!) cadence should be figured 53

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