Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31 PA Arts Sunday - Hurricane Edition -- Part Two -- Variations on a Theme on the Katrina Hexachord

The day the levees broke in New Orleans, George Bush was visiting the San Diego naval base. As he left the event, he was presented with a gift Gibson guitar by country western singer, Mark Wills. Images of Bush playing the guitar spread across the web, as thousands of people drowned.

New Yorker music writer and blogger, Alex Ross dubbed a picture of Bush playing air guitar on the Gibson, the Katrina Hexachord. Confusion ensued, as people failed to realize that there were several images of his antics, and that he wasn't fingering the same "chord" in each of them.

Soon afterward, one composer, an M. Keiser, wrote a piece partially based on one version of the Katrina Hexachord, calling it Trent Lott's Porch. I transcribed Keiser's piece, thinking of using it as basis of a set of variations My transcription appears at left).

But the project never went anywhere, as I thought of dealing with a piece about Bush's Katrina failures. Late in the fall, Jocelyn Clark, from Juneau's Crosssound Festival asked me to write music for the May 2006 performances of the ensemble in Wasilla, Anchorage and Homer. I decided to take up the Katrina Hexachord idea again, as basis of the second movement of a composition, to be called, Two Rivers.

I posted a closeup of Bush playing the guitar near the guitar professor's bulletin board at UAA, asking the guitarists to give feedback on the actual tonal makeup of the chord:
Here is the result of my compositional efforts, and the performance by the 2006 CrossSound Ensemble, in their UAA performance:




(click on the title, click on the green arrow, then click on the back arrow on the larger page, to come back here, while the music plays)


George Bush was photographed playing air guitar in California the day after the levees broke in New Orleans. Later the same day, he gave a big birthday cake to John McCain in Arizona. Then he flew back to his ranch in Texas. Eventually it dawned on him and his handlers that thousands were dying in New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. So he then flew from photo opportunity to photo opportunity in the devastated areas. Wherever he went, rescue efforts were suspended to accommodate his gigantic bubble.

This theme and variations take a look at his stations of the anti-cross. The theme is based on the hexachord created by Bush’s fingerings when photographed with the Katrina gift guitar: ascending G#-C#-F-A#-D#-A, and that strange chord’s relationship to the six chromatic notes Bush didn’t play.

a. Introduction (timing - 0:00)
b. Theme - Air Guitar (1:08)
c. Variation 1 - Happy Birthday, John (2:27)
d. Variation 2 - The View from Air Force One (4:01)
e. Variation 3 - Heckuva Job, Brownie (5:27)
f. Variation 4 - Trent Lott’s Porch (6:57 & 8:36)
g. Variation 5 - Swaggerin’ with the Firemen (7:34)
h. Variation 6 - Leni’s Wet Dream (9:12)
i. Variation 7 – Little Dirge for NOLA (11:00)

14 comments:

gorjus said...

Phillip, a Mississippian here who saw Alex Ross' link to your post. The song is simultaneously haunting and horrifying and playful and: quite good.

Alex V. Cook said...

A Louisianan here, and weirdly, a friend of gorjus right above me. I got here through a message board.

Thanks for this, it is clever and moving commentary to the most calloused hubris in recent memory

Anonymous said...

Really superb and well thought out work. Impressed.

M. Keiser said...

Wow, I really don't know what to say. I love your transcription, its right on! Thanks a ton. I'm really surprised anyone ever even saw my little piece. I liked the variations!

Anonymous said...

Summer 2009 is approaching, when the summer comes, the major brand-name puma shoes business has been on next year's spring and summer fashion trends of addidas shoes for the prediction of competing with the report. We first take a look at the summer 2009 Fashion trends cheap converse shoes in your report.

Anonymous said...

cheap ralph lauren polosis constantly moving forward and continues to keep a strong foothold in the fashion industry with no signs of letting up anytime soon. Her diffusion line, discount ralph lauren polos, is just the proof that we need to remind us that fashion polo clothing can always be fun.

Anonymous said...

Short-sleeved polo ralph lauren is the father of the summer should be prepared to most commonly used item, it has both style and shape of lacoste polo shirts, and vest with a random function, so that in the short-sleeved burberry polos apply to both on many occasions, and the pink and black cheappolos color brought into effect. polo fashion integrates two types of luxury and leisure style, now more and more popular men’s polo logo, most designers have sought to perfect the cut with “cutting” polo shirts in vogue of bones of the body polo women clothing.

Anonymous said...

cheap hair straighteners
chi hair straightener
chi flat iron

new polo shirts
cheap Lacoste polo shirts
cheap Lacoste polo shirts

cheap handbags
cheap bags
puma chaussures
chaussures puma
chaussure puma

Men's North Face
Women's North Face


hair straighteners
sexy lingerie store
cheap ugg boots
tattoo wholesale
men's clothing
women's clothing


2009 nike shoes
new nike shoes
Women's max
Men's max 93
nike shox
Nike air force
Nike air max 2003
nike air max ltd
nike air max tn
Nike air rift
Nike air Yeezy
nike airmax
Nike air max 90
Nike air max 97
nike birds nest shoes
nike dunk
nike RT1 shoes
nike SB
nike shox shoes
Nike shox OZ shoes
Nike shox R2 shoes
Nike shox R3 shoes
Nike shox R4 shoes
Nike shox R5 shoes
Nike shox TL3
nike trainers lovers

tennis rackets
Wilson tennis rackets
HEAD tennis rackets
Babolat tennis rackets

Anonymous said...

Ed hardy clothes in Hollywood is a very popular brand hot.Classic tattoo art and fashion classic elements included in the ed hardy clothing .
Wholesale Handbags
Cheap Handbags
Womens Handbags
Cheap Purses
Designer Handbags

Anonymous said...

Wilson k factor KTour the flexibility of a good tennis racket is suitable for all type, doubles, singles players. Wilson k six shoot better on the first rotation speed to produce a very good help.Babolat aeropro drive Racquets is Nadal's babolat tennis racket used.In many places to be able to buy cheap tennis racquets.Babolat pure drive is a Babolat be proud of the company products, and a large number of professional tennis players to choose from, coupled with near-perfect design and adapt wider.
ralph lauren polo
burberry polo shirt

Anonymous said...

China Wholesale has been described as the world’s factory. This phenomenom is typified by the rise ofbusiness. Incredible range of products available with China Wholesalers “Low Price and High Quality” not only reaches directly to their target clients worldwide but also ensures that wholesale from china from China means margins you cannot find elsewhere and buy products wholesaleChina Wholesale will skyroket your profits.

Anonymous said...

Women’s nike tn Shox Rivalry est le modèle féminin le plus tendance de baskets pour le sport. tn chaussuresConcernant la semelle : le caoutchouc extérieur, l’EVA intermédiaire et le textile intérieur s’associent pour attribuer à la nike chaussurestenue féminine une allure distinguée et une démarche sans reproche.

Anonymous said...

Your article is very good.I like it very much.
Once upon a time, there was a mouse father.He wanted to marry his daughter to the greatest person in the world.But, who was the greatest person in the world?Oh!
puma ferrari shoes
cheap nike shoesThe sun! He must be the greatest person in the world.The mouse father went to talk to the sun."Hello! Mr. Sun.
puma shoes
ferrari shoes
I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?""What? I'm not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the cloud.If he comes out, I’ll be covered."
nike shox nz
Ugg Boots
The mouse father went to talk to the cloud. “Hello! Mr. Cloud. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?”
nike 360 air max
nike shox shoes
“What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wind.If he comes out, I’ll be blown away.”
cheap puma shoes
puma drift cat
The mouse father went to talk to the wind. “Hello! Mr. Wind. I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wall. If he comes out, I’ll be stopped.”
cheap nike shox
nike air max 360
The mouse father went to talk to the wall. “Hello! Mr. Wall. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is YOU, the mouse.” “The greatest person in the world is … mouse?” “Yes, the greatest person in the world is mouse. See? If mouse comes out, I’ll be bit!”
nike air max
pumas shoes
The mouse father was very happy. He finally knew mouse was the greatest person in the world. He would marry his daughter to the handsome mouse next door.
cheap jeans
cheap levis jeans
ed hardy jeans

Nike shox said...

Thanks a ton. I'm really surprised anyone ever even saw my little piece. I liked the variations!