99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall and counting

There seems to be an inverse correlation between construction and longevity. The longer lasting the song, the simpler you can expect the harmonic and melodic structures to be.

A song I sang as a teenager on long and winding road trips was a riddle in counting backwards from 99 to one. The idea is that the more you drink, the harder it is to count backwards in a group. [Note: Back then, there was no such thing as drinking age, especially on the island of Okinawa!] Add another dimension of modulating it through the major triads based on the twelve notes in a chromatic scale and you will be sure to stay sober!

Continue reading “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall and counting”

Advertisements

Glass Vase Concert in Utrecht to support young musicians

The Glass Vase Concert on Sunday 23rd May requires no advance reservation (unless you want dinner). It’s free entry. One unique aspect of this house concert is the free-for-all jamming after dinner. Guests can perform. Guests can jam with the musicians.

The Glass Vase Concert on Sunday 23rd May requires no advance reservation (unless you want dinner). It’s free entry.

Well, not REALLY free. There are costs we have to cover to make it feasible.

We suggest a minimum donation of 10 euros into the GLASS VASE to support EACH concert. There will be coffee, tea, home-baked pastries, and other refreshments of course.

One unique aspect of this house concert is the free-for-all jamming after dinner. Guests can perform. They can improvise. Guests can jam with the musicians.

It started with an e-mail from a Shanghainese tenor asking if he could perform his final exam concert in our Monument House Concert Series. Then I heard from a Russian pianist about a Dutch pianist who wanted to give her solo concert. So I broadcasted to my musician friends on Facebook to see if anyone else would like to participate.

House concerts with attentive audience in relaxing home environments are ideal for those musicians preparing for competitions or final exams (both Bachelors and Masters). I recruited a few more musicians who have already graduated but are still early in their professional careers to make it a full-blown concert.

The list of musicians grew. The programmes grew. It is no longer one concert, but four different concerts — from Baroque cello to modern voice/piano improvisation. Solo. Duo. Trio. There’s Italian aria. There’s virtuoso piano solo. I will only get to play 10 minutes with French horn and guitar from 2 pm to 11 pm. The rest of time, I will play hostess.

Actually, it began earlier than that. As producers of the Monument House Concert Series, we get unsolicited e-mails from musicians who want to tour Europe. They google “house concerts” and somehow find our website. Most of the time, we are too busy with our own performances elsewhere. But occasionally, we get excited about hosting and producing concerts for other musicians.

Then there are those, just like us, who organise and produce concerts from their homes. What is the secret to a successful house concert? [This is the subject of a forthcoming blog.]

Hungry musicians eager to play — can’t eat before they play — and thus get very hungry afterwards. Join us musicians for authentic Egyptian dinner (15 euros advance reservation or 20 euros at the door). Wine will be sold separately at 1 euro per glass, to cover the costs of good quality wine.

Robert spent an entire evening tonight (5 hours) brewing his special red-coloured, double hopped ale for this occasion. He finally gets his chance to share the fruit of his passion —- in glass mugs he designed, using the MONUMENT HOUSE crest. These mugs will sell for 9 euros each. If you already have one, bring it to get your beer (1 euro each serving).

I should write another blog about the music that will be played.

Organic beer, barbecue, and Beethoven

One of the things I do, as a concert producer, is to explore themes that will make a successful concert. A single, unifying theme is powerful. How can we deliver classical music in a way that feels like beer tasting?

One of the things I do, as a concert producer, is to explore themes that will make a successful concert. I talk to people with ideas, musicians with music they want to play, and guests that support our monument concerts. A single, unifying theme is powerful.

In London, I felt the effect on the community at the “Purple Piano Party” where everyone had to wear purple, bring something purple (or that which started with the letter P) to eat or drink, and play music with the word purple in it.

What do beer and live classical music have in common?

Nothing.

I know two classical guitarists that love the kind of high alcohol-content beer that is brewed on this side of the Atlantic. I’ve gone with them to Belgium this past summer on an insane quest for the best abbey beer. We trekked to Ghent for abbey ales and back to Holland to scoop up the remaining 6 euro bottles stocked in the few exclusive shops their guitar builder knew of. It was an arduous journey to learn about beer and why one guitarist wanted 46 bottles to take back to America. The other just wanted to brew better beer from home.

Until this three-day trip, I associated beer with a bubbly cold drink one drank at fraternity parties at college. It was the cheaper choice, between wine and beer. It was the safe choice, if you didn’t want to show your ignorance of wine. It was for men. I preferred cocktails, kir royale, rose, champagne, and Irish coffee.

My views changed further this afternoon when I joined seven others on a tour of a local brewery near my home in Utrecht, Netherlands. I had hoped to see beers being made and beers being bottled. Instead, the most interesting part of the tour was the tasting — at the end.

The Dutch brewery, native to Utrecht, makes 10 different kinds of organic and biological beers. Each one has an interesting story. The strong wheat beer “Paulus” was named after the abbey in which an ancient, secret recipe was discovered. Another beer was named after the one and only Dutch pope who died in office.

Our guide told us that people used to drink beer when tap water was not safe or available to drink. Even pregnant women drank the low-alcohol beer. The difference between the beers brewed today and back then was the water. Back then, breweries used water from the canals and rivers.

In those two hours, I learned about beer. I also observed how relaxed the atmosphere was. The stories were fascinating. I had a thousand questions.

Isn’t this the kind of atmosphere I want at our concerts? How can we deliver classical music in a way that feels like beer tasting?

Beer goes well with barbecue. I wonder what kind of beer Beethoven drank? I invited the brewery to set up a biological beer bar at our next house concert when the hot weather returns. Few people in Utrecht are aware that these local beers are marketed to the rest of the world. The brewery is only a cycle ride away — not a car journey to another country.