Saturday, August 06, 2005

FridaySaturday iChing: Pippin possibilities

The iChing is late today because I was at rehearsal last night. In fact, this rehearsal leads to the iChing question for the week: how will the production of Pippin go? That’s right, Fred “Slacktivist” Clark should be gnashing his teeth right now, picturing yet another community production. But the Putnam County Playhouse's production (say that 10 times fast) does have an interesting take: after Pippin rejects the big finale and walks off with Catherine, Theo suddenly stands up and starts singing the refrain to "Corner of the Sky," thus accepting the big finale (flaming death) that Pippin had rejected. Pippin and Catherine look on in horror as the players return, surrounding Theo with their costumes and sets. It leads to several possible interpretations: the musical sets up a big circle, with Theo set to play the part of Pippin in the next generation (though Theo is not the son of the Holy Roman Emperor); or that Theo never did accept Pippin as a substitute for his dead father; or that Theo never got over the death of his duck*.

Well, here are the dealt MP3s:
Covering: Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68, IV. Adagio. Più andante. Allegro non troppo, ma con brio, Sir Georg Solti; CSO
Crossing: Schumann's Kinderszenen: 8. Am Kamin, Claudio Arrau
Crown: Vivalid's Four Seasons Concerto 4 - Winter (RV 297): II Largo, Itzhak Perlman/LSO Root: Rachmaninov's Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor - 1. Allegro moderato David Helfgott (piano), Milan Horvat & The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra
Past: "You Go To My Head," Clifford Brown The Best Of Clifford Brown
Future: Clara Schumann's Polonaise Op. 1, no. 1 in E-flat Major, Jozef De Beenhouwer Questioner: Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 21: III Rondo: Allegro Moderato - Prestissimo, Vladimir Ashkenazy
House: Clara Schumann's Variations de Concert sur la Cavatine du Pirate de Bellini Op. 8, Jozef De Beenhouwer
Inside: Telemann's Concerto no. 2 in D: II. Allegro, Hakan Hardenberger (trumpet)
Outcome: Delibes' Lakme - "Scene Et Legende De La Fille Du Paria" (arranged), Maurice André (trumpet)

This is unusual, all of the selections are Classical/Art Music, and many are piano pieces. The Outcome is the legend of the Girl of Bet, from an opera with a very limited plot (think Madame Butterfly set in India). Is the outcome like that of Lakmé the character, who kills herself by eating lotus blossoms? Or is that of Lakmé the opera, which gained some popularity when the duet was used in those British Airways commercials? Or is the outcome like that of the Girl of Bet, who seems to attract the attention of the foreigner, saving him from the wrath of the Rajah (though I'm having trouble translating the lyrics). Of course, the piece is performed by the greatest trumpeter ever, Maurice André, so that bodes well for my own trumpet playing at the least.

The future is a cheery polonaise by a composer whose works were often credited to her husband. There is plenty of dancing in the show, perhaps the success due more to the background choreographer than to the actual actors. The best thing that can be accomplished (The Crown) is that beautiful Largo from the Winter concerto. I doubt it means that it will snow during the shows, but instead that some true beauty can be created during the run. That is a pleasant thought. The past is lingering "like a haunting refrain." The prevailing attitudes of others (The House) are reflected by thematic variations from an opera by Bellini, Il Pirata. Bellini injects the moral that deep passion leads to pain and suffering. Does Pippin have too much passion for the general public? I don't think so. Perhaps, just as Bellini's moral is suspect, so is Pippin's. Fred Clark certainly thinks so, and I think I agree. Pippin is never quiet and thoughtful enough to realize what he wants out of life, which is why he keeps flitting from thing to thing.

* I recall a real duck being used in the high school production my brother was involved in. The PCP is using a large stuffed animal, allowing a great moment when the duck dies. (Pippin reaches out and tips over the stuffed duck.)

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