[Jandek] Grinnell Saturday

Lauren Ciechanowski lauren.ciechanowski at gmail.com
Mon Oct 8 09:15:31 PDT 2007

Walked out with a briefcase, which he didn't touch once the whole show.  A
comfort thing, I believe.  Took off his watch after the first movement, and
placed it on the left side of the piano.  All black, including the hat, of
course.  BUT - brown socks? Corwood, say it ain't so!  I sure hope it was
the lights and that he wouldn't actually wear all black with brown socks.

No vocals, just piano (Corwood), string bass, violin, oboe/contra-oboe).
Looked at the keys maybe twice the whole show, except for the fourth
movement when he looked at the keys like he was reading a book - very
intent.  The rest of the time his gaze was fixed on the wall of the stage -
no looking at the audience, of course.  The piano was angled so that I could
not see what his hands were doing, but on the fourth movement (of six) he
definitely played with the palms of his hands and maybe his elbows at one
point. Excellent.

Of the nearly 300 people in the full auditorium, I'd say about 10-15 walked
out after each movement, so the theater was quite full at the end, still.
The first movement seemed almost purposefully distant, and most of the
people who left, left after either the first or the third movement (bummer,
because they definitely hit their stride 3/4/5).  One guy came up to my
friend and I way later in the evening, quite drunk, and said, 'DUDE! Did he
actually play a THIRD song?! That shit was INTENSE!'  He about crapped his
pants when we told him he played six.

The student turnout was a lot larger than most people anticipated, I think.
That night was one of two all-campus parties that Grinnell has every year,
and the fact that so many people waited to start their festivities until
after some Jandek was really great.

All of the musicians accompanying him were excellent.  Lots of slides and
plucking from the strings, and some great bow action.  The oboe was an
*excellent* touch - I just love what the sound of the instrument added to
the quartet. For the most part the three accompaniasts formed a great,
gorgeous, cohesive backdrop for his piano playing.  Ensemble playing at its
best.  I myself spent most of the time watching the strings - I don't think
I looked at Corwood until about a half an hour into the show.

Between songs I kept thinking he was making eyes at the oboe, who was
switching between oboe and contra-oboe for most of the songs.  I realized
about four movements in that he was instead looking at the setlist on his
piano.  My perception of nearsightedness apparently bears a striking
resemblance to long-distance hairy eyeballs.

First movement was slow and distant, as I said.  The second and third were
great - the third movement opened with the same opening riff as Glasgow
Monday, and EVERYONE in the audience who was familiar with GM made a
noticable lurch forward.  The second chords were entirely different, and the
crowd promptly relaxed.

The fouth piece really took off - it started with an excellent bass run, and
Corwood really let loose on the piano at that point.  During the show I was
thinking I should be taking notes on the pieces, and I kind of wish I did at
this point. The fifth piece was markedly different, to me at least.  Slower,
and the first time that the trio produced a damned beautiful melody for
Corwood to play over.  The piece took a darker turn toward the end, but was
nice.  Don't remember too much about the sixth movement.  My long drive and
lack of sleep were catching up with me.

Peaceful show overall.  Very respectful crowd - I think the 'classical'
presentation of the show produced a 'classical' mannered audience.  Very,
very glad I went.

Dan - EXCELLENT job putting the show together.  Thank you for a wonderful

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