NEWSLETTER – 2014 No. 2
by Elena Greco
November 26, 2014
It’s that time of year when you can feel winter coming. The last of the Fall leaves are fluttering away, the temperature fluctuates between barely temperate and slightly cold, and the light has acquired that distant slant that lets us know that it is almost time to hunker down to ride out the Winter. Out come the heavy coats, the mufflers, the boots. I have to confess I feel sad when I put away the shorts and tank tops and pull out the long-johns and sweaters. I calculate the months until Summer returns (four? five?). I am not a Winter Person. I don’t enjoy the cold, I hate snow and I don’t like wearing a coat – or shoes, for that matter. Give me the warm sun and the roaring surf, lush greenery, bare legs and sandals, ice cream trucks, and the Park filled with children, dogs and old folks during the day. Please bring back Summer!
My favorite place in the world is Central Park. I knew the instant I entered it almost 30 years ago that I had to live nearby so that I could visit it regularly. I now live a half block from Central Park, which is heaven to me. There is nothing more healing, more revitalizing, more enjoyable to me than to take a walk in the Park. I always end my walk with sitting on a bench, just drinking in Nature, being healed by the beautiful sights, watching the people and the dogs walk by. Some of my most creative thoughts come to me on a Central Park bench. So I feel an old friend is being taken away when the leaves fall, green turns to brown, the temperatures plunge, and I can no longer enjoy my daily walks in the Park without wearing heavy clothing and starting to shiver. I still visit the Park most days, except in inclement weather, but it’s just not the same.
I have resigned myself to the inevitable. Winter is almost here. I try to think of ways to make the coming months of frigid weather, black snow, slushy roads and slippery sidewalks more enjoyable. Art museums and concerts abound here in Manhattan; I should count myself lucky that we do have so much to enjoy in the cold winter months. I’m making a list of indoor places to visit this winter. But what I really want is to be outdoors.
Winter is also a time of hibernation, though, a time to go within, a time to allow ideas to germinate and develop. There is a certain romanticism to the traditional winter image of sitting quietly in front of a crackling hearth, drinking steaming hot chocolate while watching the snow fall. I will try to replace my less than romantic image with that one! May we all have a quiet, cozy, nourishing winter.
I have decided to use the indoor time to prepare the next three concerts, to do the research and logistical tasks to start a women’s chamber music ensemble, and to get a large backlog of writing and recording projects done. Then I will enjoy Spring all the more when it finally comes, with the work that keeps me tied to the computer done so that I will be free to roam the Park!
Some of you will have seen my Facebook posts about an injury I sustained in October which resulted in a herniated lumbar disc in my spine. Recovery has taken what seems like a really long time to me, but in reviewing the literature, it seems that I have actually recovered very quickly. I credit this “speedy” recovery to the skillful and compassionate care of some amazing healers, together with some supplemental practices I had at the ready in my bag of tricks, all within the paradigm of holistic healing, i.e., addressing the body/mind as a whole, or hologram, rather than treating the body as discrete parts or suppressing symptoms. I have acquired a new respect for the spine! I will be making some changes to my life to ensure that this body is well and strong for the next few decades, since it seems that these will be the most productive years of my life so far.
To those who supported me during a very difficult recovery period, words of encouragement meant the world to me, and you have my deepest thanks.
The Music Salon™
The next Music Salon will incorporate a renewed focus on performing in the moment and on moving forward with creative goals. The Music Salon will be limited to professional singers and instrumentalists now, although composers and lyricists will still be welcome to join us when their work is being performed. As always, we will have a magnificent accompanist assisting us, one who is aligned with the purpose of The Music Salon™. I will be assuming a bit more of a facilitating role in The Music Salon now, supporting performers in expanding creatively in the direction in which they want to go. Participants will always be given a free choice not to have assistance or feedback, or not to utilize the techniques which might be suggested, but there will be more support available to that end now for those who want it.
We will start slowly, though, I promise! Don’t worry that the Salon will be so different you won’t recognize it; we will just add a bit of inspiration at a time. I anticipate that the Salon will have a more dynamic feel now, more in line with a creative workshop.
The KALEIDOSCOPE™ concert suffered a wee bit of a delay while I was recovering from the spinal injury. The new concert date will be in the early Spring, date to be announced shortly. The result of the delay is that I had some time to take a look at the show from a different perspective, giving me the opportunity to streamline the program and tweak a few things that will make it more effective as a whole. So my forced time out means that you will be able to enjoy the show even more!
While the ELEMENTS™ concert honored the elements of the Earth and explored how we can each contribute to the health of the planet, KALEIDOSCOPE explores the kaleidoscope of human emotions, the highs and lows of human existence, the changing hues of our moods, and how we can support our own mental health and that of our communities through simple, everyday actions. The video is followed by a concert of music that encompasses the kaleidoscope of human emotions through multiple genres – musical theater, jazz standards, folk and pop. To be notified of the concert date, Like the Concerts for Healing™ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/concertsforhealing).
THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN™ Part 3: Unsung Songs of Spain
Unsung Songs of Spain, which is Part 3 of The Flavor of Spain concert series, showcases little-known Spanish composers and little-heard songs of better-known composers of Spain. It will feature an extensive segment of the work of an extraordinary Catalan composer, Federico Longàs, in addition to seldom-heard or forgotten songs of Granados, Obradors, de Iradier and Vives.
Next week I’ll be recording an exquisite and relatively forgotten song of Fernando Obradors with lyrics from Federico Lorca’s Romancero Gitano. La casada infiel is unusual, provocative (think X-rated) and gorgeous. No one has ever recorded this song, and I don’t believe that it has been performed publicly in this country, at least in recent times. That is likely due to the fact that the piano part is insanely difficult (I believe very few pianists could do it justice) and the vocal part is no walk in the park. But its beauty makes it completely worth it! In addition to the recording – which I look forward to sharing with you soon – we will be performing this song at the upcoming performance of The Flavor of Spain™ Part 3: Unsung Songs of Spain, which will be held in the late Spring.
Spanish Art Song Series–A Guide
New on the horizon is an informational series about Spanish art song. I so love this genre and wish that everyone could hear the vast and gorgeous repertoire that is largely overlooked by singers and teachers. I feel bad that the work of some very talented composers of Spanish art song is languishing, and I hope to do something about that. For each song I write about, I plan to include some theory, history, form and style, in addition to information that is perhaps more relevant personally to us as singers. I will talk about fach and appropriate voices for each song or group of songs, as well as the meaning of the lyrics beyond the literal translation when appropriate. I plan to include an informal home recording of many of these songs, as well, or recommendations for commercial recordings where there is one.
There are so many incredible songs in the Spanish art song repertoire, many of which are not widely known. In my extensive research and performance of this literature, I have often wished I could share the songs with you all. Because I have found the professional recording process to be uncomfortable and unproductive for me, I have despaired in figuring out how I could share these beautiful songs in a way that would be acceptable to professional singers. In addition, the cost of recording and editing so many songs would be prohibitive for me. I had the idea that any recording must of necessity be professional produced – and must be perfect. I have decided that because I really want to share these songs with you, I will simply do informal home recordings with my own recorder and post them as I go. I hope that you will forgive the imperfections that will of necessity be present in recordings that are done on the fly and have no editing. But it is my hope that you will fall in love with these songs, as I have, enjoy their beauty, and perhaps be inspired to perform them yourself. At a later time, I will perhaps re-record some of the songs professionally. I would love to hear your response to the posts about these songs, as I am curious whether you will respond to them in the way that I have, and also whether you are inspired to perform them yourself.
These articles and recordings will be posted on my Blog, my website (www.elenagreco.com/music/egmp/fos/) and on The Flavor of Spain Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheFlavorofSpain). Please Like this Facebook page in order to receive the Spanish art song articles – and to help me outsmart Facebook’s new algorithm, which just went into place, which is apparently designed to reduce the visibility of this type of Facebook page to viewers.
As predicted in my last Newsletter, I performed at Cleopatra’s Needle at the end of August, my first foray into the jazz world, singing jazz standards from the 30s and 40s. I apologize for not getting the word out publicly, but I decided to keep it “private” the first time, as I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. Well, it turned out just fine! Although the particular mic I used was a little puzzling to this newbie, I managed to deliver what I’m told was a respectable performance. I was amazed at the warm comradarie of the other singers, a different atmosphere from the one I am accustomed to in classical music and musical theater. The singers at Cleo’s encourage each other! After I complete the next two upcoming projects, I plan to return to Cleo’s and a couple of other local jazz venues to hone my chops. While I don’t anticipate this kind of performing replacing my primary ones, it adds some fun and brings more spontaneity to my singing. It’s helpful to stretch a little in a new direction, as it always brings new possibility to the old. The next time, I’ll let you know in advance. This will be the only opportunity where you will be able to drink with abandon while I’m performing!
Finally I am able to return to the blog series on vocal collaborators and the art of accompanying! I had to put this project on hold while I attended to some other things in my creative life, and I am happy to say that I am almost ready to begin publishing it. It will be posted on my Blog and on Facebook on my profile page and on the EGMP page, in addition to being sent in email format. If you would like to receive the emailing of this article series, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). Part 1 of the series will be posted in the next month – a sort of Christmas/Hannukah present!
ELENA GRECO MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTIONS™
As mentioned in my previous Newsletter, EGMP News will be published in a separate newsletter in this blog (under the EGMP News Category on the left) and on the EGMP Facebook page.
Please do come on over and join us on Facebook to see all the news: https://www.facebook.com/ElenaGrecoMultimedia. That way you won’t miss out on future job openings and upcoming events. Please Like the EGMP page and get Notifications on the news (rest your cursor on the Like button and click Get Notifications; this means that Notifications will be listed under the Notifications (“world”) button on the upper right of the Facebook page). If you prefer to receive an email instead of a Facebook notification, just let me know (email@example.com).
Exciting developments are lurking just around the corner for EGMP, as we develop a new kind of performance company:
- innovative concerts;
- community outreach;
- creative development for singers; and
- a new women’s chamber ensemble with a unique focus
And that, my friends, is all for now!
(Please note that this Newsletter is, and contains, copyrighted material, and I ask that you not use it without crediting or asking me, for the usual legal and professional reasons. Additionally, if I have not provided credit for images, it is either because, after a thorough effort, I could not find the source, because I have purchased the rights or because I shot the image myself.)