Thursday, July 10, 2008

On Top of the World!

Here I am on top of the Untersberg, elevation 6469 ft. This is the biggest mountain I've been up. There are magnificent views of the Alps to the south, The Bavarian Alps as well as a panorama of the Austrian plain, including the city of Salzburg. I saw goats far up the mountain, as well as a delicate selection of alpine flowers and vegetation. This mountain dominates the city, less than ten miles from the center. It was something I definitely wanted to visit and it was well worth the trip.

Afterwards I got off the bus at Schloss Hellbrun, contemplated the water games, opted for town instead. I went to the Salzburg Museum, which was newly redone in 2007. It gives the history of the city. The displays are quite unusual in the way they integrate historic artifacts with modern materials and technology. The museum is not merely a collection, it tells a story. There is a floor devoted to famous Salzburg personalities. These included several musicians including Leopold Mozart and Heinrich Biber. There was a twelve tone composer whose name escapes me, whose work was based on a mathematical refinement of Hauer's tropes. I listened to to the music and was quite impressed - now I just have to remember the name....

We had an intense three hour session with Verena Maschat this morning. We worked on developing movement canons. These are quite difficult. The last choreographed piece we created was based on Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" This involve a choreographed head, a free movement improvisation during the sax solo and then, during the drum, solo a series of "jazz encounters when pairs of people performed brief dramatic duos they had created.

This course is really like retaking a level 1 or 2, with no instruments and an insistence on the equality of speech and especially movement in the Orff process. I had been thinking of retaking a level at some point and I seem to be doing it here in a most unusual way. I have warmed quite a bit to Verena, and found myself regretting that our work with her was over.