me·lis·ma·ta — n. pl. — A passage of several notes sung
to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant.
I took a walk around the block last night.
It being Friday evening there were lots of people out. It was cool,
sunny, nice. You could smell the food being cooked from the two
small restaurants down at Cannon and Pacific — The Elk Tavern and
Italia Trattoria. There was a sign in front of Trattoria wishing
everyone a happy Earth Day — I never even knew.
Coming back onto 2nd Avenue the sun was making a slow and it seemed
regretful descent. At 2nd and Cannon I stoped and took a picture facing
West. I remembered standing at just that same spot years before, going home
from Artfest at the museum, and taking a similar picture. I was with some
acquaintance that I knew from somewhere or other. The picture I took
then was with my then-new Nikon F100. I don't think I ever got the film
developed. Yesterday I took the photo with my Blackberry.
It was a short walk. And a long one. One place, at many different
times. One syllable, with many different notes.
Milton Babbitt, 1916-2011.
There are very few works for solo violin out there, let alone
great ones. Melismata is a great one.