When I wrote Annie Proulx's Private Passions back in November I categorised it as a 'minor' article, and actually ran it over the Thanksgiving holiday when I knew readership would be down.
How wrong can you be? Google searches for Annie Proulx now mean the article is one of the most visited of the 325 currently live on this site. The reason is Ang Lee's film Brokeback Mountain which is based on Proulx's 1997 novella of the same name. The story of the gay romance between two cowboys won critical acclaim, leads the nominations for the 2006 Golden Globe awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and is tipped as a front-runner for the Oscars.
I guess my article was the blogging equivalent of being in the right place at the right time, and it leads to another Overgrown Path that is well worth exploring. At a 1999 Oxford Contemporary Music Concert in St Barnabas Church a superlative jazz CD was recorded live. 4 in Perspective features pianist Fred Hersch (photo below), trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, vocalist Norma Winstone and percussionist Paul Clarvis (who achieved notoriety at the 1995 BBC Last Night of the Proms as the drum soloist in Harrison Birtwistle’s Panic). On the CD is the six minute long 'Out Someplace', and here is Fred Hersch's liner note for it:
I would like to give a bit of background about one of my pieces "Out Someplace (Blues for Matthew Shepard)". It is an arrangement of one movement of a dance score that I composed for the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1999. The eight movements of the score loosely illustrate different meanings of the phrase "out someplace"; social, geographic, gay identity, zaniness etc. But around the time that Bill and I were conceptualising this piece in the Spring of 1998, a young gay man named Matthew Shepard was lured from a bar in Laramie, Wyoming, by two men who brutally beat him and tied him to a fence on the prairie where he was left to die in the freezing cold. When the body was discovered the next day, the only way the police knew initially that it was a human being was that they could see the pink of his cheeks where his tears had exposed the skin. This somewhat programmatic piece was my musical reaction to the tragegy of this innocent victim of incomprehensible hate being left alone and "out someplace" - a place where, in a kinder world, no one would ever be.
* 4 in Perspective is on the Village Life label, the quote above is taken, with acknowledgements, from the liner notes.
* CF Peters is now publishing (in print form) Fred Hersch's "classical compositions" including "24 Variations on a Bach Chorale", a 25-minute virtuoso work for solo piano based on the famous chorale from the "St. Matthew's Passion". Peters Edition #68015, $19.95
* Follow this link for the story of Matthew Shepard's life
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Movie Poster - Wikipedia
Fred Hersch – Institute for Advanced Studies
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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Raphael