Everybody Stay Calm

The festival “Voyages: Montréal-New York” runs April 2 through 6 next week at the Theatre la Chapelle (3700, rue St.-Dominique) in Montreal, and my new electric guitar quartet lies smack dab in the middle of it, on April 4, the all-guitar concert. More info at guitarist Tim Brady’s web site

The new 13-minute piece is titled Composure, after a 1986 quotation from the New York Times by the brilliant essayist-novelist Marilynne Robinson that I’ve quoted here before:

The literature of expostulation, of Catastrophe, is taken to be very serious. But among people carried along in a canoe toward a waterfall, the one who stands up and screams is not the one with the keenest sense of the situation. We are in a place so difficult that perhaps alarm is an indulgence, and a harder thing – composure – is required of us.

That insight resonated powerfully with my own apostasy against modernism, and composure has been a central aim of much of my music – perhaps all of it. This particular piece does rather go over a waterfall at one point, but it keeps its, er, poise, and comes out calmer, if sadder, on the other side. I’ll be there.


  1. Scott Unrein says

    Will you be able to post a recording of this from the performance?
    KG replies: I imagine. No one’s ever objected yet.

  2. says

    Nothing against the calm aesthetic — nothing at all — but Robinson’s equation of aesthetic preference with usefulness in a crisis is silly. If we’re going over a waterfall, teaching creative writing in Iowa isn’t going to get us to shore any more quickly than playing frenetic music will. Keeping calm in a crisis is indeed a virtue, one that has very little if anything to do with aesthetic preference. (Speaking of which, I loved Robinson’s novel “Housekeeping.”)
    Polemics shmolemics — best wishes with your concert!

  3. says

    i’ll be there as well and if i shoot any clips with my digital camera i’ll stick right up on youtube.
    KG replies: Hey, Matt, come up and introduce yourself.