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.

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Comments

  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.