2 extracts from TANGO, Hot Records LP 1009, recorded December 28-30, 1983, Martin Wesley-Smith - Fairlight CMI, Jon Rose - Violin (all sounds sampled from violin)
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random events from
the life of a musician

'Memoire 1

At the end of my first week in Sydney, I sauntered down to the pub at the end of the street for a drink and to take in the local vibe. At the bar, flaying at credibility with his arms, was David Ahern, shouting at the top of his heavily alcohol fuelled voice to anyone who would listen (no one) about the serial compositional techniques of Karlheinz Stockhausen. This struck me as unlikely in any pub anywhere, let alone on my first foray into Australian culture.

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'Memoire 2

In the penultimate gig I played with this band, there were no further thrown bottles, but the police did arrive, and much to my amazement (but not any of the other band members who kept playing, eyes and hats straight ahead, as if nothing were happening), the bass player was hauled off the stage and taken away by the two uniforms.

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'Memoire 3

My official title was 'Recording engineer and video operator at The Royal Academy of Music'. Sounds impressive enough, except it wasn't. I found the job in the small ads at the back of my local rag, along with opportunities for traffic wardens, toilet cleaners, street cleaners, night watchmen, and other activities designed to keep the capital from settling into third world status.

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'Memoire 4

We bowed, tuned, and I looked to the music stand to begin our performance. To my horror I realised there was no music on it, I'd left it backstage.

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'Memoire 5

I launched quickly into creating bright red, pointed, aggressive flames and thinking this design business is pretty easy stuff. Behind me stood Hermann, who announced 'That is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my entire life!' He walked off, leaving me a destroyed heap.

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'Memoire 6

With a strong sense of 'no further harm can befall me', I headed to Melbourne for a performance at the suitably named 'What is Music?' Festival. I had just finished setting up when another musician came bounding across the stage shouting 'hey, Jon' simultaneously dropping his foot down a gapping hole in the sticky carpet.

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'Memoire 7

After unpacking the cello twice and explaining that this was simply a musical instrument, I was told 'Das ist Kein Cello' and 'Do you think we all stupid here, we know what a cello is, and it has four strings, this instrument has too many strings for it to be a cello'. Next, I was marched into the interrogation room by the on duty head of Checkpoint Charlie.

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'Memoire 8

Walking backward across the old roof of the fibro shack, I forgot that there was a strategically placed roof window which I managed to step on, falling through, although painfully not all the way through, thus severing my thigh with a shard of broken glass. It was a bloody mess.

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'Memoire 9

I spotted an open window above a drainpipe and gamely climbed up and started to crawl through the window to find out that I was half stuck about 3 meters above an open toilet. The thought of ending up in the toilet before getting to play a note of music did enter my mind. Somehow, I managed to get most of me through the window and was now upside down facing the bowl. With an elastic grace that is no longer part of my anatomy, I headed south and then quickly flipped my body - adjusting to a northerly upright posture just in time to avoid a watery fate. I then headed to the front door, and with a victorious sweep of the arm, opened it to let in the musicians and audience of maybe ten punters.

to read more download pdf here

Other writings by Jon Rose are available in the anthologies The Pink Violin and Violin Music in the Age of Shopping (NMA, Melbourne) and Music of Place: Reclaiming a Practice (Currency House, Sydney.)

Still available: Rosenberg 3.0 - not violin music

What's New

June 2021
'Figures of Eight' - a work from 1974, updated, and given a thrilling performance by violinist Emma Roijackers.
Haarlem Lichtfabriek, Holland
May 2021
'State of Play' titles my new double album featuring duo improvisations and recent projects with a cast of great collaborators...out now!
ReR Recommended Records, London
September 2021
'Corrugations' heralds a new music series starting in Alice Springs - we just moved into a new house here big enough to hold the Rosenberg Museum and performances.
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
May - October 2021
'Whistling in the Dark' embraces a set of duets between various pied butcherbirds (from field recordings in outback Australia) and virtuosic human musicians (in home lockdown) performing transcriptions of this extraordinary avian music.
On Line Project available September
September 2021 - delayed Premiere
Jon is currently composing 'Mendel's Mix' - A commission for Brno Contemporary Orchestra. The work is inspired by the 'father' of genetics, Johann Gregor Mendel, and based on the structure of DNA
Brno, Czech Republic
Latest Stuff
in memoriam violin case 2016 sydney
from dr. rosenberg's wunderkammer, 2018 sydney
the gambling violin case, 2016 sydney
tool kit violin case, 2016 sydney
violin foot prints, 2016 sydney
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