composer • educator

Follow the Leader: a short glimpse at the rehearsal process with Mabel and Shanna

Added on by Carolyn O'Brien.

If you were with me for the Mabel Kwan on toy piano and me on gong tree follow the leader improv experiment perhaps you'd like to see where it went? Yes? Oh good. Shanna Gutierrez and Mabel Kwan gave me permission to share this rehearsal. Thank you, friends! It takes courage to share the working process, and I'm grateful for your generosity.

This video shows a short movement, "Follow the Leader Sarabande," from my duo called "Kinetic Suite" for flutes, toy piano and gong tree, written for my beloved Shanna and Mabel. In this particular rehearsal, Mabel is on toy piano with one hand on the keys and the other one using a brass glockenspiel mallet playing glissandi inside the piano. Shanna is giving her flutes a rest and has her own brass mallet to play the gong tree, invented by my brother, Michael O'Brien. This is the first rehearsal and Shanna's first moment with the gong tree. While this could have been stressful for Shanna, she takes to it like a duck to water!! Seriously beautiful performance-ready work. I was trying to see through the camera lens, but was actually pretty teary-eyed because I'm so proud of my friends. If the opening material of the sarabande sounds familiar to you, it is because it quotes Lully's Les Folies d'Espagne, then slowly dissolves into gong strikes and glissandi.

Also in the background is a whooooole lotta booze, and my hubby Bob (lurking in the kitchen) who brought us all croissants and muffins and other yummies and kept our coffee cups filled the entire day. Sigh, what a guy.