Classical Caber: “Sonata for Flute and Piano”

Like any artist, Dirk’s style has changed over time as his skills have grown and matured. The pieces I’ve posted so far have been some of Dirk’s older works; his rag, for example, dates back to when he was 16, and the Mount Desert Island Suite is already about 12 years old. In fact, just last week Dirk asked me why I was posting his older stuff. “I want people to hear what my style sounds like now,” he explained. With that in mind, I’m happy to share with you the 4th movement of his Sonata for Flute and Piano, completed in 2011. Here is Dirk’s take on piece:

openquoteThe Sonata for Flute and Piano started off as sketches for a much smaller, simpler piece I wanted to be able to play with my boyfriend at the time, who played flute. Those first notes, written in spring of 2003, are still there, now the beginning of the third movement of four. This piece has one of the longest gestations of anything I’ve written, started in 2003 and not finished until 2011. In that time it completely changed in scope and difficulty, now well over twenty minutes long and challenging to even expert flautists and pianists. The second movement in particular is one of the thorniest thickets I’ve ever asked two musicians to machete their way through. This fourth movement was meant as the foil for all the angst that precedes it. More playful and lighthearted, it ends a rather turbulent piece with a little smile.”

Perhaps down the road I’ll post the other three movements of the Sonata, or Dirk might even release it on iTunes. (I’m happy to say we’re making some good progress with getting that set up.) But for now, please enjoy the 4th movement. Dirk and I hope it puts a little smile on your face too!

Dirk at his parents' piano, Thanksgiving 2013

Dirk at his parents’ piano, Thanksgiving 2013

Classical Caber: “Eclogue No. 6”

As I’ve written about recently, my husband Dirk has an amazing talent for composing classical music. I’m biased, of course… but listen for yourself. I’ve already shared a few of his efforts, but the one I’m posting today is the lushest I’ve shared so far. It’s an eclogue, a form of pastoral music that presents an original theme and then explores different variations of that theme. He’s written a number of them, but Eclogue No. 6 is my favorite. Dirk explains his inspiration for the piece as follows:

The Eclogues were experiments in orchestration for me, each using a particular variation on a chamber orchestra of not more than 24 or 25 players. Each was also based loosely on a literary source, usually a poem. Eclogue No. 6 draws on a verse by the 16th century English poet and composer Thomas Whythorne:

As thy shadow itself apply’th
To follow thee whereso thou go,
And when thou bends, itself it wry’th,
Turning as thou both to and fro:
The flatterer doth even so,
And shopes himself the same to gloze,
With many a fawning and gay show,
Whom he would frame for his purpose.

Whythorne’s poem talks about imitation which, despite often being a wan copy, is still the sincerest form of flattery. Musically, this suggests to me an original theme that spawns a myriad of subsequent variations. Eclogue No. 6 is an attempt to set this concept in a musical form that mimics a style of dance called a “sicilienne” which was common in Whythorne’s time.

I find this piece absolutely enchanting. Every single time I listen, I start crying by the end. You might cry too, so when you listen, be prepared for waterworks!

As I wrote last week in my post “Every Rose Has Its Porn,” while Dirk has a supreme gift for writing music, right now he’s really struggling. The move to Boston has proved especially challenging for him, as he’s had to uproot himself from the classical music scenes in New York and Chicago — where he once lived — and start afresh in Boston. He’s having trouble finding work, and is getting really discouraged; Boston’s scene is well-established and difficult to break into. His creative output is a fraction of what it once was, and it kills me to think that his sublime talent might even be silenced. I’m thinking of launching a Kickstarter campaign to help him afford to produce an album, and we’re also exploring the possibility of making his work available on iTunes. In the meantime, though, here’s a simple way you can support him: Share his music. Send it to your friends. Even if they’re not porn fans, you can share his SoundCloud page with them, which has many examples of his work… I’ve even made it simple for you… just click here to post a link to it on your Facebook wall. Let the world hear the beauty that my husband has to offer. Once word gets out about his talent, maybe the tide will start to turn in his favor.

You can listen to more of Dirk’s music at, and for Dirk’s own take on his musical influences, you can read the blog post he wrote entitled “Musing on My Muses.”

Thank you.

English Court Dance

Dirk Goes Down… East

As you may already know, my hubby Dirk is an accomplished classical musician. He plays tuba, he sings (low bass, of course!), and he labels himself a badly-out-of-practice piano player… though I’m not so sure I agree with that last assessment. And he also writes some stunningly beautiful music. He’s already shared some of his compositions on his SoundCloud page, but here’s a new one… the Mount Desert Island Suite, written about the island home of Acadia National Park in Maine. In Dirk’s words:

openquoteThe MDI Suite was written by commission for the sadly now defunct Penobscot Bay Chamber Music Festival in Bar Harbor, Maine. The music is simpler than much of what I write, partly because I anticipated very little rehearsal time and I wanted something easy for busy musicians to grasp. The four movements reflect four quatrains of a poem by Cora Millay (mother of Edna St. Vincent Millay) reflecting on different aspects of Mount Desert Island in her home state of Maine; the first depicts the gulls wheeling over the rocks and spray at the coast; the second, the owls in the quiet old-growth pine forests. This third is of sandpipers dodging the ripples on the sand at the water’s edge, and the last conveys the bustle of downtown Bar Harbor. This piece remains close to my heart as an impression of the sort of Maine coastline I grew up on and which is still home to me in many ways.”

I’ve shared Dirk’s third movement, Beach and Sandpipers — my personal favorite — at the top of this post. Every Monday for the next three weeks I’ll be introducing another of Dirk’s works; hopefully it’ll help brighten the start of your work week. Dirk and I hope you enjoy them!

By the way, “Down East” (referred to in the title of this blog post) is a common nickname for Maine. You can read about the history of the term here.

A Musical Valentine

Here’s something very special for Valentine’s Day. When Dirk lived in New York several years ago, he shared a modest one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side with a roommate, a dog, and a very large Steinway grand piano. Early one morning (at 5 am, I think; good thing the apartment was soundproofed!) he sat down at that piano to record this nocturne. I think it’s beautiful beyond description.

He wrote it for his mother.

Just another one of the countless reasons why I love him.


Nocturne, 1st Page
Dirk Caber

Tickle and blow

Something you may not have known about my hubby Dirk Caber is that he’s an accomplished classical musician and composer; in addition to writing music, he’s a professional singer and tuba player. He’s performed at Carnegie Hall a whopping 40 times! He also plays piano — poorly, as he would say. (Most porn actors have day jobs; his is in music, and mine is IT-related.) Unfortunately we don’t have ready access to a piano, so he’s a little out of practice, and this parlor grand at his parents’ house is woefully out of tune. Still, on Thanksgiving night he sat down and played this piece from memory having not done so in almost two years. I love the way tickles the keys. Pretty awesome!

With all the rubbing we do, some of his musical background must have rubbed off on me, because he convinced me to pick up my baritone horn after it collected 20 years of dust in my mom’s basement. And, believe it or not, last January we participated in President Barack Obama’s inaugural parade with the Lesbian and Gay Band Association! What an incredible experience. We were 280-members strong, the second largest contingent in the parade after the US Navy band. We weren’t supposed to look over at the presidential grandstand, but I did anyway; I got a peek of the President smiling and waving, and the Veep and Dr. Biden, his wife, grooving to our rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” (I know, I know… but it actually really fun to play!)

Here’s a couple of screen captures of Dirk and me from the C-SPAN feed of the parade; I was in the second row so I lucked out and got a close-up, but Dirk was way in the back with the other sousaphones so I only have one really-far-away picture of him (the arrow’s pointing to him).

Jesse Baritone
Dirk Tuba Crop

We’re looking into getting a piano; we just have to find room for it, or find a nice electronic one. Once we do, though, I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more from my amazing Dirkuoso.