17 November 2017

henningmusick: Scheming the Avocado [17.xi.2014]

henningmusick: Scheming the Avocado:

AREA 3 of Illustration #2 I drew up on the flight from Atlanta back to Boston.  Well, AREA 2, as well, only I had gotten AREA 2 right, where I found that I had gotten realization of the viola part (i.e., the game of applying the rhythmic value series to the pitch series) wrong.  And though I discovered that I had gone wrong, and made an attempt to fix it ... I found it something of a visual mess.  So I inscribed it RE-DO (as you may see), and realized that I could simplify the matter with a sheet of graph paper.  (This graph paper was in my three-ring binder from the time that I was working out the rhythmic profile of the Thelonious Monk tune "Evidence.")
The result is the apparently not musical, but refreshingly clear and reliable, Illustration #3....
Three years since, then, I had lately returned from Atlanta, and even laid in some Avocado work on the flight home to Boston.

Last night, we had a most enjoyable choir rehearsal at Holy Trinity Church.  It is that time of year when we face the (most welcome) Thanksgiving hiatus, and must take thought for afterwards, as the Christmas concert loometh.  Still a number of decisions, covering details which may not be musical, may not be great, but which want to be attended to.

I also rehearsed my Prelude on « Kremser » with (while the ongoing appointment is not yet quite official, it is already apt to call her) our new organist.  Just the fact that I can play some of my music with the organist, is already a refreshing (and not at all unreasonably asked for) change.

The voice, you ask?  Well, better and better.  I doubt I can sing the entire Triad concerts this weekend, but perhaps I can do a reasonable job playing the Dying Californian. (There is a double meaning in that.)

16 November 2017

Cracking wise

The first thing that needs saying is, Beethoven never did me any injury. I cannot remember a time when I did not find his music inspiring.

It is many years, too, since I first heard Wendy Carlos's electronic realizations of and elaborations upon "the glorious Ninth" of "Ludwig van." It would be foolish of me to pretend that some molecules in the present formula do not owe something to that wicked clever example.

Most immediately, I suppose, is the remix I created of a handbell choir rehearsal take of Charles Turner's arrangement of The Hebrew Children. The idea-question formed, What if I applied this method to an object of The Literature?

As with the Turner, I gravitated intuitively to an example which I like. In hindsight, affection for the source material is probably a prerequisite for the musical success of the result.

Without further ado, my repurposing of a stone-cold classic:

15 November 2017

The music of resisting forgetfulness

Through the miracle of finding, in a drawer, my card, which I wasn't looking for, today I learn that I have been a member of ASCAP since 2001.  The lesson is: you can learn things about yourself, all the time, each day (perhaps) if you only allow yourself the freedom of non-remembrance.

This Sunday just past, at the choir rehearsal prior to the service, the Pastor enthusiastically shared with me a suggestion for improving the flow of the service (a general suggestion, not something requiring action that morning) by having the choir sing a short response before the Invitation to the Offertory.  From time to time I have considered, not for any specific purpose but only as a general matter) adding such a choral response—by which I do not mean at all to rob the Pastor of his thunder, I only mean that I was predisposed to receive such a suggestion favorably.  Another fine idea on his part was, that it not necessarily be a single fixed number.

Remembering the regular use which the late Bill Goodwin made of the Dresden Amen at First Congo in Woburn, I looked for that in a hymnal, found also the classic Danish Amen . . . and my inner ear generated a monophonic three-fold Amen in Eb.  I took some mental time to compose it out.

I did not have pencil and paper to hand (not that it would have required great effort to scare them up) so I made the decision not to worry about recording it then, but trusted either that I would remember (notwithstanding rather a distracted busy day-to-day experience, Gentle Reader) or that it is not worth remembering.  That last is admittedly too harsh a notion:  music relies on the favorable inclination of the recipient.  And there are many pieces which we hated the first time we heard it, but which afterward become especial favorites.

In any event, yesterday evening I did recall both the Project, and this not-as-yet-notated Amen of my own.  Now, I am not saying that it is anything especially memorable;  only that with very slight mental effort, I ceased to have forgotten it.

On Sunday, our doughty handbell choir rang my modest arrangement of the hymntune Tuolumne.

08 November 2017

What I was working on four years ago [henningmusick: A duo done]

henningmusick: A duo done:
Yesterday, I finished (at long last, we might even say) the clarinet and marimba duet, just what everyone was expecting, five-minute jazz-ish (I have to add that -ish, lest I field accusations of trying to practice jazz without a license) flurry of energy for the two players.  The piece had lain largely finished since mid-September, at which time I needed to concentrate not only on practicing for the October recital at King's Chapel, but on writing a short piece for Peter & myself to play.  As I was writing that piece (Zen on the Wing) I formed the idea of a trio (title yet to be settled upon), concluding a set of three subset duos, the four pieces all together to comprise the Op.114.
So (you see where this is going), if four notes be a start, I have started a flute/marimba duet, Feeling the Burn, a piece with as yet no home.
Ah, Feeling the Burn (Bicycling Into the Sun) . . .  I do not think it has gotten past those four notes, and I shall probably discard those, and start afresh.

I mean, when I do start afresh.

07 November 2017

Another arrow

Although it feels a bit like Charlie Brown imagining that he actually gets to kick the football, at last, this time . . . I have sent The Mystic Trumpeter to a call for chamber scores.  Take it, Gentle Reader, as read that I have reviewed the score and even the first performance, and I continue to stand by my work.

Very good Triad rehearsal last night.  In a good place, so to speak, with our Preview Performance this Sunday, and then a final rehearsal a week from last night, before the official concerts.

I mean, a good place, with the expectation that my singing voice will be ready to take part this Sunday.

04 November 2017

Poised for recovery

Largely over the laryngitis;  the vocal folds are not yet equal to the demands of singing.  Which must mean that even plain speech could, if overdone, be a strain.  Which is why I am less voluble than is quite my wont these days.

Per yesterday’s post (which I had actually pretty much composed on Thursday) I did draw up the harp part for Rise Up Early;  most of the work, indeed, I did up in Burlington while waiting on the oil change for the Civic.

This may mean that my work for the Christmas concert is done means that probably the only other composition-ish work to do for the Christmas concert, is the instrumental interludes for Torches.

The combination of (only a little prematurely) feeling at renewed liberty, and having met fellow composer Aaron Jay Myers for a cup of coffee yesterday evening, set me to beginning a fanciful trio for clarinet, electric guitar and violin, Mysterious Irritants.

And I am thinking of submitting The Mystic Trumpeter to a call for scores, only I must learn if Clarinet in Bb truly means that it must not be Clarinet in A.

03 November 2017

Those Ships Three

Wednesday night, I wrapped up the cl/hp arrangement of I Saw Three Ships on Christmas Day, a brief (if colorful) two-minute piece to serve as an intermezzo for our Christmas concert programs. Against the apparent ‘stasis’ of the piece remaining in A (and at about a forte) throughout, there is the rhythmic device of switching from 6/8 to a sort of Double in 2/4. Will report when the harpist & I have a chance to read together.

That accomplished, I then addressed what I somehow felt was the most nearly challenging task on the What Our Harpist Needs to-do list.

Last year, one of the successful novelties in our Christmas concert was a cheerful Carolyn Jennings octavo, Sing Merrily a Song. The choir is unison for most of it, the last few pages have the choir in two parts, with an optional third.  Apart from the piano accompaniment, the octavo has indications for a flute (but no separate flute part appears to be provided, or available) and for “bells or glockenspiel (very light). Last year, then, I created the flute part (so that our enthusiastic young flutist would not wrestle with reading from score, no, no, no) and I added (what I consider) a proper handbell choir complement, 9 ringers.

Well, my idea this year was to add the harp. Im not saying that this task was absolutely ‘more work’ than my own arrangement of I Saw Three Ships on Christmas Day, but it has to fit properly into an already-existing octavo.

This is feeling like just about work enough for our doughty harpist ... will add harp to one more of the choirs pieces, an arrangement of a Slovak carol, Rise Up Early, and that will do it. This work, I'll see to early-ish Saturday.