27 August 2014


... that dashing lad who created the dance element for Ambiguous Strategies, lo, many years since, even Jeff Wallace himself, is come to Boston.

I foresee extended conversation and the periodic beer....

25 August 2014

Frank irreverence

I have to prepare an epic salad. Anyone have a spare copy of George Bernard Shaw's The Perfect Vinaigrette?

Closing in on Labor Day

Viz. Dona nobis pacem: Paul wrote back early yesterday with a warm (i.e., positive) response to the 'A' section. Originally, I had intended to work some more on the 'B' section yesterday, but . . . while I think I have got it off to an acceptable start, I realized that I want first to plan out the 'architecture' of the 'B' section, just as I did with the larger-scale Mystic Trumpeter. I expect I shall "write through" the Whitman text for the 'B' section more efficiently (I mean, in less time, and no whit less musically) when I shall have bent just a little thought to an overall scheme - the benefit of knowing where one is going, which in this case is a bit easier, too, since I have material for the 'C' section, and already have an idea where to go then (i.e., at the end of 'B').

There is ample time to Get It Right, and of course, since Paul responded so artfully to (among other pieces) Plotting, this is an ongoing collaboration which has the composer motivated in all the right ways to go on Getting It Right.

Had a good long talk with Mark on the phone yesterday. Among other matters, we're getting ideas flowing for my trip to Atlanta in November. Olivia is necessarily preoccupied at present with the launch of the school year (and other events, besides) . . . I am hoping before long to have her thoughts on the various scores I've passed on to her.

Choir season is nigh! And I need to compose an article for the church newsletter, this morning.

From south of the equator

Ah, the wonder of the Internet!  Two colleagues and friends from Buffalo days & I have been restored to contact.

Without further ado, a piece for solo harp by Gabriel Valverde.

And a piece for piano solo, played by Gabriel's equally accomplished wife, HaydĂ©e Schvartz.

24 August 2014

Divers avocadoes

The first of the Tiny Wild Avocadoes, which I finished a week ago, is called Children's Song.

Other numbers in the Op.125 will include:

A Musical Box
Light on Leaf
Beak and Feather
By the Stream

23 August 2014

Text for the Op.123

(texts from the Mass and from Walt Whitman)


Dona nobis pacem.


I saw the day the return of the heroes;
(Yet the heroes never surpass'd shall never return,
Them that day I saw not.)

No holiday soldiers—youthful, yet veterans,
Worn, swart, handsome, strong, of the stock of homestead and workshop,
Harden'd of many a long campaign and sweaty march,
Inured on many a hard-fought bloody field.

A pause—the armies wait,
A million flush'd embattled conquerors wait,
The world too waits, then soft as breaking night and sure as dawn,
They melt, they disappear.

Exult O lands! victorious lands!
Not there your victory on those red shuddering fields;
But here and hence your victory.

Melt, melt away, ye armies—disperse, ye blue-clad soldiers,
Resolve ye back again, give up for good your deadly arms,
Other the arms the fields henceforth for you, or South or North,
With saner wars, sweet wars, life-giving wars

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
of the vegetation.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and
from offspring taken soon out of their mother's laps,
And here you are the mother's laps.


Dona nobis pacem.

The game is afoot

Although in this post I suggested I mightn't keep it, I left the piano introduction intact.  It takes us to Eb, which is how I designed the first point of imitation in the chorus.  And the only real consideration behind the possible excision is, that those complicated, almost-planing chords wouldn't do, as a general thing, for accompanying a school chorus.

The overall design for the Op.123 is:
  1. Dona nobis pacem, partially set by imitation :: A section, 2'00
  2. Texts from Whitman, periodic solo passages, interspersed with choral statements :: B Section, 4'30
  3. Dona nobis pacem, partially set by imitation :: C section, 3'30
This morning, I wrapped up the A section;  and this afternoon I shall set to work on the B (upon which, yes, I have been a-pondering).  I have quite a bit of material already drawn up for the C section.