04 January 2021

Keeping at It


The bartender calls this cocktail, the Pain in the Ass.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

A painting is not a picture of an experience, it is an experience.
— Mark Rothko

And, Exhibit B: Considering My Bliss Options, Op. 137 № 2b

Per my challenge to myself yesterday, it pleases me to report that I have worked more on I dreamt of reconciliation and harmony; I've now reached the 90-second mark, and I'm off for the night.

03 January 2021

Timbrally Heterogeneous Duo

 Late in October, flutist Paul Gardner and alto saxophonist Greg Weber sent recordings they made of two arrangements of mine: Zen on the WingOp. 114 № 2a (here) and Considering My Bliss OptionsOp. 137 № 2b

On 11 Dec as a thank-you, I began a new duo especially for them, I dreamt of reconciliation and harmony (which in fact, I recently had) my Op. 171. Almost a month later, I resumed work on it today, with an eye to restoring a habit of doing at least a little composing each day.

29 December 2020

Year Nearly Done

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

— Philip K. Dick

It has been a year of disruption, and therefore a time of comparatively slight accomplishment.  Our new choral music collective Triad organized, produced and broadcast our first “virtual concert,” which, as the country still waits for the distribution of the vaccine, will serve as the model of our Spring Concert

The Karl Henning Ensemble are considering how to return to performing for an audience.

I am still some distance from playing the clarinet, but that distance steadily narrows.

I revisited (while wondering when actual musicians may play them, my Symphony № 1 and some scenes from White Nights.

I must hope for and work toward better things in 2021.

24 November 2020

On Fatigue

 This is not “back to school,” because in mine old school days. I was young, had boundless energy and for the most part, felt disappointments less keenly.  I am going to school again, but it is an entirely new and strange school. My instructor is my body (including my brain) and I’ve needed to learn (as I suppose I did as a child) how I draw instruction from my teacher.  I am learning how to retrain my train my brain to win back control of my left hand and fingers, and I am, truthfully, enjoying the process, both because I wish with all my being to play clarinet again, and because I feel and experience the progress which although (of necessity) is slow, is also genuine.

While that has been the focus of my awareness of my recovery, I’m also learning what is now my new reliable energy level, and learning to listen more attentively to my body when my brain has had quite enough, thank you very much. It would be a pointlessly wicked mistake to be disappointed in this.  I can (on recharged batteries) compose as well as ever and can still (insofar as a national health crisis does not interfere) participate fully in both Triad and my church choir.

I just need to know my energetic limits, and to know when a judicious application of the brakes is what I need.

21 October 2020

Ice (modestly) broken

 The series of disappointing returns from divers calls somehow slapped me a bit rougher than usual. (And, incidentally, another came today.) I did not open Sibelius after 28 Aug.  Normally, there are musical positives which offset the (statistically predictable) rejections, but the shutdown of musical activity necessitated by the pandemic has put an indefinite stop, there.

Today I composed a trifle, nothing indeed of any musical consequence, a 20-second piece for clavietta, for David Bohn's latest call.

19 September 2020

A Factual Report, Not a Lament

Bebida del Diablo.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall
Think of it

— Ghandhi

Twin disappointments from two calls (albeit always a statistical probability) took the wind out of my composerly sails.  And although I had been thinking of writing a piece for a choral music call, I am disinclined to seek more punishment so actively.

I have been thinking about the next organ piece, just haven't yet summoned the will to work again.

In better news, Janet wrote to say that she is enthusiastic for the song.

04 September 2020

Nope, Not This Time, Neither

Neither a brewer nor a vintner be.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
— Jn Cage

I didn’t set out to fact-check Jerry Garcia ... as noted here, the first line of “Alabama Getaway” is: Thirty-two teeth in a jawbone, but actually, that should be Sixteen, yes?

Rapido! 2020 sent my rejection today, so I can reveal that my 5-minute piece for clarinet and string trio bears the title, The Mask I Wore Before