27 January 2017

Done? or, not done?

Now here’s a bit of a conundrum . . . and on the lines of being ready to throw out The Outline when musically appropriate.  When I sketched the Grand Plan for the Clarinet Sonata, I “allocated” 12 minutes for the second movement.  (I had likewise “allocated” 12 minutes for the first, which in the event runs about 9 minutes and a half.)  But as I review the present state of the second movement, at the seven-minute mark, I am more than half-wondering whether the movement as is, may not be done (done, provided I make a few adjustments/additions earlier on).  I feel that the cadence I’ve just written in mm.58-61 is a most appropriate final cadence;  that the movement has already enjoyed convincing ‘half-cadential’ pauses at mm.20-21, and m.49 (which means I’ll probably nudge that double-bar to the end of m.49)

Musically, I have written the second movement just as I intended:  When the clarinet plays, all the material is “found material,” recontextualized, as a nod to Ives.  (We might say, Boulez has gone to where this cannot vex him . . . for this movement could only bring him pain . . . .)

– When Ives quotes Beethoven, or a turn-of-the century hymn or popular song, one hears it;  and my experience of listening to Ives use this method is, as if he and I were winking at one another.  Not to say anything against Ives for this (it is part of his style, and of his charm, I think), but I have felt that I should not write my second movement quite like that.  For only one thing, it would likely invite the criticism, “This is what Ives did, only he did it better.”  Ives could do what he did, when he did it;  here in the 21st century, I cannot pretend that all this time has not passed, and I can somehow do “just as Ives did.”  I even doubt that I should yield a list of the sources for the clarinet line, lest the shared knowledge invite the wink.  So I rather believe this must remain . . . an enigma

Well, I have reached a point in the second movement where I do not feel I can just go on in the same vein for the remaining five minutes of the allotment (–although, maybe tomorrow I shall feel that there is five minutes more to be written–) but neither do I want to write an internal contrast within this movement, waiting for the contrast of the third movement (which will be clarinet unaccompanied, as a kind of answer to the extended piano solo beginning of the second).  Or, maybe it is better to say that, as I review the second movement as is, I feel it is more or less complete.

So, this is the puzzle I am presently turning in my mind.

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