04 April 2021

A Kind of Resurrection

Why mimic a cynic?
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

Found them? In Mercia?! The coconut’s tropical!

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

In an exchange with a clarinetist friend last week, I came to remember a piece I had long forgotten about: Square Dance, Op. 72 for clarinet quartet (three soprano and one bass) which I had originally composed for a group at Cornell, the Ezra Quartet (after, IIRC, Ezra Cornell.  I composed the Opus 72 back when I was still using Finale, and so I have no electronic file, per se, but at least I have a PDF file. I have set to rebuilding the score in Sibelius, before either resuming the organ pieces, or starting on The Noggin.




01 April 2021

Crown Laid Aside

The Silence of the Clams, the Justice of the Peas.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

Tomorrow is a busy day,
we got things to do and eggs to lay.

— Alex Kramer & Joan Whitney “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” (ca. 1946)

Yesterday evening I chopped out To lay aside his crown for my soul, Op. 169 № 6 for Gigi Mitchell-Velasco. I know what tunes I mean to use (abuse?) for Nos. 7 through 9. I may just get № 7 set up before setting to work on Movement 3 of the Op. 148.

In Dec 2018, which is to say, early in my recovery, as I was still pretty much just in a state of eagerness to get back to composing, I reported that Mvt 3 would be A Piece of My Mind, but I think that, in the interests of paralellism, it shall instead be headed The Noggin.

The Nerves clocks in at seven minutes, and The Heart at fourteen. Let me aim for a six-minute Noggin to wrap the Symphony up.



30 March 2021

The Tweaking of Movement 2, or, Cardio Tune-up

The cows and chickens are goin’ to the dickens.

— Frank Loesser “A Bushel and a Peck” (1950)

As reported, or at least alluded to here, my mind went back and forth as to whether I should make modifications, and the pendulum soon came to rest.


So, At [L] I inserted a new start to the fanfare. “Robin’s Ordination

At m. 423, I made an insertion before the trumpet/soprano sax duo.

M. 441ff., I modified the retransition.

M. 451ff., new material for the recap. “Recirculation

And from [O] changes both minor and significant for the ending.

I am now thoroughly pleased.  I know the opening gesture for movement 3, but first, let me finish the Op. 169 № 6 for Gigi.



26 March 2021

Movement 2 Done (?)

I sometimes wonder if we need fortune cookies with an expiry date on the fortune.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

You tore a big hole in the convertible top,
What will you tell your mom and pop?

— Zappa “You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here”

Yesterday, I made it to the final double-bar of The Heart. Did I perhaps rush my way thither?

In anticipating my schedule today, which included both a trip to MGH for my first dose of the vaccine, and physical therapy (which always requires a nap afterward) I may have been too eager for the taste of accomplishment.  Nearly from the moment that I first reviewed the MIDI mp3 of the movement, I have half-wondered if the pace of the ending needs tweaking.

I’m of a mind both that I ought to fashion a dynamic insert after [N] to shake up the recap, and that the ending (while I like the passage) is too much of a “question mark” (cf. Dyagilev’s comment to Stravinsky on the closing of Petrushka) for a movement with such a robust opening theme.  I do already have ideas for a new coda (to follow, not replace, the “question mark”) a third question I pose myself is whether the fanfare at [L] may need a “clarifying” extension.

I guess I find myself in the curious situation of on the one hand, substantial contentment with the piece as is, and an engaged willingness to build upon it, subtly, selectively.

And in another curious situation of my physical therapist teaching me, a right-hander, to throw with my left hand.



25 March 2021

Give and Take

 On Monday I made a start on the Op. 169 № 6, To lay aside his crown for my soul, for Gigi Mitchell-Velasco. I wrote up to a key and meter change, and having reached a kind of question mark (for the composer, not in the music) I resumed work on The Heart, yesterday. Will continue later today.



21 March 2021

Op. 169 № 5 done.

 Today I finished (or, rather, quite composed in its entirety) the fifth of the Opus 169 organ solo pieces, Be thou our guide while life shall last, for Heinrich Christensen.  I am inclined to go ahead and start #6, not much minding the break from determining how to bring The Heart to a close.

The photo must be four or five years old, when serving as an auxiliary percussionist for the Arlington Philharmonic




13 March 2021

Working Interlude (Brief—I Hope)

One fish
two fish
dork fish
shrew fish.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

“and what is the use of a book, thought Alice, without pictures or conversation?”
— Lewis Carroll

While I let the question of how to move on with The Heart rattle around the back of my brain, I shall write up the next of the Op. 169 pieces, this one for Heinrich Christensen at King’s Chapel: Be thou our guide while life shall last, based on Ein’ feste Burg.