25 February 2009

Making a Start

Long enough ago that I don’t recall just when, I promised a piece to Peter H. Bloom for bass flute and harp. (Strictly speaking, I should say that I made the suggestion to Peter; as a composer, though, it is for my own benefit if I actually write most of the pieces that I take thought to write.) At about that time I did begin a sketch which (actually) I probably don’t think much of, which must be the key reason why I let it sit in neglect. Recent hopes of perhaps hearing actual performances of Radiant Maples and Lost Waters have been something of a catalyst, probably, for getting a proper bead on the long-promised duet, at last.

For about a week, I had been plotting some of the piece mentally; so when I actually cracked open the notebook while riding the bus yesterday morning, the engine was not running cold. I started without a title; or rather, the title I had in mind . . . not that it’s a bad title (it may not be), but it was clear very quickly that the title did not suit the music I was writing. Nor did the shape that the overall piece was taking in my mind, promise at all to conform any better to the title.

This dilemma was solved for me (indirectly) by Mr Nicolella’s recital yesterday. The true title of the bass flute and harp duet came to me directly.

Here follow the first two pages of sketch for the score, and the broad ‘road-map’ for the piece I drew up this morning. The elements of the ‘road-map’ are not arbitrary, they’re all ‘clouds of musical information’ which I am waiting to fix into firm shape; and this outline is a tool I find useful (and, in its way, an ancillary sort of creativity). A tool which is used in the making, and yet not a part of the result, any more than a hammer is part of the chair that it is used to fashion.

1 comment:

Cato said...

Thanks for sharing the sketches, especially the "road map" for the work!

When I was composing, my sketches had something similar: they contained the transformational process for the scales being used, and how and when the themes would interlock.

Things of course often changed as the composition solidified!