16 March 2009

on the naming of stars

When I met with flutist Peter H. Bloom over The Angel Who Bears a Flaming Sword, one interesting aspect of the conversation was the matter of how a performer may get ‘the feel’ of a new piece, a score whose music is organized in ways different to the various musical works which an experienced musician has already prepared. Peter was interested in how the title perhaps determines some of the tone of the musical arc of the piece . . . and the experience of fielding the question was of keen interest . . . in composing, while I certainly design some ties between the title and the music, I don’t think a great deal about it, as a rule. When I’ve got the title right, I am content, and I set it there at the head of the score, and (to some extent) I then wade into writing the piece purely from musical considerations.

Thus, I am apt to feel that the score ‘says it all’ . . . but then, of course, I am quite accustomed to my own musical idiom (or my range of idioms).

Now, I’ve been at work on stars & guitars some little while now. And if The Angel provoked intelligent query from Peter, the duet — which will be substantially larger in scope — may do so as well.

With the ‘map’ in view, then, as I’ve been writing, the thought has crept upon me, almost imperceptibly, of including headings to each succeeding section. And perhaps I’ll change one or two, perhaps I’ll change them all, but here’s a back-of-the-envelope list:

i. a dream of a dream
ii. a most cautious alegría
iii. the mesa spread out beneath the stars
iv. love awakens
v. the face of night
vi. a dream of antique navigation
vii. alborada

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