06 July 2009

Still No Heed

Writing the comparative ‘miniature’ which is the new duet for flute & clarinet, Heedless Watermelon, is a diverting change after working on a larger scale. With stars & guitars, I took pains to marshal thoughts, to sketch an outline; and when musical ideas came, I had ‘slots’ for them. All this work, too, around the bustle of all the mundane routine . . . if musical thoughts might be driven out of mind for a day or two, the task was ongoing, and I had space in which to catch them up.

With the Watermelon, since the piece can only be five minutes, I have this curious feeling that invention is oversupplying the task. Ideas for two passages came to me, and they’ve lodged quietly in the back of my mind . . . but they were absent (nor did I strictly miss them) when I set to continuing the piece in Sibelius. Afterwards, I felt this pang of, what if I cannot fit these ideas, now, into the piece, which must draw to an end soon? It isn’t at all serious, happily; all the musical ideas will find room at the table, and with a little tightening here and there, the whole piece will be short & sharp.

One of the ideas I’ve had — well, I should like to start at the beginning, only the idea has a number of beginnings, and I cannot sort out just which was precedent. The afternoon before the Woburn recital, Peter Bloom, Paul Cienniwa & I were chatting (before rehearsal proper, I think . . . probably Mary Jane was tuning the harp). Peter mentioned a Zappa song, “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing,” and Paul’s curiosity was piqued, so he breaks out his iPhone and finds a video of it on youtube . . . the three of us are standing in this beautiful 19th-c. church interior, and here the flutist and clarinetist are reciting the lyrics (and Paul says, We need to do this at First Church). Anyway, there’s that. Also, I have been listening a lot to Uncle Meat.

Well, one of the ideas I have had for the duet, was to construct a canon on a rhythmic modification of the opening track, “Uncle Meat (Main Title Theme).” It is an idea I find much too apt (both for the piece, and for the occasion) to abandon, so this morning on the bus into Boston, I started work on it. (The intent is musical, and not jokey; just to set the matter clear.)

[ click for larger image ]

1 comment:

Cato said...

The almost waltzing after bar 85 sounds like fun!

Do watermelons waltz?

Well, why not!