12 January 2010

Slouching towards work

Hardly was the ink dry on Heedless Watermelon, and I knew I wanted to write a set of three fl/cl duets, for performance as a suite. All the Birds in Mondrian’s Cage nearly wrote itself (and on the bus, at that), and I brought it to Atlanta to play with Nicole Randall-Chamberlain (we played the two pieces in reverse order, so that the concert closed with the Watermelon). And I knew the last movement would be called Swivels & Bops. So far, so good.

Recovery from a minor (oh, so minor) procedure at the beginning of December, has turned out slow and nuisancesome. The week away from work, which I took as vacation, and for which I had plans of actual musical work, was dominated by the need to address medical issues. In the back of my mind, I have been keen to find the pivot to get back to writing music.

Nicole and her husband, Brian (a composer and guitarist) will be coming to Boston, so there will be performances. That seems as fair an occasion as any to get Swivels & Bops on paper. Ideally, there should be something for the three of us to play.

In the dead of last night, my inner ear was starting to play Swivels & Bops; not only as a fl/cl duet, but – well, I’ve gotten this strange idea of writing the piece so that it works as a duet for the two winds; and writing a guitar obbligato, too. My friend Gene tells me of two string quartets by Milhaud which the composer designed to make an octet, when played together; if in that case the result is maybe (in Bertram Wilberforce Wooster’s words) a jolly sight too elaborate, perhaps I could make this more modest scheme work satisfactorily.

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The stage was probably set, for that late-night composing in the dark, by my finally drawing some music again, the start of a sketch for clarinet and harpsichord, Lunar Glare.

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