24 May 2010

Love Is the Spirit Out in the Sun

Most of the time, when I send a score via e-mail, the recipient does not soon respond. If much time passes, I probably will not ever hear back.

This past Thursday, hard athwart form, I got a longish-delayed response to the five-part choral piece I originally wrote last November for Paul Cienniwa’s choir at First Church in Boston (Love Is the Spirit):

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but this is great. We actually recite this covenant at almost every service, so I'm quite sure we'll be using this—it's far better than [the setting] that we currently have . . .our pastor videotapes every service, so I may even be able to send you a video.

Thanks again for thinking of us!
The same day I had a lovely lunch with Charles Peltz, who some few years ago conducted the première of Out in the Sun. His office is in an odd corner of the building, and I was not confident that I could find it unaided; so we decided that he would meet me at the main entrance to Jordan Hall. It’s some while since last we met. I was a little thrown by his first words on our meeting today: “Great news about Michigan!” Took me a long second to realize he meant the University of Michigan Wind Ensemble performance of Out in the Sun.

Before long I found the right moment in the conversation for: “Has it been a good enough interval, that you might think of programming Out in the Sun again?”

Almost certainly not this coming season, which has already been programmed. More importantly, though, for a piece like OitS with its particular instrumental demands, Charles has to look at (e.g.) what grad student clarinetists he will have next year . . . and if there are only two who could handle a piece like mine Opus 88, he has to be judicious in programming (he cannot have them playing every piece, must keep the workload manageable). In short, he’s up for it in principle, but it’s a matter of people resources and timing.

Timing also governs the answer to the second question I was keen to pursue with him in that day’s meeting.

In addition to his duties at NEC, Charles conducts the Glen Falls Symphony . . . and back in the deeps of time, he told me he would like to program a string orchestra number from White Nights in Glen Falls.

In brief, we’re waiting on the right time, which in this case is a matter of the balance of new music in the season’s mix — really cannot foist too much new music on the subscribers to an orchestra in a smaller burgh in upstate New York, and there is already planned for this season a Schwantner piece (for which the Glen Falls Symphony was part commissioner) and a Michael Gandolfi piece (Gandolfi teaches composition at NEC) for clarinet solo and strings. The not-just-yettishness notwithstanding, I believe Charles to be in perfect earnest when he tells me that the string pastoral from Night the First is never buried back in his mind.

He’s going to write another letter to the wind ensemble network to whom he initially passed on word of Out in the Sun (which is how Michael Haithcock at Univ Mich learnt of the piece), this time with word that maestro Haithcock took the piece on. Charles feels that will provide impressive weight.

Keeping on keeping on, here in The Town of the Pulse.

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