10 June 2010

White Nights, in due season

Flutist extraordinaire Peter H. Bloom very sportingly duplicated the DVD I had been given (against expectations — Bill Goodwin regretfully reported that there were technical glitches at first, which have been happily surmouted) of the June 2009 concert in Woburn. Now I can furnish copies to my kindly and bold fellow musicians who took part.

Taking some time off from the day-job now to hunker down and get the sextet version of Scene vii of White Nights done up. Made good progress last Saturday, though.

Peter has also kindly agreed to take part in a recital at St Paul’s in October, where we’ll play the three Opus 97 duos, and we’ll ‘revive’ the alto flute version of The Angel Who Bears a Flaming Sword.

Got an e-mail message from Eric Mazonson earlier this week, promising that he would practice the music for the 21 June concert. Can’t be bad.

Now that I have at last posted the easy smart-phone video of both dress rehearsal and performance of Sunday’s Alleluia in D, I can hope soon that I may be able to attend to the audio backlog from May . . . .

As there are six of us taking part in the 21 June concert, it was too obviously a good idea that we ought to close the program with a piece using all six of us. And this particular scene (Night the Second, Scene vii) from the ballet is a most fortuitous match for the instrumentation of this ad hoc sextet. The pitched percussion parts map very easily onto the guitar; the harpsichord is a most felicitous substitute for the harp; and the way that I composed the scene, even the busiest of textures are tolerably well shouldered by the four hands which are driving keyboards. It’s turning out so idiomatically, in fact, that a careless musicologist in the future may just mistake the sextet for the original, and take the orchestral version as the arrangement.

The entire scene runs to 381 measures, and I have already a respectable chunk of it done . . . and all day today and tomorrow to devote to the task. Two passages to which I attended night before last, I had half wondered what I should do with them; but happily, this is a case where, if a task puzzles me one day, what I apparently need to do is sleep on it a bit, and the task will perform itself.

I’ve sent the twelve pages of arrangement done this far to the pianist and harpsichordist, just to give them an idea of what they can expect. Which leads to:

Another aspect of this scene being the perfect item for this purpose is: It probably is not going to be until Monday the 21st that all six of us can rehearse together (especially as the flautist and guitarist are coming up to Boston from Atlanta) . . . the single-line instruments should all be able to slot right in at a day-of rehearsal, and the keyboardists are both local (and both very good) so they can have worked together a bit ahead of time to file off the burrs.

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