31 July 2012

In a discussion of compositions lost, destroyed, or proposed but not composed

My Master's thesis at UVa was a (10'?) composition for chorus and wind ensemble, the first part of a projected five-movement cantata of sorts.  Musically, I don’t think that first part worth recycling, let alone performing as it stands;  nor do I intend taking up the ‘greater project’, which I think was just my own private grandiosomania of the time.
[Most nearly] notably, one result was . . . my doctoral dissertation.  Having learnt how tough a sell is such a piece as was my Master’s thesis, to any prospective chorus-master, my work-around (the history of my study of composition could be boiled down to a series of work-arounds, couldn’t it? Oh, I can talk about it, now . . . .) was to lose the chorus, and write for three soli voices (and, again, wind ensemble).  The dissertation piece is a five-movement, 45' affair (so, a large-scale fulfillment, where the Master’s thesis had been the first essay in a pipedream).
Musically, there is much that I own in the doct. diss., but for other reasons, I am happy simply to destroy it.  Rather than fuss over salvaging anything that I like in that piece, I should sooner just write a fresh piece, which I will like much better.
For the record, there are pieces even earlier than either of these, which I continue to perform (some of them, published, even).  So my overall feeling about the epoch is:  I knew how to compose even at the time;  these projects, though, were a valuable exercise, and if perhaps not worth preserving as artistic efforts, were an important step for my musical development.

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