02 May 2013

Laying the groundwork

Yesterday, although I did not actually compose anything, I re-read the text for The Mystic Trumpeter.
[Parenthetically: There is a Holst setting of this text, and while I have never heard it, chances are excellent that I was first aware of the text by seeing this setting in a list of the great English composer’s works.]
Firstly, I find myself liking the text better than ever, which is certainly the good thing.  Secondly – well, hang on a sec.
There is a 34-measure draught dating from last year (probably; maybe the year before), complete for both performers, which I may keep or may not.  There follow four measures of text setting, which may just be jettisoned.
So: secondly, in reading the text through last night (first I had read it in its entirety in a long time) I found myself “audializing” several of the various sections much clearer than ever before.  This may be another residual benefit of the still-recent task of setting Poe’s “Annabel Lee.”  I see the piece as more vivid; possibly a matter of my compositional optics.
There is the “old pageants” passage for which I am not sure just what tone I want to strike.  Two or three ideas which arose straight off seem to me immediately unacceptable; but I am sure that the right solution, the solution which I shall be completely content to ‘own’, will come to me.
Still not sure just how long the entire piece will be. (Will it run half an hour?)  In all events, the singer will need several resting places.  The clarinet will not require equivalent rest, but musically we should still have a substantial-ish stretch of voice only; and perhaps two moments for a ‘deep breath’ (do I need to clear water out of that key-hole?)
Excited at resuming this piece!
The performance will be early October, so I want to have the piece done so that rehearsal can begin in August (if the singer should wish).

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