26 May 2014

About yesterday

In the morning, my choir and handbell ringers did really a splendid job with My Lord, What a Morning.  I have yet to check if the recording came out;  will probably see to that later today.

Most of the remainder of yesterday was dedicated to Sweetest Ancient Cradle Song.  At the end of the day, I had just two pages remaining (with the understanding that I had yet to add the optional timpani to probably the second half of the piece), so I let it rest overnight.

There were some unanticipated tasks which arose yesterday and the day before.  For one thing, there was the odd wrong note . . . which I shall charitably ascribe to the odd errant mouse-drag in Finale.  Why did I not find the wrong note(s) back when we actually performed the piece?  Because, relative to all the other music I wrote for use at First Congo in Woburn, it is a huge piece.  Now, that was really (we might say) selfish on my part:  I had been writing so many small-scale occasional pieces, that I felt compelled (for my own development as a composer) to assay a major-ish work.  Of course, I had no quarrel when, at the last, Bill firmly (but not at all harshly) insisted that we arrange cuts so that the piece would more or less work within a worship service.  At this great remove in time, I forget just where the cuts were made;  but perforce the piece was reduced to say about half the total . . . and I expect that the wrong notes were in the 'excised' passages, else I had certainly found them back then.

The other (and loosely related) matter was, when I first composed Sweetest Ancient Cradle Song, it was the grandest musical work I had attempted since (probably) my doctoral dissertation piece, which ran athwart the necessity of getting a finished piece in the hands of the choir (and organist) so that rehearsal could begin.

Thus, in revisiting the piece twelve years later, there was a seam or two which struck me as abrupt, or in some other way as not quite musical enough.  Today, now that it there is no need to quash the scale at all, there were a couple of places where I added some material;  and I formalized a slower tempo for the final section (Andantino in the first edition, now Poco adagio).

For my purposes this week, then, I need only finish the addition of the (optional, did I mention that?) timpani;  but down the road, this new Sibelius file will make preparation of a choral score a much simpler affair.

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