09 July 2014

State of the Ballet

In the old-stuff-that-wants-reconstruction-in-Sibelius pile there remains only these 2 ¾ pp. of Scene 5; Scene 6 (90 seconds of, essentially, bassoon invention, representing Nastenka's reaction to The Dreamer's ramble); Scene 7 (a 10-minute "domestic ballet," Nastenka telling of life at home with her granny, and the entrance of The Lodger into their life); and Intermezzo II [side bar approaching]

... I jumped ahead with this one, which I think is done. I've just had a close-ish look, and the question before me turns upon 19 measures of timpani solo: When I wrote this eight years ago (!), did I mean for this to be solo timpani throughout? I may have. Or did I mean to add an instrument as counterpoint to part of this passage? I may have. The challenge, of course, is to try to re-discover what I had in view then, long ago, without front-loading the question with any "stuff" from this year. (I am also not in any rush, as - per above - I have the rest of Scene 5, and Scenes 6 & 7 to occupy me first.)

[exit side bar]

Intermezzo III is as yet only an incipit, 27 measures (and I am not sure that I am done with those last four measures, even). Probably I shall proceed with the "execution" of Scene 8, which has only been an outline for a decade . . . it is a story-within-Nastenka's-story, the evening at the opera. Though I think I shall keep it to 3 minutes, it is a mash-up of two Rossini overtures, Barber of Seville (which is what they go to see at the opera) and La gazza ladra (partly because I just love it, partly because of the subtext the title provides, since for the first few nights, Nastenka is in torment about The Lodger. I left it at a point where I had detailed an outline of how my (re-)composition would track the two Rossini Ur-texts (and my own mind on the cliff's-edge of, can I pull this off, or is it really just a bad, hackneyed idea?) So, it is high time I put that project to the acid test.

Scenes 6 & 7, though, will almost assuredly occupy me to (say) 20 July. Then (and even though it is "out of turn"), probably I'll see to Intermezzo II, which should be one evening's work or so. I'll leave Intermezzo III until I reach that point "honestly" . . . so I shall hope to have Scene 8 done, and to our satisfaction, by August.

With God's help, I should be at the point of composing fresh material to the end of wrapping up the whole, the weekend which starts the month of August.

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