20 June 2017

The stock-taking

Preamble:  As I may have noted erewhile in this blog, Gentle Reader, although the broad desire “to write a symphony” had slept in my back room for quite some time (perhaps for nearly as long as I have pursued composition seriously), and periodically arose from its slumber in apparent readiness to demand its breakfast, only to collapse back on its cot in a by-no-means-uneasy rest ... it was only in October of last year that I felt thoroughly motivated to embrace the task. It was not, let us charitably suppose, laziness which ‘prevented’ realization of the endeavor; but that the composer waited upon the right time. In support of that flattering interpretation, we point to the reasonable despatch wherewith the score reached completion.

Now:  White Nights has arguably been stalled at the scene in the theatre. Nastenka relates her story to the Dreamer (we may say he’s a Dreamer, but he’s not the only one), and a central event in her narrative is the evening when she and her Granny are taken to see Il barbiere di Seviglia. It is an obvious bit of business to make use of Rossini for this scene, to be sure;  and from the outset, in the first sketches for the piece, I intended an extended splice of the overtures to Il barbiere di Seviglia and La gazza ladra. Here is where my preamble appears relevant.

Because the idea is obvious enough, it needs to be done well, done right.  And, well, I do feel ready.  I’ve found all my materials, and my composition desk is cleared.

So, let’s see ....

{ Later in the day }

While in my present, ‘reimmersion’ stage, I feel right away (or, nearly right away) that I want to discard the first draught outline for the scene, and craft a fresh outline. I believe this may be a sign that I am genuinely ready for the task, that I want a better outline/plan, and that I feel no lazy obligation to take the preexisting outline as at all ... “canonic.”  The composer’s feeling is, a refreshed engagement with the source material.

The signs are good.

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