Well then Fido got up off the floor an’ he rolled over, an’ he looked me straight in the eye, an’ you know what he said? “Once upon a time, somebody say to me,” (this is a dog talkin’ now) “What is your Conceptual Continuity?”
For a while (and yet, unless I am mistaken, not before 2017—so it may be an argument for not having finished the scene sooner) I realized that I wanted to bind this apparently independent excursion into Rossiniana to the ballet as a whole, by alluding to the opening of the Overture. It works very easily in terms of instrumentation, adding only the harp to the Rossini orchestra (allowing for a slight revoicing of the initial trichord—in the Overture, three flutes, here readily recast for picc/fl/cl 1).
The incredibly wonderful idea (as I see it) which came to me only yesterday is, to take what in the Overture is apparently a digressive rhythmic invention (a passage I have always loved, and would never have considered alteration or withdrawing) after rehearsal letter S, and likewise plugging it in as an episode other than Rossini, and which likewise strengthens the ties to the ballet. (Lest a hostile critic—and face it: If you build it, the hostile critics will come—dismiss the Scene as mere pastiche.)
So my work this morning was essentially to realize this vision, and holy cats, I love it; I think it one of the most perfect musical touches I’ve brushed onto a musical canvas.
There is nothing second-rate about this belated return to the completion of the ballet; it will be (as I have always hoped and meant for it to be) one of the works of which I can be proudest.
The most important “repair” I am going to need to apply is: All of my work this year has assumed (you all probably know the joke) two horns. (Which was a coin toss: there are four horns in the Ov. to La gazza ladra, two in the Ov. to Il barbiere.) Today, as I (ahem) look at the first page of the number (i.e., the introduction which I composed three years ago) I see that, in fact, I was writing for four horns. It is not going to be a terrible lot of work to give some employment to another pair of horns.
In my old outline (the picture featured on this post) I tentatively set down 8 minutes as the proposed duration of Scene 8; the number presently clocks in at 08:10, and is rounding into the home stretch. I have done working for today, will mull overnight, and between tomorrow evening and Independence Day, we will find the final double-bar
In other news, I had a nice chat with Peter H. Bloom Friday, and he is excited to have a flute version of the two movements from the Clarinet Sonata. Also, we may have a performance of Oxygen Footprint in Vermont this August.