[ a scrap of paper from 7 June 2017, rediscovered today ]
My speed-re-reading of “The Mysterious Stranger” taped the movement out for me. The novella is set in a sleepy German town, but – Twilight-Zone-like – I take it as standing in for Hannibal, MO . . . Twain’s point is not criticizing mediæval Germans.
So the opening Larghetto (soon to accelerate to Andante) is Home, Americana, and it is the boys’ simple faith and outlook thrown somewhat off-balance by the fact, the character, the unexpected contradictions, the occasionally stern reproaches of Satan. The central Vivace assai will reflect the central dramatic crisis of the trial, and Satan’s essentially untamable nature, even when he is ‘helpful’ (as when he promises that Fr Peter will be happy the rest of his life). Then, a brief (comparatively) return to the Americana material, further colored by the Stranger, as when Theodor learns that life is a grotesque and foolish dream, and one doubts that he despairs of the revelation, but embraces it quietly.
Because the start is so slow, this first sally materialized quickly. This morning, I found the tune I had composed (a month ago?), and I harmonized it while riding the Red Line into town. (I am glad I found it! I do like it, and feel that it fits in very nicely.) I have an Arlington Philharmonic rehearsal tonight, but it begins late enough that there is a good chance I can bring the Sibelius file up to date before I report for percussion duty.