17 March 2018

Games of Four, Not of Fear


Act I: Over three months, I meet sporadically with the director of a community chorus, the meetings seem to go well, and I am made welcome to send samples of my work. No reply is ever made to my sending, nor acknowledgment, although when I actually meet the chap, he is pleasant, and one does not believe there is any dissembling. Nevertheless, Act I drew to a pleasant conclusion. My Man on the Inside of the chorus applied diplomatic pressure, simply to listen to my work. I decided that I should attend their 3 March concert, even though it was a choral Pops event and therefore not (as we might say) my first choice. (It was good fun.) I arrived early enough, that I figured I would step in the back (the parish hall of the church, that is) and greet my friend (thanking him for his pains, and for the comp). I found (barged in upon, I might say, without exaggeration) both Eric and the M.D. finishing with their suitings-up. Eric and I withdrew (for I really did not mean to engage the conductor in conversation, so shortly before a performance), and I heard to my delight that Adam has, indeed, listened to my work, and likes it. The plan is a bit longer-scale, to allow for a possible commission.

So, I await the opening of Act II.


Paul Cienniwa is playing a concert down yonder in Delray Beach with a violinist of the Delray String Quartet, on the 19th August. They will revive my duet, Plotting (y is the new x).

Ever the impertinent composer, I found the violinist on Facebook, logged a Friend request, and sent a brief introductory message. Shortly after she accepted, and replied with her phone number, making me welcome to call to talk about my piece.  (Questions of layout / page turns.)

For a dozen small reasons, but thankfully no great horrible reason, 1Q18 has been no friend to my musical activity/work. I had not meant for so long an interval before trying Mei Mei, but I did at last call this morning. (A little bird told me to have my music under my gaze during the call.) She had some layout/page-turn requests – and only reasonable. (Offhand, I am not sure how EmmaLee worked around the part . . . probably printed it all out at a reduction.) The call went swimmingly. As I know of the string quartet, naturally I went on to ask if I might send some music for the SQ, specifically (of course – pretty much the only quartet music I have Game Ready at present) the suite of short pieces, It’s all in your head (not that that’s a bad place for everything to be). She warmly accepted, and as the quartet have a September concert, and my pieces are short, she is already considering using one as an encore to their program.

This morning I worked at a better-flowed violin part for Mei Mei.


In a separate development, EmmaLee Holmes Hicks (who played the première of Plotting (y is the new x), above, together with Paul) has asked for music for four violins.  I originally composed It’s all in your head (not that that’s a bad place for everything to be) – in the case of the first movement, arranged – for a cello ensemble in four parts, and found afterwards that it translated quite readily to string quartet. And for EmmaLee’s piece for four violins, well, transpose a piece for four cellos up a twelfth, and . . . .


The k a rl h e nn i ng Ensemble will ride again on 17 April at King’s Chapel;  and it is time to get to work in earnest.  We have two duets composed specifically for us by Mark Gresham and Avrohom Leichtling (and we have a rehearsal later this very morning).  Our own Pam Marshall is working on a piece (Birds on the Harmonic Plain) for the four of us plus fixed media;  and I began my new quartet, Down Along the Canal to Minerva Road, on the 19th February.

And did no work on it since.

Well, technically, there has been nothing since to show for any work on the piece.  I have mulled.

No, really.

So, here I set to a bit more work on this, before heading to Somerville to rehearse with Peter.

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