23 March 2018

Traurigkeit (&c.), Bárðarbunga and Nuhro

Very good, productive choir rehearsal last night. What with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday & Easter herself, our talented young flutist plays along with the choir on four anthems ... and I created the flute obbligato for three of the four.  (Fair disclosure:  I had already created an alternate flute part in O Traurigkeit for Paul.  I may have said that, already.)  She’s doing a terrific job, and having her as a “guest” last night meant that my choir were on their best behavior.

The hour prior to choir rehearsal, I practiced many of my numerous notes in the Leichtling Bárðarbunga dreymir undir ísnum.  It’s beautiful music, and they’re all good notes ... and I am yet closer to being in command of them all. It is perhaps an irony (but an entirely enjoyable one) that the need to conquer all these notes will compel a regular practice regimen for four weeks—so that my clarinet will be in its best shape since, perhaps, my last Atlanta trip. (To be sure, I was all right for last March’s full concert; but I ought to have been better, still.)

Marking lots of fingerings (so that there is visual confirmation of what I may already be doing intuitively – or not), and, here and there, note names for the enharmonic equivalents which would have been an easier read.  And now, happily, I need to transfer these inscriptions to a fresh part with improved page turns.

So, more clarinet practicing tonight (big k a rl h e nn i ng Ensemble rehearsal tomorrow morning) and ... I need to mark up handbell parts for the Easter hymns.

I was reminded yesterday of Nuhro.  It is a very pleasant memory, especially today with the blizzard we recently managed to evade . . . I remember vividly the day I finished composing it.  I was up bright and early on a summer’s Saturday, and worked a storm, pressing to reach the final double-bar before I was called downstairs to get ready to ship off for a beach day.  Of course, I wanted very much to get the piece done, and I wanted very much to cavort on a sunny warm beach.  And I was given both.  And especially because my inner ear was full of the piece I had just finished, it played on and on in my mind as I waded in the gentle surf, and the rhythm of the surf affirmed my confidence that the piece was just as I should wish it.

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