12 May 2018

A few thoughts more about Deep Breath

The dicey element to writing a piece for one’s wife, and designing it to be music she will especially enjoy, while she is away, is of course her return.  Say she likes it (which is both the idea, and my expectation).  Does she then coyly observe, Ah, I see what nice work you do when you are pining for me, in my absence.  Let me take off for another while, and see how you do ...?

Another idea behind the piece, is to have it ready to hand over to local conductor, a week from (well) today. Yet, even if the piece should prove somehow unsuitable for this group, I think it will prove an easy-ish pitch to four other conductors I know around town. A strong feeling that an actual performance is a good and reasonable possibility infuses me;  and maybe this can be my foot in the orchestral door, at last.

The speed of throwing the piece together is practical, both so that I can hand hard copy to the conductor this Saturday, and as a kind of rehearsal for a contest in June, which will require writing a complete piece in the space of two weeks.  Truth to tell, this kind of exercise was part of the qualifying exams for my doctorate in Buffalo; and it is a challenge which I do enjoy.  The piece (i.e., Deep Breath) is now at almost five minutes and a half.

And, in recreational viewing: yesterday afternoon I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Had not seen it in decades;  and all prior viewings were midnight shows, so if you were wondering if it felt a bit strange to watch this, while there was still light in the sky, yes.

Why did I bother to revisit this, when I have done so very well without, for (gosh) almost 40 years? I did not, honestly, have a clear answer before sliding the disc into the tray. Save that the answer was not titillative. As I watched, I kenned that I was curious about it, afresh, as a musical. And, considered in this light, it is superb, both the songwriting and the (erm) execution. My hat is off to Richard O’Brien
I did not, on earlier occasions, recognize this for the musical/stage tour de force it is. The cult success of this quirky project is richly deserved.

And, speak of quirky projects...yesterday evening, for the first time, The Corpse Bride. The fact is, I sidled quite innocently into the Macabre-Comic Double Feature.

Overall, I found it charming, with two Demerits:

1. There are few hands in cinema as heavy as Tim Burton’s hand. Few as heavy, and (I dare speculate) none heavier.

2. Whose boilerplate is there, like unto Danny Elfman’s boilerplate?  Musically, this had all the feel of a Nightmare Before Christmas re-tread.

Those serious (IMO) demerits noted, the saccharine, Hallmark greeting card-esque character of Elfman’s music plays a pivotal role in modulating (mayhap even normalizing) Burton’s (impressively creative, let it be well noted) cartoon-macabre style. There are faults in both partners, yet the partnership does result in part in a kind of magic, and if they’re recycling themselves, they are not poaching (without artful adaptation) from others.

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