22 May 2018

Triad and (non-frayed) Nerves

As noted a few days ago, I am conducting Sarah Riskind’s Hariyu on the Triad concerts of 3 & 17 June.  (Note to self:  Have we settled on venues?)  Unusual circumstances have called on me to conduct a second piece as well, our own Julian Bryson’s Green Is the Color of Its Flame (on a Thoreau text), and last night’s rehearsal was the first I conducted the group therein.  On one hand, I had only a few days’ study (one studies a piece very differently, depending on whether one is singing the bass line, or conducting the lot);  on t’other, the singers now know the piece fairly well.  Apart from one cue which (largely by my own gaffe, mussing up the pattern) I failed to provide for my worthy altos . . . and letting the tempo sag before we got the 11/8 riff cooking . . . the first go was reasonably successful–though of course, only a beginning.  Plenty of room for improvement.

My Agnus Dei went very well, apart from my confusing my fellow tenor in one measure on the last page.  (Another new development is, I am moving from bass to tenor on this piece, among others.)  Judging from last night’s rehearsal, we are well on track for good performances–of the entire program–next month.

It was, therefore, not until this morning that I could spend a little time with The Nerves.  Although I am accustomed to working quite comfortably with scores on-screen (certainly chamber and choral works, but even various numbers of White Nights where I already have the concept of the piece well formed), it is no surprise that with a piece as designedly dense as The Nerves, my work benefits (especially at this early stage) from printing out hard copy, for both review and fiddling.  Why?  Because on screen, either I see only a fraction of the score, or the music is reduced to a size which I find physically annoying on a screen–where my eye is perfectly comfortable processing small type on paper.  (I am speaking of this review/compositional process only;  for actual conducting, the size would need to be larger, absolutely.)

So my work this morning consisted in:

  1. Verbal notes to ‘capture’ different musical ideas which have floated about in my mind the past couple of days, for execution in the next few days
  2. Highlighting various ideas in the score-as-is, both for modification in situ, and for further use
  3. Some minor editing (I saw one measure whose rhythmic notation wants improving)

My mind is now fully engaged with the piece, and meseems that it will be peak efficiency if I devote this week’s creative work to The Nerves, and wait until the holiday weekend to attend to Heart So White.

Now–Although I have started sketches for a second Symphony proper (i.e., for orchestra) I think I had better hew to my vow to finish White Nights before addressing myself to another (orchestral) Symphony.  You see, Gentle Reader, that with the qualifying parentheses I am already weaseling around it, to some extent.  But it is all rather innocent, truly, and all this is to say simply that although (as noted here) the first idea was to make Karl’s Big (But Happily Incomplete) Map to the Body the Symphony N° 3 for band, why not change that?  As I am cooking away at The Nerves now (and have decided to push out the new orchestral symphony to post-Dostoyevsky) let’s make the Big Map the Symphony N° 2.

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