09 May 2018

White Nights, Deep Breath

As I (at last!) reopen my White Nights folder, with my charts, schemata and divers notations, I find that the musical material I have been forming this week will not do for Scene 11 (Night the Third);  but it will serve perfectly for Intermezzo III.  I shall let things percolate a bit yet.

One result of my surreptitious roll-out of Tooth Fairy is, I have not discussed the musical process.

The audio consists of three ‘strands’:  the text, of course;  the kind-of-trio, which is live-plus-MIDI–an experiment in taking MIDI extractions of the “accompaniment” parts (and treating them), and recording myself playing the principal part (and, honestly, I mean to putter more, in just that way, in future) . . . our parakeet’s good-natured interjections (she does take my practicing in good part) originated in the clarinet recording;  and (also treated, and practically beyond proper recognition) samples of myself singing, built into a kind of background choral track.

Not that I minded in this case (since it is “buried” in the mix) but my performance against the mechanized accompaniment is less “together” than I should normally wish.  Part of the reason is, I had not anticipated the session, and so I did not have my part printed out;  I therefore recorded myself reading along with the rolling Sibelius file (the first time ever tried such an activity).  Thus I could not “read ahead” as I always, always do when playing, i.e., cast my eye a few measures ahead as a reminder, while I am playing (say) measure 18, of what measures 22 & 23 will look like.  As I say, in this case especially, I did not care about imperfections . . . after all, the members of an actual human ensemble sometimes drift mildly out of synch and then recover.

It is an experiment with which I am almost entirely satisfied, and upon which I intend to build.

Separately, in recent chats with Luke Ottevanger, I have pressed him with an invitation to write a duet for Peter H. Bloom & me to play.  Perhaps for this October!

As I scrawled notes yesterday afternoon, my momentary title for the clarinet-&-strings piece was How Fond Her Heart Grew (in His Absence).  While I do like it as a title, it does not suit the character of the music, as I began composing it last night. (What was the point?, you ask?  But what is ever the point?)  I am inverting the “introduction & Allegro” model, by writing an introduction which is poco agitato, with the main body of the work to be peaceful.  The piece is now called Deep Breath.  And, the first minute or so is composed.  I expect the completed piece will be some 8 or 9 minutes.

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