23 June 2018

Hot off the press

Eleven days ago, at the request of my organist (!) I began work on a new clarinet-&-organ piece, the first I have written in a long while.  (The previous organist did not welcome new pieces from me—she endured them, and not always with any especial grace.)  Barbara’s request was for a piece based on “Beautiful Savior.”  An old friend, an organist and fellow composer, when I told him of the project, remarked, I’ve never come up with something to do with that tune.  And in fact, when I first considered the hymn afresh, my reaction was a similar musical puzzlement.  Soon after, though, I thought of it, not as the well-loved, long-familiar hymn which seems perfect in itself—but as (on a purely musical plane, and without any disrespect to the source material) a car in a junkyard to be selectively relieved of its component parts.  Not as a tune to be preserved in its present state and proportions, as (say) the subject of a chorale-prelude-style piece.

The result is a piece which I am not certain whether my worthy parishioners will enjoy for its own character, or if they will find it a frustrating listening experience, since they can more or less recognize the tune, but will not be able to sing along with it, mentally, as they experience my piece.

At any rate, I’ve now sent the piece to Barbara, and we shall put it together whenever she may wish.

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