19 July 2018

Mostly Maples & Moonrise

It is not a work of art, but it wouldn't be nearly as good if it were.
– Roger Ebert, on Henry Hathaway's True Grit (1969)

From the archive :: 17 July 2007

Over the years (gosh, what a fogey I'm sounding) I've wondered if I should re-score Radiant Maples, to try to get it performed.  I wrote the piece for a service at the Jefferson Ave Presbyterian Church in Detroit, where the music director had arranged to use some three or four pieces of mine.  He was going to have the harpist there anyway, and his organist was also a crack pianist;  so, watch my smoke, I wrote a piece which demanded a fine pianist.

By the time I landed in Detroit, though, the pianist had fallen ill;  and at any event, the piece would have defeated the harpist.  In a way characteristic of my work, Maples requires counting and agility which are something of a stretch for your average harpist.

And otherwise, the unusual scoring meant that this piece has been even harder than most of my music to find a group of players for.

I've recently made the virtual acquaintance of a sextet, so . . . as long as their percussionist doesn't mind breaking out a marimba, this combination falls within their toolbox.

Last night I also got the "finishing" done on the score of Irreplaceable Doodles.  The composition itself has long been finished (after all, I've performed it in public three times already) . . . but a lot of expression detail (a forte or pianissimo here, a diminuendo there) was still in my head and not yet on the page.  But if I wanted other clarinetists to play it, of course, I had to get all that other stuff on the page to be read.

From the archive some more :: 18 July 2008

Not really news, but I was reading through the scores of the Sinfonietta and of Moonrise for brass quintet this morning.

The Sinfonietta I hadn't looked at in . . . a long time.  One group, outside the Commonwealth, once performed it and made cuts which they only informed me of after the fact;  they wanted to excise some of the 'repetition'.  Though it is an "old" piece of mine, I don't seem to find any faulty repetition in it.

Anyway, the new thoughts are all pleasant;  I still like both scores, and gladly own them.  I am sorry that Moonrise is still waiting for performance;  parts of it ring with especial sweetness.

And today:

As to the rescoring of Radiant Maples, I do not at this time recall whether I ever bothered to adapt the piece for the sextet (whom . . . I do not recall, either).  We did, at last, perform the piece in its original instrumentation, on the Bullish Upticks program of 24 June 2009.

It is probably time that I revived the Irreplaceable Doodles.

Moonrise has now, of course, been performed, and beautifully, by the Midtown Brass Quintet of Atlanta, on 24 January 2015.  At some point, I created a flute choir (six parts) version of Moonrise, but I'm jiggered if I remember just why.

I have an idea that I started a fresh 'engraving' of the Sinfonietta – no, better to say, I certainly started it, but I have an idea (better than an idea, really) that I never finished it.  I should finish it, someday, you know.

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