28 July 2019

Still it cried Sleep no more to all the house

I've been making incremental progress on the addition/completion of the instruments' lines, and am now at m.111, which is better than half-way through. If I have those lines done for 3 August, I shall be pleased.

We are collectively questing anew for a second concert date.

And, my latest CD review is up at earrelevant.net.

25 July 2019

Still taxiing on the tarmac

Gentle Reader, as I noted this past Tuesday, I reached the end of the text. In the time since, I have chipped away at three predictable tasks:  Refining local text-rhythm here and there, and adding some more material for the instruments.

A bit more fundamentally, having taken the first steps to harmonize the vocal score and the fixed media, I have tinkered a bit with the latter.  While I have done with that tinkering for the present, it may need some further (hopefully not radical)adjustment as the scoring nears completion.

I have now reached a point where hard copy for proofing and additional scribbling will be just the thing, and which should be available to me Monday.

Progress on the Op.150 being thus temporarily suspended for a few days, Let me occupy my composition desk the while with the Op.75. Night the Fourth will be cloven in twain:

Scene 12a: No Word From the Lodger—Nastenka is desolate.
Scene 12b: The Dreamer Declares His Love—He and Nastenka Are Giddy—Comes the Lodger.

On one hand, it seems natural that I should, for Scene 12a recapitulate the material from Scene 3a, Nastenka at the Bridge. On 'tother, I already recapitulated it in Scene 10.  So let me consider.

23 July 2019

A little water clears us of this deed

Reached a notable milestone for the Opus 150 yesterday, as all of the text is now cast onto the voice lines. As the score stands now (incomplete trunk that it is), the voices carry us to the nine-minute mark.  This is perfect . . . the fixed media times at 11:21, so there is room to open up some seams for instrumental commentary.

This afternoon, I shall content myself with identifying those seams, and perhaps even start to populate the commentary.

So, progress is guid.

17 July 2019

I laid their daggers ready

Viz. A Heart So White . . . the first consideration is that the fixed media be of a duration suitable to the declamation of the scene, so we might say that I have already been working backwards, in having created the fixed media first. At some point (last year, I think) I timed myself in a reading of the scene (for fun, I should time the scene in the Orson Welles film) and in all this interval since, I have had the idea that 10-11 minutes is about right for the fixed media . . . and there is space both to allow the text its space and breath, and to allow the occasional "instrumental interlude"

Since the nature of the fixed media is such that the voices will not receive much pitch info pertinent to their lines therefrom, it seems to me that the live instruments will shoulder the supporting role of serving as pitch-reference, and I return to the necessity of creating the voice lines.
Prior to today's work, I have two PDFs, dated 15 Jan 2018 and 26 Mar 2019.

So, what I shall do is, just write— get some form of vocal setting onto the desk, and clean up later. I want to have the piece done so that I can get the music to all the participants by mid-August, so that they have a good sense of what kind of rehearsal regime we need in September.

I did make fair progress today, and maybe I'll chip away at
it some more after a bite of supper.

16 July 2019

Angling Towards Work on the Op 150

Bearing in mind the distinction between hardly any work and no work, I did hardly any actual work on A Heart So White today.

Most of my work today was in the way of housekeeping/file management: I packed away the Opus 163 folder; I confirmed that I had final wav files of the two several versions of the fixed media for Mistaken for the Sacred; and then packed away the Opus 141 folder; brought the Opus 150 folder out to the work desk;  created final wav and mp3 files of The Unquiet Castle, essentially as preparation for clearing away (later) the Audacity project and related files (only when the piece will have been finished.)

And, away from the computer, I found my hard copy of the text, and even MS. paper, for pencil scribbling.

All being now in a state of calm readiness, work shall be waded into, tomorrow.
Watch This Space.

15 July 2019

Op. 163a and beyond

This morning, I prepared the piano version (that is: fl/va/pf) of Bicycling Into the Sun (Feel the Burn).

Tomorrow (if I wait until tomorrow), shall I set to serious work on A Heart So White. The fixed media has been ready some little while, now.

14 July 2019

Trio Done

Gentle Reader, although I myself suggested here, that the sand dance which I wrote for that call long since, is a "bagatelle," that noun does the music an injustice. In fact, it has a wonderful intensity and gravity, so that (we might say) the music has waited for its proper environment, so that its new role as the Arrival Point of  Bicycling Into the Sun (Feel the Burn) is something of an artistic consummation.
Only yesterday, I posted that the trio should be done in a week, so, yes, I am a little surprised (and greatly pleased) that I muscled through, and wrapped it up today.

To recapitulate, I have written three pieces for Ensemble Aubade (fl/va/hp):

Oxygen Footprint, Op.138
Swiss Skis, Op.161
Bicycling Into the Sun, Op.163

I shall soon attend to the alternate version of the Op.163 (with piano)

13 July 2019

The Day's Work

I have brought Bicycling Into the Sun (Feel the Burn) to almost the two-minute mark, so I think the piece should be finished in a week, just by chipping away at it day by day.

And I have added the few slight percussion gestures to Scene 11 of White Nights, and I am now content that the Scene is done.

Now that I know exactly where I am with White Nights, my immediate plan is:

1. Finish Bicycling Into the Sun (Feel the Burn).
2. Finish A Heart So White, so that I can get the music to all the participants by the beginning of August.
And then:

3. Wrap up White Nights.

12 July 2019

To Take Stock Before the Home Stretch

Gentle Reader, as noted here, I have come to think of this recovery period in light of an opportunity to concentrate on finishing White Nights.

So, just where am I?

I reconstruct the grand outline thus:

White Nights Outline Rebuilt 12 July 2019

Overture Op75/1 10'30 10'30

Night the First, Scene 1 Op75/2 12'45 23'15
Night the First, Scene 2 Op75/3 06'00 29'15
Night the First, Scene 3a Op75/4 06'00 35'15
Night the First, Scene 3b Op75/5 08'00 43'15

Intermezzo I Op75/6 06'00 49'15

Night the Second, Scene 4 Op75/7 02'30 51'45
Night the Second, Scene 5 Op75/8 13'00 1h4'45
Night the Second, Scene 6 Op75/9 1'30 1h6'15
Night the Second, Scene 7 Op75/10 10'00 1h16'15
Night the Second, Scene 8 Op75/11 09'00 1h25'15
Night the Second, Scene 9 Op75/12 07'30 1h32'45
Night the Second, Scene 10 Op75/13 03'00 1h35'45

Intermezzo II Op75/14 06'15 1h42'00

Night the Third, Scene 11 Op75/15 06'15 1h48'15

Intermezzo III Op75/16 06'00 1h54'15

Night the Fourth, Scene 12a Op75/17 03'00 1h57'15
Night the Fourth, Scene 12b Op75/18 04'00 2h01'15

Intermezzo IV Op75/19 02'15 2h03'30

Morning, Scene 13 Op75/20 06'00 2h09'30

As noted here, Intermezzo III is complete.

Here, I talk about work on Scene 11, but I do not seem to note completing the Scene here on the blog: or did I, and I just haven't found that post.  I have just opened the Sibelius file for Scene 11, and I think it may indeed be done, perhaps I was waiting to export a sound file before making formal note on the blog. I shall take another day or so to reflect.

What have I changed, tonight from the outline as I had updated it in July of last year?
I have a specific idea for Intermezzo IV, and I trimmed its duration accordingly.
Also, I have decided that Scene 13 should be somewhat shorter than originally budgeted.  In general, I am feeling that much of the earlier part of the ballet has been sufficiently long-breathed, and that I want the final sequence not to dawdle.

11 July 2019

In the (figurative) bicycle saddle today

I have made a good start on Bicycling Into the Sun (Feel the Burn) am now at the 75-second mark (so, one-fourth done), the piece has assumed its own character,  and I am at a point where I consider just what turn I want to take for the next section.

One thought I have had turns upon two bagatelles I drew up for specific calls three years ago. I thought of the one-minute piece, Out From the Unattended Baggage, and I considered how I might, true to its title, draw it forth from oblivion.

I wondered, in fact, if it might be subsumed into Bicycling... but on reviewing the piece, its pitch-world is entirely alien to my present trio: it is a graft which would not take.

But both the material and the notion are worthy, so I have another destination in mind for Out From the U. B., about which, more later.

The pitch-world and vibe of the other of the two bagatelles, the Sand Dance for flute and harp, make it ideal for such a transplant, and so we have found the perfect home for a short patch of music of which I was always fond.

My only bicycling for the time being

Peter H. Bloom and I were on the Red Line on our way to King's Chapel in the spring of 2016,  when we talked about my writing a piece for Ensemble Aubade, and the piece which sprang forth from the mulch of this conversation was Oxygen Footprint. When we talked about what duration the piece should be, Peter gently expanded the invitation, with the suggestion that eventually this piece should be one of a set.

As reported here, I completed the second piece of the set, Swiss Skis, this past March. While I do not believe that the Ensemble have yet had opportunity to work the piece in as yet, Peter's immediate enthusiasm on its behalf was encouragement for me to begin considering the third piece of the set. A week or so ago, I made a start on the piece, called Bicycling Into the Sun (Feel the Burn). Close readers of the blog may note that I have repurposed this title which I originally coined for one of the Opus 114 duets. This present piece for Ensemble Aubade will run about five minutes.

10 July 2019

Repeat Performance

For some little time we have meant, as the k a rl h e nn i ng Ensemble, to play the program we have labored to prepare more than once, to get more play time out of the endeavor, and to get the music into more ears. And so we did, on 30 June, reprise our 14 May King's Chapel program, with the addition of the world première of Timothy Bowlby's Laurels for solo flautist, to a warmly appreciative audience at Holy Trinity UMC in Danvers, Mass.  We shall be sure to return.

03 July 2019

Oh, It Wasn't Lost, After All ...

Once I was ready to apply myself to Mistaken for the Sacred as I originally meant it (that is, percussion solo and fixed media) I felt that I wanted a new mix of the fixed media.

We had used the original fixed media for the alternate version of the piece, Op.141a, with four winds rather than percussion, and the original f. m. is fine. But I reasoned that a percussion soloist is capable of a great deal more noise than is a quartet of winds, so I felt that it was reasonable that each version of the piece should enjoy its own version of the fixed media, and I wanted to give the percussionist some more-unruly noises to "bounce off of."

So, I created a modified fixed media sound file, and then prepared the score-cum-guidance-for-improv for the percussionist; then, my laptop's OS crashed. I thought that this new sound file was lost, an that I needed to rebuild it. But,I had sent a file-share link for the new fixed media, and I did manage to recover it.

I did, nevertheless further modify the fixed media, so the final result means that the work was nothing superfluous.