31 August 2020

Nope, Not This Time

A Perjurer in Persia.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

— Groucho Marx

The results are in for the contest to which I sent The Nerves, and my piece was one of the 207 not selected.  Ah, well.

27 August 2020

From the archive

Do what I must do, let what must happen happen.
– The motto of a faraway friend

Well, well, take off your face,
Recover from the trip you've been on.

— Paul McCartney “Hi, Hi, Hi”

Ten years ago this week, I was wrapping up the second movement of the Viola SonataSuspension Bridge (In Dave's Shed).

Photo by Maria Bablyak

25 August 2020

A Slow Tuesday

To Quill a Mockingbird–A Coming-of-Rage Story.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

The way to write American music is simple.
All you have to do is be an American and then write any kind of music you wish.

— Virgil Thomson (25 Jan 1948)

The commissioning prize to which I submitted the Saltmarsh Stomp (and whose deadline was 17 Aug) confirmed receipt of my submission this Friday past. The announcement is slated for NLT Hallowe’en.

Turning ideas around for the Op. 169 № 3 organ piece (I have a tune picked out)

23 August 2020

Dew Dropped Off

HIYHA = Honk If You Hate Acronyms
Postcards From Dead Squirrel Trail

When I was a young, skinny boy, Mama said to me,
“The world outside is hard and dirty, mean as it want to be.”

— Chicago

added a fugato passage before the close of While the dew is still on the roses, which I feel is just the thing. Although I am morally prepared for the possibility of fine tuning, I pronounce the Op.169 № 2 pretty much done, and I have sent it along to David.

22 August 2020

At the threshold of the final double-bar

Farm Noir? The Big Sheep.
Postcards From Dead Squirrel Trail

while the dew is still on the roses is practically done:  I need to add some dynamics here and there. Will wrap it up tomorrow.

21 August 2020

Dewy Roses

Sadder Budweiser.
Postcards From Dead Squirrel Trail

Thirty-two teeth in a jawbone / Alabamas tryin’ for none, Before I have to hit him, I hope he’s got the sense to run.

— The Grateful Dead “Alabama Getaway”

These past couple of days, I’ve been chipping away at the marble of while the dew is still on the roses. It’s something of a calliope mash-up of “In the Garden” (C. Austin Miles, 1913) and “Genevan 42” (Louis Bourgeois, 1551) to serve as a cheerful, brief Postlude. I’m not rushing it, but having some fun.

20 August 2020

Footprint Anniversary

She’s got everything, including my old car.

— Eric Clapton “Next Time You See Her”

Three years ago today, Ensemble Aubade played Oxygen Footprint in a charming Vermont Hamlet.  Looking forward to the end of the pandemic so they can read its two companion pieces.

Remembering Henningmusick in the Sunshine State

Beast ill and know that I am God..
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

I think I’m on the brink of buying you mink to drag on the ground
or wrap around you when you slink.

— Fats Waller “Slightly Less Than Wonderful”

Two years ago yesterday, Paul and Mei Mei played Plotting down Florida way

Also, had a fascinating dream last night.  I was working on a piece for two singers, and I was at a part of the score where I was going to have one of the singers speak some text. But, I thought, wouldn’t it be better still to have an actor speak the text at that point?  So I sent a request to Leonard Nimoy, regretting that I could not offer him an honorarium befitting his talent and stature, but would he consider participating?  He agreed.  The dream then shifted gears and I went down the elevator to deposit checks in an ATM.  At the ATM, my fingers tried to remember a PIN which in fact I had forgotten at the time of my stroke.  In the dream, I recalled that fact and then keyed in my new PIN ... first time I did any such thing in a dream.

19 August 2020

My Life, My Life’s Life Has Just Begun

I was never allowed to join in any reindeer games, either—Hard Gouda, Rudolph.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

THOU wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine:
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

— Edgar Allan Poe “To One in Paradise”

When I reported Monday that I was nearly done with the Op.119 № 2, I could taste it, but I also knew that my brain had worked enough for the day. There were three places which were problems (in a Stravinskyan/mathematical sense) and I knew already how to solve them, which meant that I was fresh to lay into the work yesterday, and the work went quite easily. I am indeed pleased with My Life, My Life.

Next? Before taking a choral music call under more serious advisement, I think I want to wrap up the Op.169 № 2 organ piece, While the dew is still on the roses.

18 August 2020

Belated Bloggery

 Not the abbreviations we need, but the abbreviations we deserve... “Not a significant source of sat. fat, trans. fat, cholest., fiber, vit. D, calcium, iron [or] potas.”

Please don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am
I’m only sleeping.

— Jn Lennon

Once Upon a Time, not such a very long time ago, in the era of innocence when we thought that wearing masks in public was an exotic Japanese practice, when the k a rl h e nn i ng Ensemble was preparing for a concert which has since been canceled, I wrote two pieces whereof I failed to make note here in ye blog, Gentle Reader.  I had forgotten until this instant that my origanal title for piece no. 1 was Shoes of Sugar. As it happened, though, as I was at last wrapping up my revisitation with The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (and also, with Stan Kenton’s “Two Moose in a Caboose” in mind—quite likely, The Firesign Theatre’s “Camel on the Lam,” as well) the quartet became Moose on the Loose, a happy-go-lucky five minutes and a half for C flute (doubling piccolo) alto flute, horn and violin.  I finished this (Op.165) on or about 7 March.

For quartet no. 2 I started with two fundamental notions: (1) the timbral idea of having Peter switch from flute to saxophone (when in the company of a multi-instrumentalist, avail yourself of the variegated palette) so as to enjoy the combination of saxophone and our Pamela Marshall’s horn, and (2) the gentle abstraction of the Op.97 № 2, All the Birds in Mondrian’s Cage.  As a result, and before I knew that Pam had composed a piece named Labyrinth, my six-minute Op. 166 for flute, alto sax, horn and violin became Pam’s Labyrinth.  I probably completed this quartet the day after the Op. 165, as I worked on them concurrently.

17 August 2020

Just Shy of Done

If thou thy mind dost free, Shall thine ass not follow?
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

They’ll eat their words with a fork and spoon!

— The Beach Boys “Catch a Wave”

I have some cleanup and tweaking before I can lay true claim to having finished My Life, My Life. I have now set all the text, though, and today’s work was reasonably productive.

16 August 2020

Inching Along

Overheard while sipping a pint at The Okra and Arrow — Well, who wouldn’t be for free, universal health care!? Heck! I’ve seen Star Trek.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Hey, You know something, people?
I’m not black,But there’s a whole lotsa times I wish I could say I’m not white.

— Frank Zappa “Trouble Every Day,” from Freak Out! (released 27 June 1966)

Not yet finished with My Life, My Life . . . but probably soon.

12 August 2020

Warming and yearning and fading

I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me, than a prefrontal lobotomy.
Porridger's Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Dire cela, sans savoir quoi.
— Beckett L’innomable

While this seems to have become the Moon of the stylish purple cast, I have laid in more work on My Life, My Life these past couple of days.  May finish tonight, may finish tomorrow.

09 August 2020

Divers Songs

When sheep cannot sleep, what do they count?.
Porridger's Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

The facts are sonorous but between the facts there’s a whispering. It’s the whispering that astounds me.
— Clarice Lispector

As I noted two weeks since, I got a good start on the Op.119 № 2.  Now that the two Partsongs from a pandemic are done, I am inching towards returning to work on My Life, My Life. I am also mulling an entry for another call.

04 August 2020

Opus 170 Done

A tempo is correct when everything can still be heard.
— Mahler

Although I wrote yesterday that I had figured out the ending, that first attempt suffered from being unnecessarily elaborate; fresh reference to the Ur-text made a far preferable solution quite easy; and so, I finished the setting of the text, too, which I think fits the classical original quite naturally.

03 August 2020

Curious, not furious

Philip Austin: “You ever shoot beer?”
Peter Bergman: “Yeah—and missed!”
The Firesign Theatre on the air.

The two pieces of the Opus 170, I am dubbing Partsongs from a Pandemic. I’ve been working on № 2.  My musical model for this ’un is Gounod’s Ave Maria.  So, in fact most of my work yesterday and today has been the unglamorous, mechanical job of plugging in the classical original which I am commandeering.  I do have the creative challenge since, unlike Gounod, I am using not a complete entity, but the exposition of a Sonata design, of how to close it out.  I think I’ve got it.  More work, though.