24 February 2021

I Found My Heart (so to speak)

Anemic Iceman Cinema
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

Be composed—be at ease with me—I am Walt Whitman, liberal and lusty as Nature,
Not till the sun excludes you do I exclude you,
Not till the waters refuse to glisten for you and the leaves to rustle for you,
do my words refuse to glisten and rustle for you....

— Walt Whitman “To a Common Prostitute”

While I was in sub-acute rehab (recovering from stroke) and my mind was raring to return to composition, one idea I had was for The Heart (the second movement of my Symphony № 2 (for band) I have a 30-second soundfile for The Heart from 1 May, 2020.  That is all I can really say, today, about the start of actual work, except that it was entirely unrelated to those first thoughts which turned in my inner ear, in February of 2019.  Did that fact annoy the back of my mind, and is that why I have been slow to return to work? Perhaps I did, in fact, want to return to my original idea, but was still waiting for the right notes. I wrote nine days ago about the recent listening which instilled in me new confidence in my original thoughts. I also hinted at my openness, in principle, to pitching the May 2020 material, and starting from scratch.

Well, I revisited that “errant” composition today, and I find it good.  Nevertheless, in deference to my original “plan” we shan’t have that rogue music open the movement.  I had aurally envisioned the movement opening with a strong unison, and 'I suppose I did not know until last night, just what shape that opening melody would take.  It is not at all related to my recent piece for flute and organ, Come unto me and live (which has been very graciously received by Dolores and Robert), but it seems to have come to quickly, once my mind was clear from that work. There it is: I have now (out of order) composed the opening of the second movement as I always wanted it, and made some minor tweaks to what used to be the opening (the darned interloper)—most importantly, I got out of the way of an alto flute solo, which would have had to struggle against a too-busy accompaniment.” The second movement, as I down tools for the day, runs to one minute and three-quarters, and I am excited to see just where the music may take us tomorrow.

A very kind “virtual friend” (i. e. someone I have as yet only “met” online, but with whom I expect I should be great friends if/when geographic distance might be overcome) Dan Cazazza, as a very kind gift to spur me on to recovery, wrote for me a cracking and lively Clarinet Sonata, which piece is yet another reason why I am keen to be able to return to the clarinet.

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