31 August 2021

As to What's Next

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 Mark

I probably shan’t, but some composer with a penchant for dance might could write the Cthulhu Toodle-oo.

But enough of what I shan’t do. What shall I? Firstly there is prep for our rehearsals (beginning in less than two weeks) for Triad’s November concerts. There is a case to be made, that I ought to have done some of that work today, but I am giving my brain a post-Opus 172 breather.
On 7 Oct there is the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac do. Happily, others are doing most of the work there.
In November, Ensemble Aubade will bring the Oxygen Footprint on tour to the Southlands.
Almost certainly not until the Triad concerts are done, I need to clean up the layout of The Lungs. If in the meanwhile I do feel I have any composition capacity, I can work on the next Opus 169 organ piece. We shall see if as early as Christmas I may be able to work on the Opus 174, the Symphony № 3 for strings in memoriam Louis Andriessen.

For now, though, I’m taking the evening off.

30 August 2021

Soliloquy in the form of a Blog Post

Anyone who relies on Andrew Lloyd Webber for theological guidance, is born unto unrelievable suffering.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Give us something else; give us something new; for Heavens sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

— Carl Nielsen

So, the Kerouac piece is done and delivered. I dig it and believe it will represent me well. It’s a piece which (honestly) I would have written simply with the promise of a performance, but in equal honesty it’s a piece I feel comfortable being paid for. I don’t know just how much, still. I’m not saying that I haven’t been curious.

I didn’t ask earlier. Why? If in the back of my mind I somehow posit a sum, what if the actual sum is much less? I felt that for the time being ignorance was preferable to possible disappointment. And I did not want, while I was at work on the piece, for such a disappointment to serve as impedance against my compositional electricity. And now, whatever the sum, I shall be pleased with it.

29 August 2021

The Opus 172 Finished

elite tile risqué squire scarecrow in escrow.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

There were some really funny people out there on the air [in Cleveland, Ohio], and I just loved the idea that they were having fun. I’ve always thought the thing I’ve missed most in life is being in a community where people can have fun doing what they’re doing. Things are so serious that I just wonder sometimes why people even do what they do, if they’re not having fun. I know that sounds naïve, but I mean it sometimes.

— the late, great Peter Bergman

Gentle Reader, I have completed the piece, and in good time. For a while there I wondered if the deadline would best me. On the 17th, I had reached a point when I thought the goal was in easy sight. I had what seemed a good idea for proceeding, but I couldn't shape it to my satisfaction. I was visited by a second idea which also seemed a good ’un, and which seemed to possess the additional virtue of helping me to get on with the first idea. But it was all rubbish. With a 1 September deadline looming, I knew I had to roll up my sleeves this weekend.  None of my work Saturday morning or early afternoon was worthy of the piece—and I remembered: the eraser is your friend, Karl. I knew I had to excise everything I had been throwing at the score since the 17th, and start fresh, sketching something completely different to the ideas which, for all their seeming so good in the abstract, were a dead end. I set to the fresh work this morning, and that was all I needed. The piece is done and now I have a couple of days to prep the parts. The piece is still going to need a soprano who knows no fear ....

15 August 2021

Coming Into the Home Stretch

Gnarly lasagne with putative pepperoni.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

‘... I've hardly any possessions, almost no friends.’
‘I’m a friend,’ said Russell cheerfully.
‘No, Russell, you aren’t a friend. You have an interesting mind, despite being English, but I wouldn’t say that you were my friend. On the whole I find you vain and frivolous.’ Russell reminded himself quietly that candour was a virtue.

— Terry Eagleton, from “Saints and Scholars”

I think I am now finished with the fifth chorus (90) of the Op. 172. Almost at the seven-minute mark, which is just right to pace out the rest. And, speaking of rest, yes, I think I should, thanks.

11 August 2021

Chilling As I May

Sorry I was unclear what the Nebula Award is for.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

It takes a long time to grow young.

— Pablo Picasso

Not leaps or bounds, to be sure, but I have indeed made some slight progress on the Op. 172

This afternoon I watched Ladyhawke for the first in a long time, and indeed for the very first time in its entirety. I would not say on the whole that the Alan Parsons score is bad, only that when the music used was by A. P. it was sonically obvious.

I then watched Conspiracy Theory again. Julia Roberts co-stars with Mel Gibson, and I could not remember her name. There I was, watching a scene with the two of them, and I drew a complete blank on her name. I got the answer from Alexa, and I admit that I quite enjoy the fact that I had forgotten her name, in kind of a counter-cultural way.