22 November 2023

Thanksgiving Eve Pot-Pourri

The Mirage of Figaro
Are the lemons omens?
Barberous Monk: Crépuscule for Scandal
Now, about that enigmatic song I wrote ....
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Mr. President–if I may speak freely...The Russky talks big, but frankly, we think he’s short of know-how. You just cant expect a bunch of ignorant...peons to understand a machine like some of our boys–and thats not meant as an insult, Mr. Ambassador....

— Geo. C. Scott as Gen. Buck Turgidson in Doctor Strangelove

The blu-ray edition of The Twilight Zone, improving even on the DVD release, is generously appointed with extras. Of these, what I am making a point of enjoying this time around are the isolated scores, particularly the Bernard Herrmann scores. This week I’ve really been digging Jerry Goldsmith’s score to “The Big Tall Wish.” The harmonica is especially sweet. As to Serling’s script, I have a dimmish recollection of feeling mild disappointment in the story on my very first viewing (at least a decade ago), but that’s surely no longer my story. It’s a story which ends on a note of poignant disappointment, and my admiration of Serling for having spun so subtle a yarn. Today I happened to listen to the first couple of sides of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album. Long ago, so of course I have long forgotten the title and author, I read a book about the Beatles. The author remarked on a swath of “Harrissongs” which are ambiguous in that the singer might be addressing either a mortal, or the Eternal. It occurred to me that there is something of that vibe in Harrison’s lovely cover of Bob Dylan’s “If Not for You.” I almost wonder, if Dylan were to hear it in that wise, how he might feel about it. As to my own activity, I paused genuine Henningmusick for a spell as I took thought for what to have the church choir sing out through Epiphany. Almost a month ago, I wrote of adapting The Mask I Wore Before, a piece I originally wrote for submission to the Rapido! Contest a year and a half ago. Although this was yet another instance of a contest flipping my music the bird, it’s actually just the sort of endeavor/challenge I enjoy: The organization sends you the specs (five minutes long, scored for clarinet, violin, viola and cello) and we contestants had ten days (I think it was) to submit our entries. I paced myself, to allow two days for “finishing.” I think I remember genuinely owning the piece as I sent it in, or I imagine that I did.The adaptation is for a call issued by a quintet of reeds. The new scoring is: Soprano Saxophone, B-flat Clarinet, English Horn, Bass Clarinet and Bassoon. One challenge (not at all insurmountable) is that three of the instruments in the original are strings, and there were double-stops to reconsider. I finished a week ago today. At first there was an annoying, small voice I was trying to fend off, which was saying, maybe it’s rubbish? In adapting the original quartet for five reeds, I made occasional rhythmic adjustments, added a fifth voice here and there (as opposed to simple redistribution, which was most of the task) even added a measure here, a chord there ... reviewing the MIDI export once again, after letting it “cure” overnight I’m prepared to dismiss that small voice as a heckler.

08 November 2023

One Minute of Music More

Pedestrians of the Paleozoic
A fossilized beast who feasted on unleavened bread? The Matzo-don. I cannot be the first with that.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

There’s no need for music to make people think. It would be enough if music could make people listen.

— Claude Debussy, 1901

Clavichordist Monica Chew has created a Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame Call. Recently the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra lost one of the captains of its saxophone section, Arni Cheatham. The last I saw Arni was when he appeared, a little by surprise (given his poor health) at the Church of the Covenant during the annual Aardvark Christmas Concert. The piece I wrote today for Monica Chew’s call is therefore a memorial piece: A Sigh for Arni.

06 November 2023

The Latest Iteration of Here Goeth Nothing

The Orchestra of the Age of Endimment.
Thank you for not asking me not to joke.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Some men, Lieutenant, do not want to look like an unmade bed.

— Susanne Pleshette to Peter Falk

This weekend I sent both the orchestral Ear Buds and the brand-new Cape of Good Nope to a Call. ”[The composer of the selected score will be notified by [Christmas Day.]” I also chanced upon a Call for which the “Pierrot-plus” version of Counting Sheep (a damned good piece which no one outside the composer’s near circle has evinced any appreciation) so I’ve submitted that, substantially ahead of the New Year’s Eve deadline. No idea when notification may come, the selected composer will be commissioned to write a new piece, so it isn't as if we were looking (at last) at a performance of the Opus 58. I had also sent Counting Sheep (as noted here on the blog erewhile) to a Call Down South. So at least Quijote is tilting at more than one windmill.

01 November 2023

Can You Even Believe It?

When zombies roamed the land, and musicologists openly wondered if Schubert was coming back to finish the b minor symphony
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

I never met anybody who could sit through the entire Ring of the Nibelung and come out sane. Or even alive, for that matter.
— the immortal Chuck Jones

Gentle Reader, I launched this blog 15 years ago today, so happy Bloggiversary to me.

My schema for The Cape of Good Nope, formed not subconsciously, but with a surprisingly low wattage of conscious effort:
A. Opening (new, proprietary material)
B. Much of Intermezzo I from White Nights
C. the Chorale from The Young Lady Holding a Phone in Her Teeth
D. the Conclusion of Intermezzo I from White Nights
As I chipped away at the arguably “mechanical” task of importing the pre-existing passages, I certainly kept in mind further ad hoc use of the brand-new Nope material. Yesterday I made my way through to the end of C, and I thought the “quilting” went well. Things fit together with what struck me as surprising ease. Today I (1) brought in Section D. (2) modified some A. material as a “join” between C. and D. and (3) made some tactical additions to the scoring of C.

One random Art Fact, supposing it to be genuine (a game app supplied it) which arose yesterday: It took da Vinci twelve years to paint the Mona Lisa’s lips. I can readily credit it, though it does not mean he focused on this task for twelve years, only that from the initial brush stroke to the final satisfactory result there passed 144 months.