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.

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