15 June 2021

Pulmonary Progress

 

Too early for twirly?
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

I think it doesn’t matter to him anyway. He’s just satisfied to wander around and forget things.

— Jack Kerouac. The Dharma Bums

There have been four phases of my work on the third movement of Karl’s Big (But Happily Incomplete) Map of The Body:

Phase 1: In which I earnestly intended to start writing it. This phase began pretty much on the point when I wrapped up The Heart, at which point I thought I was dubbing Movement 3 The Noggin, and I already knew the initial anacrustic gesture with which to set it in motion. This phase lasted months. I knew it would not last forever, but for a while that was all I knew for a certainty.

Phase 2: In which I at last set up the Sibelius file, plugged in the snare drum anacrusis, and learnt that (at first, anyway, the movement would be in a brisk 5/4.  This phase lasted perhaps 3-4 days.

Phase 3: In which I built out the percussion intro to the movement. This phase lasted two days, by the end of which the movement did not quite run 40 seconds.

Phase 2: In which I finally find that I have well primed the pump, and work began in enthusiastic and positively-reinforced earnest.

Per my musing here (on April Fool’s Day),  I am aiming for six minutes for The Lungs. With today’s work done, the movement is just shy of half-complete.



11 June 2021

Trending back towards normal

L’enfer, c’est les autres (Hell is other people)
— Jean-Paul Sartre, Huis clos (No Exit)
’Cuz there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
— America “A Horse With No Name”


Last night, my church choir had their (our) first rehearsal since March of last year. Just want to report how great that feels.

Separately, here is the Jacksonville University Choral Union’s February 2021 performance of the Op. 170 № 1

06 June 2021

Centimetering Along

 

It isn’t talking to yourself,
if you address your parakeet, right?
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Nobody knows whether we were catalysts or invented something, or just the froth riding on a wave of its own. We were all three, I suppose.

— Allen Ginsberg

There is now 35" of the third movement.  Progress too inconsiderable to bother reporting? Maybe. Fact is that between the oppressive heat, and my ‘recovering’ from Friday’s PT, I am happy that the piece is advancing, even if it only outpaces the glacier.




04 June 2021

Erm, at Last

 

I think I could never grill a gorilla.
But, a few questions, I might ask politely.
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

— T.S. Eliot

As I finished The Heart at the end of March, I have been “meaning to start” work on the third movement for months. Friday is PT day, so I perforce spent the afternoon resting. Upon re-verticalizing, I have managed at last to set up the Sibelius file for The Lungs (I shan’t say that I got started on the composing, although I have indeed input what in my mind was always the opening gesture of the movement.) I only discovered today that the movement begins in 5/4. Now shall I resume taking the remains of the day easy: Proper work tomorrow, and the determination to have the movement—and therefore the Symphony—finished by July.




03 June 2021

Today’s Modest Work

 

Wreckage & unbeknownstage.
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.

— Juan Ramón Jiménez

This afternoon I finished my arrangement of “O Waly Waly” for the HTUMC choir for use this month (It will also serve, warmed up, for All Saint’s Day.


This evening I rather amused myself. I learnt today of a call for orchestral scores. As the call said they would consider pieces for string orchestra as well, I felt that I wanted to submit the string choir version of Misapprehension. Why not, right?  The call specifies that the piece should be 6 - 12 minutes in length.  The mp3 of Misapprehension runs 5:58.  Not wanting to submit the piece such that it was just possible they'd disqualify a piece whose MIDI realization falls just shy of 6' (which would be stupid. Because any actual performance would “breathe” and run longer (but when you may not be counting on a colleague’s consideration, and one can rely on the lack of imagination in bureaucrats)— I inserted three mm. in the middle, so that the new running time of the mp3 is 6:06.  The insertion is not merely unobtrusive, it is positively organic.



31 May 2021

A little sheepish

End the beguine!
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

The sparrow hops along the veranda, with wet feet.

— Shiki

On April the 23rd, as I neglected to note here, I made a start on Till Love create a place, the Op. 169 № 7 piece for Michael Joseph. I then neglected it until Saturday.  I have finished it today.


In parakeet news, Richie likes Paul McCartney's “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” partly because the telephone ring-tone is a kind of trilling sound, partly because another sound effect is a bird.


Another piece I have neglected is the third movement of the Second Symphony. My first title for it was A Piece of My Mind, but dissatisfaction with this did not take long to emerge. I then softened this to The Noggin, removing the title from the audience’s face (as we might say) At first I thought I did not mind the neural overlap with Movement 1, The Nerves. However, when my friend and fellow clarintetist Bruce Gelin remarked on the systemic redundancy, I saw light, and knew I should change it.  Now going with what I belatedly realize was the obvious choice for a band piece, The Lungs.


First, though (and quickly) as our church choir will present anthems at last for two services in June, I must chop out an easy arrangement of “O Waly Waly.”


I am very excited that I have been commissioned to write a piece for a Jack Kerouac festival in October, on the eve (as it were) of his centenary, so I have been combing for a text, or assembling one, really. My instrumentation will be pf/fl/cl/vc & soprano.




04 April 2021

A Kind of Resurrection

Why mimic a cynic?
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

Found them? In Mercia?! The coconut’s tropical!

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

In an exchange with a clarinetist friend last week, I came to remember a piece I had long forgotten about: Square Dance, Op. 72 for clarinet quartet (three soprano and one bass) which I had originally composed for a group at Cornell, the Ezra Quartet (after, IIRC, Ezra Cornell.  I composed the Opus 72 back when I was still using Finale, and so I have no electronic file, per se, but at least I have a PDF file. I have set to rebuilding the score in Sibelius, before either resuming the organ pieces, or starting on The Noggin.