Yikes! 11 days into 2008 and this is my first post of the year! (My previous post says January 1, but it was still New Year’s Eve where I am when I posted it. My time stamp comes from somewhere over the Atlantic ocean…)
The reason the only sound coming from this blog has been crickets (as opposed to cicadas) is that I’ve been working feverishly, day and night, to finish my Concerto for Theremin and Chamber Orchestra, which will be premiered in March by the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, with my good friend Scott Paulson playing the theremin solo. I finally reached the coveted double barline today!
There’s still plenty more to do — making the score look nice and preparing the parts for all the different instruments, for example. But those tasks are pretty straightforward, which is not to say easy… they’re mainly painstaking and time-consuming. But they don’t require inspiration, the cooperation of the muse, that certain je ne sais quoi that makes every creative project take approximately 3 times longer than you expect. If only it could be like building a brick wall — you just lay brick after brick, steadily and consistently, until you’re done. Nope, composition doesn’t work that way. The process goes in fits and starts. Some days I’ll worry over 10 seconds of music like a dog with a bone… other days I’ll write two minutes of music in an hour and then head for the beach! (Well, not in Michigan in January, but you get the picture.)
I’m not denying that there’s a discipline and routine to it — the bottom line is, you just have to sit down and get to work — but sometimes “work” looks like staring at a blank page trying to decide whether to tear it up, poke holes in it with your pencil, spill coffee on it… or write something, anything… and keep working it til it works. It’s a mysterious and beautiful process. It’s easy for me to say that now, because I’m not right in the thick of it… I’m done, woo hoo!
…unless the conductor hates it. In which case I’ll be back with some wicked conductor jokes. (You can take most any lawyer joke you know and substitute conductors… or violists… 😉 )
By the way, the software for music notation and audio editing uses every last drop of RAM and CPU power the computer can muster; I joked with a friend today that my compy was running on a hamster wheel. He sent me a link in response — some brilliant person has built a Hamster controlled MIDI sequencer. This is not a joke! You can hear the musical results, and they sound like quirky minimalism! Heh heh, I know that’s a terrible thing to say about minimalism — that’s another story for another day… 😉
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