I’m sure I’m not the only composer who periodically takes stock of her collected works, as a way to glean whatever insight may come from looking at where she’s been, where she is now, and where she might be going. I did that as part of the planning process for this recital, I was amused by what I saw. That’s probably due to the fact that my sense of humor has improved enormously over time. I was one serious little whippersnapper back in the day! It was all part of the temperamental artiste thing; I was in thrall to the romantic archetype of the tortured, angst-ridden soul who is happy to suffer for art. But over time I realized that, glamorous as it appeared, as a way of life it was downright unsustainable.
I also noticed that I’m a far more pragmatic composer now than I was while I was in school. When you get out in the real world, you discover that idealism is expensive! Hence, the piece I’m performing in the video below, Ordinary Wishes, is the longest and most difficult one on the program. I know better than to make life so hard for myself now, I’ll tell you what! 😉
I still love the piece, though, and re-learning it after many years was a challenging and rewarding experience. It was a little bit terrifying too, I confess — I almost cut the crazy thing a few days before the performance, because practicing it was making me want to tear my hair out. But in the end I was really pleased with how it went, so I’m glad I didn’t. (Cut the piece or tear my hair out, that is!) In fact, I’m looking forward to playing it again!
In my spoken intro to the piece, I mention a Gershwin tune I had in my head while writing it. Here’s a full version of it — it’s a great tune!