21 July 2017

henningmusick: Seems to Have Worked

henningmusick: Seems to Have Worked

This post remains something of a mystery.

Separately, I do really, truly think that Scene 10 is done.

And, as an ongoing method, if it takes me a week to secure unalloyed certainty about three minutes of music ... White Nights will still be completely finished this side of Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow morning, then: Intermezzo II, and some more detailed musical plotting of the 38 minutes of music remaining to be written.

19 July 2017

Love’s Laser-Like Labors (Nearly) Loosed

Last night, Gentle Reader, I worked faithfully on Scene 10 of White Nights, and made the changes which I had planned. And—without sinking into the trap of There must always be changes to consider—this morning, the (genuinely) improved Scene then showed me other imperfections...you strengthen (replace) the "worst" links in the chain, and you then learn which links are the next-weakest.

At 5:10AM, it was a mild predicament.  The artistic anvil had not cooled fully from last night's work, and I felt ready to repair (probably) as needed.  But I would certainly miss the bus which I prefer to take, to be in the office at a certain time.  But, only a mild predicament, because I have other options (beginning with the next bus, half an hour later). So, I went ahead and rolled up my figurative sleeves.

The morning's work was curiously liberating in two ways.

First, I don't really have any "deadline" for the Scene;  I created one, in an admittedly arbitrary manner, based on the ephemeral sense of how long I felt my musical mind "needed" in the discovery of the solution.  (Considering, pace Igor Fyodorovich, each new piece to be a kind of musical 'problem' to be solved–in the present case, a brief collage of four echoes of, or variations upon, musical material already exposed in the course of the ballet.)  But in truth, and especially since there is no external demand for the finished product, the only goal is The Best Whereof I Am Capable.

Second, the various Plans B for the commute in to work are all fully acceptable from the side of the office.  I realized—a very epiphany—that I enjoyed the complete freedom to take 20 minutes, wherewith to avail myself artistically of the yet-hot irons.

The result is, that the Scene is now, I am 99.7% sure, done.

And I am free to let it cure today, and overnight, so as to rest certain.  Therefore is my heart full this morning.

When finished—and now I can use the phrase when finished without fear of hearing a snicker behind my back—White Nights will be, well, monumental in character. But as I know from my long track record of smaller-scale pieces, in art, all of the details matter. So yes, I want to make absolutely certain that I own each and every note of the piece. I want to make certain that each number, great or small, is fully invested with the artistic integrity which has always been my highest aim.

Gentle Reader, I have been puttering with this two-minute piece, each day for almost a week now, and I can report that it has been a labor of laser-like love:  to make sure that each successive echo of music heard earlier in the Grand Piece should fulfill its promise, and should be never even the shadow of a throwaway. And maybe I shall work a bit more still, a few minutes each day, to ensure my own (and only my own) complete artistic certainty, so that it may only be Saturday morning that I truly pronounce the Scene done. The result will vindicate my efforts and the time.

Additionally, I've been "reclaiming" the 2006 score of Intermezzo II, whose composition really has been complete all this while...but that is another story.

18 July 2017

To do, or not to do

“Look, Hamlet! There’s the rub.”

Here are my quarrels with the state in which I left Scene 10 last night (and I already hear the solutions):

       1. The transition into A feels just a little rushed, chaotic. The insertion of one measure will be all the space needed to make it coherent. (That said, the present m.11 is a corrective insert added to Sunday’s halfway score;  that did reduce some of the crowding, but the intersection needs just a little attention more.)

        2. At C, similar objection. All that is needed here, I think, is to give the clarinet and viola some space to sound their D alone for a “beat” before the rhythmic accompaniment begins.  mm.35-40 is a “character variation”;  the original returns mid-phrase in mm.41-44 ... a seam which I think works fine.

          3. At D, it’s close. Unlike 1. and 2., I don’t think that any more time need be added;  just a brief gesture, perhaps the hint of an anticipation in the trombones.

          4. Mm.50-62 are a literal import from Scene 1. I almost think that I want that vibe to run a little longer;  so either I decide that I’m happy with the passage as it is (and make a very slight modification of the cadence), or I may try bringing in an adaptation of another, noncontiguous Scene 1 passage.

In any case, Scene 10 will reach a happy ending early this evening.

Approaching a perfect 10

With my work yester even, I’ve brought Scene 10 up to the final double-bar, and it is very close to genuinely finished;  I do need to improve two of the joints (and, be fair, the final cadence), which are not quite what they ought to be. That is work which will be done at some point today.

17 July 2017

Nights, Memories, the Pit, Awake!

The Opus 75 work of last week was mostly typographic. That work is not yet done, but I am near finishing. Friday night and Saturday, I took a complete break from White Nights. Well, as nearly complete as possible—there do wander, through various cranial corners, thoughts of what to do next. The final scene of Night the Second, a return to the narrative Present as Nastenka has concluded her Story, is brief, and (at first) flighty.  The Outline allots 135 seconds to Scene 10. I began actual work on the scene (considering, for purposes of present discussion, mere thought as something other than actual work) yesterday, and finished (or, close to finished) half—that is, I've composed (subject to refinement) two of the 
four blocks of the scene, and the present trunk of the number runs a bit more than a minute.  Between tonight and Tuesday night, we stand a good chance of finishing it up.

In the electronic folders, I find PDFs of: Intermezzo II, Intermezzo III, and Scene 12—in the case of the last, more accurately, a PDF bearing the title Scene 12...that file consists in fact of a single empty measure. Apparently, I got to a start, and no more.

When Scene 10 is finished, I shall look more closely at Intermezzo II, to discern whether it is completely done, or only substantially done.  At present, the opening section of Intermezzo III is done, and then there is a stretch for which I have composed the rhythmic background; I suppose a foreground is wanted, and I shall discover something suitable.

However, when Night the Second is done (that landmark which, for years, seemed but a pipedream) I need to see to a few other items:

We have an October concert, and there is music for the “live musicians” to add to Memories of Packanack Lake.

I have a date in April, as well, and I must see if that will suit for the long-awaited second performance of From the Pit of a Cave in the Cloud.

And, on the chance that a brass quintet may find use for it this coming Christmas, I want to finish my jazzy adaptation of the Wachet auf! Chorale Prelude.

13 July 2017

A bit about the multitudes I contain

“I am not the man I was.”
— Ebenezer Scrooge
As evident from the recently chopped out Scenes 8 & 9, Gentle Reader, the composer is applied unto the completion, by stages, of the ballet White Nights with renewed vigor and purpose.  But there is also an ease and balance in my composerly tread, as I continue this path.

For in the interval, I have (among much music else) finished both the Discreet Erasures (itself, a once-unfinished torso by the working title of Barefoot on the Crowded Road) and the First Symphony, both of them cut from the cloth of a wilder pitch-world. So, we might say, I can now let the White Nights be true to its musical inception, that there is no temptation to torque up its pitch world artificially, for the sake of that side of my musical self seeking expression in the orchestral palette. And because I have the Erasures and the Symphony to shew forth, I can be as patient as a saint with myself, and pursue the ballet on its own terms, and with sonic equanimity.

Two conductors have written to express a good impression of the Symphony, and a third has been gracious to say that he plans on looking at it closely in the near future.  Considering (a) the challenges of a Nameless composer in trying to promote such a piece, and (b) the Symphony is not yet a full six months of age, this degree of engagement with respected fellow musicians is, in fact, an occasion for gratitude.

A Triad meeting tonight.  Not sure yet whether this will be the season for O Gracious Light;  if not, the Gloria it will be.

12 July 2017

henningmusick: An aside, on Night the Second

henningmusick: An aside, on Night the Second

Three years ago today, I taped out the nested narrative of Night the Second. It was partly clarity for the Reader’s sake, partly the Composer reminding himself just where he is.

This year, the long-awaited conclusion of Night the Second is in sight; and, last night I worked on the layout of Scene 5 as part of the White Nights U.F.O. (Uniform Format Operations).  It is the last of “the Old Ten” (those numbers of the ballet which have been finished, not forever, but for the limited ever of the Op.75 timeline. And I learnt something new about Sibelius, which makes this task yet easier. In the Layout ribbon, there is an Optimise button, which I hadn't noticed before. “Optimise” here means something different than it did in Finale, where it is (was?) a matter of hiding empty staves. Here in Sibelius, it  spaces the staves vertically, as evenly as the graphic activity above and below various staves require.

Wish I’d noticed it sooner, but I've discovered it in good time for it to be of service for “the New Ten,” and certainly for future orchestral and opera scores.