23 November 2017

Walkies of thanks

The (or, A) thanksgiving place.

I’ve heard quite a bit of my music here, heard it before I committed it to paper (or to its electronic equivalent). Much of this music has yet been heard by no one apart from myself.

For all the good, I thank this sweet place.

For Thanksgiving, I betook me to a path along which I neer walked before.

It turned out (in only one, and not the most important, sense) to be a dead end.

More of The Nerves

For the joint HTUMC/2nd Congregational Church choir concerts—coming up in little more than three weeks—the last piece of the puzzle for which I was on the hook (and only by mine own consent, mind) was, a pair of instrumental interludes (flute, violin & organ) for the John Joubert Torches, from the Oxford Book of Carols.  This work, I got done with fair efficiency yesterday.

There is a request for Just a Closer Walk With Thee in an upbeat tempo.  Whether I may see to this today, or let it “cure” through today and do the work tomorrow, remains to be seen.

Yesterday’s work on The Nerves was largely (that is, not quite entirely) a matter of formalizing in the score some ideas I had in mind on Tuesday;  and I have made some more additions today.  All this work (we might say), and yet we have not quite 30 seconds of music to show for it.  But the work is accretive, and I am tightening what I had written before even as I gradually extend the canvas.

I am thinking half an hour-ish for the entire work (in four movements, as noted here).  So I am planning on The Nerves bristling for some 7 minutes.

20 November 2017

The Nerves, and The Nerve

Gentle Reader, in this very blog yesterday you may have read of the conceptual genesis of Karl’s Big (But Happily Incomplete) Map to the Body.  Mention was made that In the beginning was a musical Idea;  and I can report that part of my musical activity today was to start recording and building upon that Idea.  That is, I have begun composition of The Nerves in earnest,

Another task was, I sent an mp3 of MIDI realization of the flute/violin accompaniment to my 2015 arrangement of the Basque Carol to the instrumentalists involved.

Also, I broke out the individual tracks from my Tascam-recorded audio of the cracking Triad concert of last night.  (Soon, really.)

And sent Mr Gregory Brown, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at our Saturday program at Harvard-Epworth Chapel, the sound file of last night’s performance of his men’s choir arrangement of The Dying Californian.

And, mostly for fun (I have my doubts that it will be taken up) I am half done with a setting of Hodie Christus natus est, for choir SATB, three percussionists and piano, which is an adaptation of a passage from Intermezzo II from White Nights.

You know:  just because.

19 November 2017

Well, not yet

Last night's Triad concert was excellent, and I shall write more about that, only not just yet.
One of the uses to which I put this blog, Gentle Reader, is as a kind of remembrancer. I've formed an idea today, and I want to make note of it now, while it's fresh in mind—because holiday season is upon us, and this composer is liable to distraction.

So...I had a musical idea today for the first movement of a symphony for band. First, there was simply this abstract musical germ. Then, because (a) I do not at all mind extramusical suggestion, and (b) in the band world, it may help, I christened this movement The Nerves.
Not to make a tedious diagram of the process, I'll jump to the end.

The piece to be grandiosely titled Karl's Big (But Happily Incomplete) Map to the Body (Symphony N° 3 for band). In four movements:

1. The Nerves
2. The Heart
3. The Eyes
4. The Arms

Durations? Still mulling.

17 November 2017

henningmusick: Scheming the Avocado [17.xi.2014]

henningmusick: Scheming the Avocado:

AREA 3 of Illustration #2 I drew up on the flight from Atlanta back to Boston.  Well, AREA 2, as well, only I had gotten AREA 2 right, where I found that I had gotten realization of the viola part (i.e., the game of applying the rhythmic value series to the pitch series) wrong.  And though I discovered that I had gone wrong, and made an attempt to fix it ... I found it something of a visual mess.  So I inscribed it RE-DO (as you may see), and realized that I could simplify the matter with a sheet of graph paper.  (This graph paper was in my three-ring binder from the time that I was working out the rhythmic profile of the Thelonious Monk tune "Evidence.")
The result is the apparently not musical, but refreshingly clear and reliable, Illustration #3....
Three years since, then, I had lately returned from Atlanta, and even laid in some Avocado work on the flight home to Boston.

Last night, we had a most enjoyable choir rehearsal at Holy Trinity Church.  It is that time of year when we face the (most welcome) Thanksgiving hiatus, and must take thought for afterwards, as the Christmas concert loometh.  Still a number of decisions, covering details which may not be musical, may not be great, but which want to be attended to.

I also rehearsed my Prelude on « Kremser » with (while the ongoing appointment is not yet quite official, it is already apt to call her) our new organist.  Just the fact that I can play some of my music with the organist, is already a refreshing (and not at all unreasonably asked for) change.

The voice, you ask?  Well, better and better.  I doubt I can sing the entire Triad concerts this weekend, but perhaps I can do a reasonable job playing the Dying Californian. (There is a double meaning in that.)

16 November 2017

Cracking wise

The first thing that needs saying is, Beethoven never did me any injury. I cannot remember a time when I did not find his music inspiring.

It is many years, too, since I first heard Wendy Carlos's electronic realizations of and elaborations upon "the glorious Ninth" of "Ludwig van." It would be foolish of me to pretend that some molecules in the present formula do not owe something to that wicked clever example.

Most immediately, I suppose, is the remix I created of a handbell choir rehearsal take of Charles Turner's arrangement of The Hebrew Children. The idea-question formed, What if I applied this method to an object of The Literature?

As with the Turner, I gravitated intuitively to an example which I like. In hindsight, affection for the source material is probably a prerequisite for the musical success of the result.

Without further ado, my repurposing of a stone-cold classic:

15 November 2017

The music of resisting forgetfulness

Through the miracle of finding, in a drawer, my card, which I wasn't looking for, today I learn that I have been a member of ASCAP since 2001.  The lesson is: you can learn things about yourself, all the time, each day (perhaps) if you only allow yourself the freedom of non-remembrance.

This Sunday just past, at the choir rehearsal prior to the service, the Pastor enthusiastically shared with me a suggestion for improving the flow of the service (a general suggestion, not something requiring action that morning) by having the choir sing a short response before the Invitation to the Offertory.  From time to time I have considered, not for any specific purpose but only as a general matter) adding such a choral response—by which I do not mean at all to rob the Pastor of his thunder, I only mean that I was predisposed to receive such a suggestion favorably.  Another fine idea on his part was, that it not necessarily be a single fixed number.

Remembering the regular use which the late Bill Goodwin made of the Dresden Amen at First Congo in Woburn, I looked for that in a hymnal, found also the classic Danish Amen . . . and my inner ear generated a monophonic three-fold Amen in Eb.  I took some mental time to compose it out.

I did not have pencil and paper to hand (not that it would have required great effort to scare them up) so I made the decision not to worry about recording it then, but trusted either that I would remember (notwithstanding rather a distracted busy day-to-day experience, Gentle Reader) or that it is not worth remembering.  That last is admittedly too harsh a notion:  music relies on the favorable inclination of the recipient.  And there are many pieces which we hated the first time we heard it, but which afterward become especial favorites.

In any event, yesterday evening I did recall both the Project, and this not-as-yet-notated Amen of my own.  Now, I am not saying that it is anything especially memorable;  only that with very slight mental effort, I ceased to have forgotten it.

On Sunday, our doughty handbell choir rang my modest arrangement of the hymntune Tuolumne.