Monday, May 07, 2012

Under Construction (2)

Some composers work on one piece at a time but I tend rather to have several pieces in progress at the same time, each in different stages of completion (or, as the case may well be, abandonment).  Some scores seem to write themselves, quickly without interruption, while others require a lot of pondering or re-working.  I have a few projects that have sat on a far corner of my desk and/or in the back of my mind for a long, long, time. Some could be finished in a snap, but are presently "waiting to be commissioned,"  others are troubled, perhaps hopelessly so, and still others are private projects, not ever intended for public use, but made rather just to satisfy some musical curiosity of my own, an indulgence I'm fortunate to grant myself.

Some of these sketches for pieces, my lumber, are notated conventionally, others have prose scores (or "reports" as Henry Brant called them, prose instructions from the composer to the composer to reduce anxiety in going from idea to playable score.)   The less developed are just ideas, sometimes little more than a title: Meander Scar. In Praise of Wasps & Bees. Anagoge.

Here's one example from an old notebook of a work waiting for a commission:
(The title is) Two Lines.  It's a long-ish piece for a medium-sized orchestra, divided in two not-quite equal parts in a fairly eccentric way, but seating ordinarily, the ensembles are not physically divided, but dovetailed.  And each of the two orchestras plays a long, independent melody, each an "orchestrated unison" (with some tactical intervallic, chordal, and aggregate (including unpitched percussion) doublings).  The two orchestras share a common pulse and a notationally convenient metre, but are generally independent with some distinct qualities (i.e. one has a lot of repeated tones and florid ornaments, the other has only very short and very long tones ornamented only by slow portamenti), coming together — which can mean at a unison or a consonance or some complementarity — only at major structural points (like Javanese seleh) triggered by rhythmic and tonal approchements


Lisa Hirsch said...

I totally want to hear that piece. Curious what it costs to commission from you.

Daniel Wolf said...

Lisa, I work for a fraction of Golijov and can guarantee that (a) I'll deliver you a finished piece on time, and (b) it's be at least 80% mine.

Okay, make that 60%.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ahahaha! Can I contribute the other 20% or 40%?

I'll steal it from Golijov! or make it up.