Practice, practice

Have been learning the clarinet part to Pierrot lunaire over the past year, as some of the UMaine faculty have been performing bits of this piece over the last few months,  and getting ready to do the whole thing this season during the work’s 100th year of existence. It is, of course, really concentrated, everything going by in an instant, so I don’t know that anyone ever gets “comfortable” with the lines or ensemble rhythms. So, practicing these movements seems different from practicing the other works for this season, even newish ones like Judith Weir’s Sketches from a Bagpiper’s Album (which is challenging from other, more long-term, points of view, including high register control). But basically, I have a lot of notes to get down.

Plus, I’ll be playing a concert at The Firehouse Space in Brooklyn on Oct. 20th, with friends Geoff Burleson and Maria Tegzes. So I’m also practicing my own music, some of which I didn’t really imagine myself playing when I wrote it. Which is nicely different from how things usually go, though it does mean yet more notes to learn. Here are some of the pieces for the Firehouse concert:

Sharp Nostalgia, for bass clarinet and piano

The Primary Tool is Soup, for soprano, piano and DVD

The Star Theatre, for clarinet, piano and DVD (there’s a demo performance of this one here)

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Starting a new project

So, my colleague Jennifer Moxley and I are starting a new chamber opera, based the novel Bid Me to Live by the American poet H.D.

This means that I get to write music that will be sung by the characters of H.D. and D.H. Lawrence, which is not something I thought I would every say in my lifetime. Yes, the main characters are called D.H. and H.D.

So far, at the beginning of this long-term project, and just trying out short solo arias with some of the characters, setting the tone for each person.