Things may have been quiet on the blog, but I’ve been doing tons of music work lately. The recent round of Zo went well: I took a bit of a risk playing mostly pieces that were fresh out of the practice oven (or, in a couple of cases, still baking), but people seemed to enjoy it, and I was certainly satisfied.
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Concerts done, I’m now composing day and night, quite productively. I now have a complete first draft of my set of dances! The last big obstacle was a sort of “keystone moment” in the piece, where everything has to come together just so — but with some dogged persistence and late nights, I pushed through and filled in the final hole in the cycle. It’s very exciting; I’ve been working on them since forever.
Even though I have a complete draft, however, a huge amount of work remains: there’s a lot of refining and revising, practicing, and polishing the interpretation necessary in order to get a really good recording together. It will be a good long while before you can hear the full cycle.
In the meantime, I’m recording rough versions of the pieces as I learn to play them. I always hesitate a bit to do that, because the rough versions are, in fact, rough, and don’t completely convey the ideas of the music. There’s always a danger that the ideas will be so muddled that the music will just sound like a jumble of notes. Performance really matters!
However, I don’t like the alternative of not sharing anything until it’s perfect; I’d rather keep people at least somewhat in the loop on what I’ve been doing — partly because folks seem to enjoy it, and partly because I’m eager to share! Enough of the music comes through in these rough versions, I think, to let you in on the fun of watching the whole cycle emerge.
In that spirit, then, here’s one I finished writing a couple of months ago and am now playing somewhat successfully. It was a hit with the audience at Zo. As per the warning above: the performance is not yet completely assured: you’ll hear me struggling for notes in some spots. Use your imagination a bit, and pretend it’s rock-solid steady. Or just pretend it rocks.
The sound at the beginning is a whack from the music desk being pushed back. After that, throughout the piece, you’ll hear fingertips damping the strings — sometimes after the hammer strikes and sometimes as it strikes. I love that sound, and this isn’t the first time I’ve used it.