I’m in Phoenix for the week, having barely avoided the unusual Nor’easter that slammed into the eastern part of the country. It was gray and cloudy when I left Hartford on Saturday morning, but by the time I boarded my second flight out of Baltimore it was beginning to spit a mix of snow, rain and what the captain of the flight called “ice pellets.” Classes at Hartt have been canceled tomorrow, so I’m technically missing only four days of classes instead of five, which makes me feel a little less guilty about spending several days in this gorgeous weather (Phoenix has forecasts in the mid to upper-80s for the rest of the week)!
It’s not all fun and games, however. A good chunk of today was spent at Blue Door Studios recording the Modular Suite with Rose French and pianist Emily Helvey. Noah Guttell runs BDS out of his own home and we were able to get a lot of music recorded in a relatively short amount of time thanks in part to his making us feel so comfortable and at ease. Emily and I have tons of mutual friends, but we’d never actually worked together, so it was great to get to know her and her great music-making.
I wrote the Modular Suite in 2009 and Rose gave the premiere of two of the five movements in Phoenix in May of 2010. Although she’s gone on to give several performances of the piece since then, three movements were still essentially new to me since I hadn’t heard any recordings of those performances! I was a bit nervous to revisit (let alone record) a work that was nearly two years old and of which large portions were essentially brand new to me: would there be passages I’d want to change? Would my decisions still seem valid? Luckily everything seemed to be just the way I’d originally intended and the performer’s musicianship made the piece seem that much more successful!
My original reason for being in Phoenix is the premiere of the Sonatina for Violin and Piano, which happens Thursday evening. I’m hearing the piece for the first time tomorrow evening!