I’m writing this post at about 35,000 feet, as I jet home to the SF Bay Area for the holidays. I haven’t seen my family in about a year, so the time with them will be precious, and will seem entirely too short. Still, the holiday season is also exciting for me since it means I’ll soon be able to morph into a composer again.
The last two months have been a whirlwind of academic activity. Since returning from Phoenix at the beginning of November, I’ve been swamped with tasks: from teaching duties, to helping produce the Freshman composition studio recital, to my own oral comprehensive exams (I passed!), to the numerous papers, projects and other tedious chores that seem to pile up at the end of each semester. All that has meant putting some projects on the back burner, but the end of the term brings on the giddy feeling that foreshadows the release of pent-up creative energies.
Still, I haven’t been completely neglecting the Glass House Concerto. The third movement is well underway in short score and I’m hoping to begin orchestrating it while I’m in California. It consists mainly of a simple, repeated melody in long durations over which occur increasingly complex variations in the solo part. A completely new melody marks the high point of the piece, after which the soloist revisits some of previous variations. What I love about this movement is its simplicity: the concept that a nice little melody can bear being repeated a number of times if things such as orchestration, countermelodies, and so on are altered around it.
Over the remainder of the break I’ll be getting a head start on the last two remaining movements: a stirring finale and a prelude that acts as a structural “upbeat” to the movements that follow (two versions of which I’ve already scrapped!). I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it feels good to be back in a place where I can work virtually unencumbered!