December 1, 2004
Lots to talk about tonight…
First off, the ASU wind symphony is simply smokin’. I attended rehearsal yesterday afternoon — with high expectations — and they were awesome. The Eb Clarinet player, in particular, is — and I don’t say this lightly — playing the part as well as I can imagine it being played. For those who don’t know Redline Tango, the middle portion features a lot of klezmer-flavored Eb clarinet writing, and it’s often something that the players aren’t used to. This guy, though. Man. I told him at rehearsal that he’s playing it better than I’ve heard it with professional orchestras. It’s true.
We made a few more small changes to the piece yesterday, basically just because this group could handle anything I threw at them, and it was an opportunity to try some new things. (Just try doing that in a professional orchestra rehearsal! Ha. Don’t. Seriously, don’t.) I threw in a few new pedal notes in the bass trombone part, and that prompted the player — this hugely towering, but seemingly extremely nice guy named Matt — to ask if he could take some other stuff down an octave into pedal range. I told him that I’d love it, but didn’t know it was realistic, as these were very quiet, low F’s. He assured me that he could do it, and man, he sure could. So, those changes are going into the piece. Maybe as just suggested changes, though — just to be safe! Not everybody could do what this guy can do.
I also asked the first trombone players to take some of their part up an octave, which they did, again with no problem. I asked the bassoon and oboe players to play one part a little more quietly, and they ended up playing so quietly that I couldn’t quite hear them, and I was about 10 feet away. And the French horns are so good — especially one in particular, named Amanda, I believe — that I wish I’d written more extensive parts for them.
ASU has a hell of a music school.
Further evidence of that came from my lesson with a young composer named Tom Peterson. Tom is a Freshman, double-majoring in composition and music ed. I’d offered to meet with any student composers who were interested, and Tom was the first to accept my offer. Even before I heard his music, I knew this guy was a good egg, simply because, as a Freshman, he was willing to show his music to me, some unknown visiting composer, on the off-chance that I’d have something insightful to offer.
I don’t know that I did him any good, but I sure liked hearing his music and talking with him today. He’s adept at a number of styles — ragtime, Spanish, tonal, chromatic, whatever — and that’ll do him a lot of good if he decides to pursue writing for film, which seems to be his goal right now. I hope he gets a lot of opportunities to hear his music played well, as even the MIDI realizations of his music were appealing and smartly constructed.
Tonight, after an unfortunate postponement yesterday, I finally got to have In-N-Out Burger for dinner. Wow. Fatburger was good. Very, very good. But In-N-Out is, as my friend RN told me, “something special.” Amen, brother. Funny thing about In-N-Out: they have “easter eggs.” What I mean is, like on DVDs with hidden features, you can order your burger in a way that’s not listed on the menu, kind of like an insider thing. The guys I was with ordered theirs some special way — I forget what the “code” was — but it meant “with grilled onions.” Grilled onions are nowhere on the menu, I should mention. Well, I did the same. Cheeseburger with grilled onions, a side of the best fast food fries I’ve ever had, and chocolate shake. Just fantastic.
Why hasn’t somebody licensed an In-N-Out franchise for the northeast?! Wendy’s is tasty, but it’s nothing like In-N-Out.
I was interviewed for a story in this month’s NewMusicBox, the web mag for American Music Center. Great magazine, and this month their subject is new music for wind ensemble. Their cover story is an interview with my buddies over at BCM. Check out the whole issue for a good “reed.” (ha, ha, ha.)