Done. For real. Done.

The new piece, Sasparilla, is finally done. Completely done. (And yes, the link to Sasparilla actually takes you to the newly posted page about the piece, including a printable score sample.) Granted, there will be corrections, and scoring changes, but the piece is now basically behind me.
And I’m exhausted. I started thinking about the piece in early October, but I had a terribly hard time starting it. This was my first wind ensemble piece that wasn’t a transcription. (“Redline Tango” was an orchestra work first, and I made the wind version from that.)
AEJ and I came up with a bunch of ideas, ranging from Turkish-meets-Polka (called “Lawrence Welk of Arabia”) to a more serious piece to an all-out cowboy story to I don’t even remember what.

For those of you who have followed the blog for the past few months, you’ve seen the ideas come and go.

I finally committed to this polka-inspired cowboy thing, but found that it was difficult to write a funny piece that’s 9 minutes long. I’m a firm believer that a piece can be funny, but it still has to be constructed logically. I compared it to a spoken joke. The joke has to be good, and, just as importantly, it has to be told well. It needs both. Look at Steven Wright. That stuff’s funny, but his delivery is important, too.
Plus, if you “get the joke” in the first 30 seconds of a piece of music, and you have 8 minutes left to sit there listening to it, that’s no good. So it was a difficult piece to write — much harder than the final result would seem to indicate.

But I’m rambling. Such is a side effect of being completely mentally fried.

I like what John Corigliano said about his “funny Serious Music:”
“Some of my pieces I hope are somewhat silly and funny and not serious in that sense of the word. It doesn’t mean I don’t write them seriously, but they’re not always meant to have a threnody appeal. I don’t think of that as a goal for everything.”

As always, well put, Mr. C. I think I’ll just leave it with that.


Jess says

Hello! I am one of the clarinetists (if I'm able to call myself that, haha) from the Lamar University WE. I enjoyed reading your piece Friday, and the stories that Dr. Weiss gave us about your process of composing this piece. It's the first composition I've heard that I've ever thought of us musical stand up comedy.

jwc says

when I was seriously studying theater in high school, I read a bunch of essays on the construction of comedy (I've always taken to farce). There's nothing drier than reading about humor, but it takes serious effort to be effortlessly funny.

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.