Double Bar

The Concerto for Soprano Sax and Wind Ensemble is really, truly done. I finished the fifth movement (written out of order; this is actually movement one) tonight.

I love the “Count Items” feature in Finale. As I wrote way back when I finished Turbine, that very fast piece has 32,889 notes over the course of 8.5 minutes and 303 measures. The Prelude movement of the sax concerto — the movement I finished today — has 11,038 notes in 73 bars, lasting only about 110 seconds. It is short, fast, loud, and shiny. (Sounds like me after a few sugary cocktails and too much butter.)

The score is ugly right now, so I’ll spend tomorrow cleaning it up, fixing the dynamics (they’re entered for MIDI, not real people), adding articulations, and making it look “correct,” matching the formatting of the other movements. I also need to make the wind parts actually playable. (There will be lots of dovetailing in the winds, leaving room for them to, you know, breathe.) If you’re curious to see the completely raw PDF, here it is.

The piece is about 22 minutes long with a 111 page score. As best I can tell, I started it on May 3, so it took exactly four months. It was “due” on September 1, and I can’t believe I’m this punctual. “Turbine” was 6 weeks late, and “Turning” was probably three months late. Granted, I still have to generate the parts for the concerto, and with a 22 minute, 5-movement piece for large wind ensemble, that will easily take a month. Ugh. At least parts are somewhat relaxing; I can just put on Podcasts of “Wait, Wait – Don’t Tell Me” and “Car Talk” (those are both iTunes links to the free Podcasts), relax, and click away.

And just in time! I wanted to have the piece completely finished before I started my first day of school — and that day, my first day on the faculty anywhere, is this Wednesday. That’s when I start teaching composition at Cal State Long Beach. It somehow takes me back to my own days in college… And this completely bizarre picture of me with my undergrad composition teacher (Donald Erb), and my grad school teacher (John Corigliano) — all at the American Music Center‘s annual meeting back in 2003. It’s a most-unflattering picture, which is why I love it. I’m blurry and sunburned, Dr. Erb looks rather confused by the whole thing, and Corigliano appears to be denying that he ever taught me. Good times, good times.


Kevin Howlett says

"Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" is my heroin. "Car Talk" is Dad's.

Fosco! says

Congratulations, Professor M! You'll love being back in a collegiate environment.

One of my old friends is just starting the tenure-track at CSU-LB in English this fall. He's allowed to teach in a speedo. Have you considered it?

Joey Love says

Congratulations! I hope you're enjoying teaching as much as I am! The Concerto looks awesome; I look forward to hearing it!

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