Secret is out

A few weeks ago, I posted the solo part for the in-progress Trombone Concerto, and somebody named Dan commented on the blog what I’m sure others will eventually figure out: that the source material for the concerto is a tiny chamber piece of mine called “Damn.” That original piece, for solo clarinet with percussion quartet, has been changed and expanded, morphing from the first half of a 3-minute-30-second piece for 5 players to what is now 9 minutes of music for 45 players. I thought that germ — with its ritualistic sound, complete with loads of percussion — was a good match for the sound I was after with this Dionysus storyline concept. In order to get the level of aggression that I’m after in the piece, it’s always been necessary to amplify the clarinet in performances of “Damn,” but I doubt we’ll need to amplify the trombone.  (On a side note, I once heard a piece for three amplified trombones with electronic effects, and it was one of the coolest and loudest things I’ve ever heard.)

I have a little over 14 minutes of music completely done, and I’ve just posted the (printable) new solo part as well as the (not printable) full score. Word back from Joe Alessi was positive, but I think he’s eager for the last of it. So am I. I’m in a weird place right now where I listen to the beginning of the final movement over and over, and I get really excited and can’t sit still, and then the damn thing stops because I don’t know exactly what comes next. It’s like somebody turned off the CD right before the best part, but I don’t know how that “best part” goes. I think I know how I want to end the whole thing, so maybe I should jump ahead to that so I’m at least writing something.

In unrelated news, I also just posted the audio from Oklahoma State University’s performance of “Asphalt Cocktail.” It was a truly awesome performance — fast, loud, but extraordinarily clean. Somehow, every line was audible. It’s worth checking out, if your ears can handle it.

In even less-related news,  I was pretty happy last week when I found a praying mantis outside our front door.  I’m not a big fan of bugs (although I was when I was little; I used to have grasshoppers as pets, which are “fun” for about a day, and then they don’t do much), but I do like praying mantises. I think they’re really cool looking, and they wash their faces like cats, and they eat other bugs.  Also, green bugs are somehow less nasty than brown bugs.

And what’s a blog without pictures of the cat?  Here’s Loki, snuggling with a stuffed ghost that I bought at Target for $1.

And here they are, singing Halloween carols.

Have I mentioned how much Loki hates the Trombone Concerto?  Whenever I play it, he bites me.  I hope that’s not a sign of the reaction I should expect from people.

Alright — back to work!


Roger says

Great performance! When do we get a live audio of Aurora Awakes?

Cole says

Looks great. Some of the scoring looks slightly reminiscent of Asphalt Cocktail and Redline Tango, especially the "bells up" trills in the clarinet parts and the huge trill followed by a run in the Eb Clarinet.

John says

Cole - I've been doing that high trill clarinet thing for a few years with increasing regularity. (Eventually I'll just write pieces with nothing but trills.) In this piece, the trills represent a sort of crazed speaking in tongues by Dionysus's followers.

Cathy says

Oh.My.Gosh! That picture of Loki and his new friend "singing" Halloween carols is the best thing I've seen all week (since it's only Tuesday, I'll go back to last Tuesday for the full week effect). It's unfortunate that the cutest thing Pfema seems to do anymore is sleep with funny looks on his face, or the remote in his paws, or on his back with his belly showing.

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