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Chi-town and hard drives

Midwest Week in Chicago has come and gone, and Fun with Winds was had by all. This year we were again boosted both practically and spiritually by the addition of Montoya and the Divine Sarah Stern, which helps pretty much everything immeasurably. SB had a fantastic premiere of a brass ensemble and drumset version of Loose Id – holy wow was it good – and JM tore up the town with 4 performances of his Great Stuff. Maestro JC was in town too, for an indescribably wonderful performance/clinic by Jerry Junkin and the Dallas Wind Symphony of John’s Circus Maximus, a piece for which words are simply inappropriate. It was great to spend time with John, and to hear this masterwork for the second time, and to generally enjoy a boost in my faith in the triumph of the human artistry over, well, everything else.

In addition to Midwest, only one other thing has interrupted my happy work on the Concertino (now titled, unsurprisingly, Concertino). And that would be the spectacular computer failure I enjoyed very shortly before leaving for Chicago.

In mid-disc-burn, the blasted thing whirred a screeching and pitiful whine and froze up like a popsicle. It would only have been more dramatic if blue smoke had appeared. Freaked out and panicking, I shut it down. WHIIIIIIRRRiiiiiirrrrrrr…. . It never booted up again. Ever.

Said computer now = doorstop, with a uselessly fused hard drive and a verkakte optical drive. At this point it’s only marginally more expensive to simply buy a new one. Oh yes, I have backups, of all (irreplaceable) data on the drive, actually from only a few days before the disaster. And I was happy to see that I had backups for the Concertino Sibelius files (the first and second movements have been copied in) from 24 hours before. A true disaster diverted.

And so I spent my days before Chicago rigging up Better Half’s laptop for some dual-use duty, and painstakingly struggling to re-construct the work lost. That would be a fair number of parts for the first movement, and significant revisions on the second. Try to imagine how frustrating that is. and then add a few degrees. Limping along, I eventually made it back to where I was before the computer self-destructed, and finished revisions on the 2nd movement. One more to go.

The Concertino itself might possibly the most difficult writing I’ve done in quite some time. Every note is sweated over, every phrase re-considered. I don’t know why, but it’s just how the process seems to have played out on this one. But the results are good, I’m very pleased. I’ve fulfilled musical goals, and then some, I believe. The idea was to inject a Français flavor into the piece, but even more than that, each movement is turning out to be an homage of sorts to specific Franco-type-styles, which has worked out even better.

The piece may be saddled with a boring title, but each movement sports it’s own evocative French title:

I. Vive
II. Chant du soir
III. Voix argentine

Sadly, due to the computer meltdown, the 3rd movement will have to wait, as I’m off to points halfway around the world, for a couple of weeks of travel in India. It’s taken some time come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to finish the work before I left, but since the first two have worked out so well, I’m glad I didn’t rush it after all, and the extra time will ultimately be musically worth it.

A Happy New Year to all!

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