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It took a village

Of course, you may (or may not) have noticed a significant hiatus from the notebook. It’s the inevitable result of playing catch-up after 2 weeks on the Sub-Continent. It’s tough, I know, to go without Newman Ramblings for so long. I feel for you. The trade-off is that The Internets will be treated to India photos, probably by the end of the week.

Upon our return, one of the top items on the teetering pile of Emergencies Needing Immediate Attention was sorting out the performance materials for Ohanashi, which Ken Thompson and the Bowling Green State University New Music Ensemble breathes new life into in a few weeks. This required not just locating the parts (yeah, they were eventually found in the folder marked “OK Feel Good, chamber version parts masters”) but also modernizing the tape part, an effort I believe I anticipated in an earlier entry.

I determined that the parts were, I suppose, useable, except for the glaring fact that two of them were missing. Apparently, back in 1997, both the New Juilliard Ensemble clarinetist, and first violinist (Tom! Dude, thanks a lot.) never returned their parts to the library. And I never bothered to look, in 10 years. Nice. Of course, I had an archive of the original Finale files (a program I don’t use anymore), but no application with which to open them, and thus no way to print the missing parts. The computer meltdown last month didn’t help matters either, so I needed assistance. A couple of e-mails later, a retro-parts Machine was put in motion, and Finale-using composer-friends from around the country were put to work … JM was able to open the files and even find some missing fonts (“Sonata” font, man, it rocked in those days), and SB was able to provide the rest of the fonts needed by plucking them from his old Quadra archive. Apparently, in my zeal, I used some funky music fonts in order to combat The Ugly that is 1996 Petrucci. It took the efforts of two very busy people to piece these files back together for me. Finally, when all the bits of last century had been procured, I had my missing parts to print out.

Then it was a matter of the tape part. I had (after a sweaty visit to the 29th St. storage space), rescued the original cassettes (cassettes!) with the four cues on them. A Sony ProWalkman here, a mini-jack cable there, and some digital audio software later, I had them dumped into a computer. I did my darndest to clean up the hiss (not good at this, but with the right software, a layperson can get pretty close), and then it was up to JB and his wizardly mastering skills. After taking a listen to what I was dealing with, Jim worked his magic on the cues, and in about 20 minutes, turned what would have been boomy, muddy cues into clear, sharp audio that will cut through the ensemble like butter. I have no idea what he did. It’s like voodoo.

Without the Boys, I’d still be staring at these un-openable Finale parts, while holding a useless cassette tape in my hands. A huge web-thank-you to Mackey, Bryant, and Bonney. Now it’s Ken‘s turn, and then Ohanashi: The Return will open in a theater near you. (Well, maybe if you live near Toledo.)

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