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More for Nippon

After sending Vivid Geography out the door to the Japanese commissioners and the University of Houston (who will perform the U.S. Premiere this Fall) a couple of weeks ago, I restarted the task of piecing together all that had fallen to the floor in the three months I had my Finishing the Hat blinders on. Correspondence, phone calls, rentals, etc… as I’ve mentioned before, I can apparently do only two things at the same time, and at all times one of them has to be “Be With Family”. So “Writing” was quickly replaced with “Business”, and we’re off to the races again, with notebook entries and return phone calls.

And travel. Tomorrow I leave for Seattle for the CBDNA National Conference, where Rod Schueller‘s Texas State Wind Ensemble will play the bejeezus out of Symphony No. 1, My Hands Are a City, and where I can also enjoy many new pieces by colleagues and close friends. The Texas State ensemble burned the place down when they played the first movement at TMEA last month, so needless to say, I am looking forward to this. In anticipation, I sent out a nifty new issue of Ye Ol’ Newsletter.

There was a time not long ago when I thought I would be flying directly from Seattle to Tokyo, for the premiere of Vivid Geography at the 2011 Japan Wind Ensemble Conductors Conference in Kawasaki City. Even before the terrible earthquake these plans fell through due to scheduling, but unsurprisingly, the entire festival was recently canceled. I have a special place in my heart for Japan, having traveled there to be the composer-in-residence at the 2008 Conference in Kurashiki, and having spent many fun times with the wonderful musicians and characters from Tokyo Kosei, so the news from that country these past couple of weeks has simply made me feel ill with helplessness and worry. Those fantastic people though, they do soldier on…the e-mails that have been coming in have contained lots of business-as-usual, and the next commissioner to tackle this huge new piece, the Nagoya Academic Winds, will go on as scheduled next month.

And the piece is huge. Weighing in at 15′, a full twice as much as originally planned, the thing morphed very quickly into a major, massive project. I learned long ago that a piece turns out waaay better if you simply let it “go” where it “wants” to go (whatever that means, but I suspect you understand), and not force the work into the box you had hoped it would initially fit. And so it’s now a major big piece, for 20 players and SSA chorus, incorporating an eclectic ensemble of instruments designed as a kind of cross between a sinfonietta, a new music group, and a wind ensemble; including woodwinds, saxophones, brass, mallets, and strings. I’m pleased to think that it achieves the specific sound I was after: a sort of Downtown Romanticism.

I suspect I’ll be pocketing the above Ism for future use. I should grab the URL while I can.

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