"A Composer's Journal" Entries January 12 & 13, 2005 by Laurie Conrad. Ms. Conrad is a composer & pianist living in Ithaca, NY. Her honors include Who's Who in American Music, The International Who's Who in Music and Who's Who in America.
Wednesday, January 12
5:30 p.m. Feel worse today. Flu/bronchitis/fever. Worked a bit more on St. Michael - very little. M. said pancakes for dinner & a quiet evening at home.
Thursday, January 13
Feeling worse today. Will draw up new ms paper scored for voices & string octet. I will use this as the prototype & ask M. to Xerox up 60-70 pages of it at the office. (Treble, Soprano, Mezzo, Alto, Tenor, Bass & Contrabass violins.) I will need to do the same for the orchestral version, after I have decided what instruments I wish to score for.
There, it is done. I cut & pasted clefs onto a legal sized sheet of ms paper - there are four staves for the choir parts & eight for the instruments, their names carefully written in the left margin. ‘Prayer for St. Michael for choir & strings’ will be at the bottom of each page. My grateful prayers for whoever invented Xerox machines.
E-mailed Bob (Spear) & asked if he had finished making the treble violin yet. I’ve never seen or heard one. The last time I visited Bob, he was working on the two lowest violins - the bass & 7' contrabass. His new contrabass was lying on his worktable - bare & blanched as it is, you can already see it will be a contrabass violin. The shape is there. And in some places he had already begun detailed scrollwork, the rough strokes of his wood carving tools still visible. While I was there, I took two small rolls of wood shavings from his workshop, as a souvenir. They are here by Diana’s letter, rolled up like small, thin papyrus scrolls, about two inches wide and perhaps two feet long. Astounding to think that Bob begins with blocks of wood & then carves them into an instrument that a musician will one day play - stroke by careful stroke, one little papyrus scroll at a time. He laughed when I put the shavings in my pocket, he has huge bins full of them, probably destined for the wood stove. I thought I might write a message on them, or a song, a few measures of music.
For now, no more work on St. Michael until I have the sheets of blank manuscript paper Xeroxed up. Tonight, a thick, wet snow, almost falling in sheets against the lamplight.