Cycle for orchestra and choir: I speak to an angel when I finish the last movement of Trois Prieres. A Composer's Journal by Laurie Conrad.
Finishing Trois Prieres: A Composer’s Journal Entries: February 2- 4, 2007
Friday, February 2
M. left for Uganda & South Africa early yesterday morning, & will be gone until the twentieth of February. A swim across a lake, a trek to see gorillas in the wild; periods with family & friends. And danger on the roads.
Bought a new snow shovel yesterday, after my doctor appointment in town; threw down some salt & shoveled. Today the walkways are cleared, down to the sidewalk. Success.
The sketch is done, but some sections still need to be filled in. Wrote some string & voice parts today, here & there. The frame is built, & now we need the tables & chairs, curtains in the windows; guests & family. Humanity.
Most of the work is done. But if I allow myself, now I can agonize over each additional note. Here is where trust in myself & in the music itself - is essential.
Saturday, February 3
Wrote more voice and string lines today; I am still filling out the rough sketch. JF took me into town, to Xerox up blank manuscript paper so I can begin copying out the main score.
M. called from Uganda, a brief conversation. All is well.
Dinner with Lenny & JF; Lenny cooked pasta. A light snow as we drove home; below zero tonight, with wind chill. A perfect night to begin copying out the main score of Movement III. The moon so bright, against the dark sky.
Sunday, February 4
Copied out some pages of the main score. Decided this initial version would be for Spear’s string group and choir; later I will orchestrate it for orchestra and choir.
Below zero outside tonight; minus 30 with wind chill. Lauren came over for some hours. No word from M.; no phone on the gorilla trek in Uganda.
Many letters to answer, from all over the world; they are all waiting for me in a very large white envelope labeled: "New Letters to answer".
Tuesday, February 6
An e-mail from Diana: the work on the books is going quickly & well; the text to both books is almost formatted.
Today minus 5 degrees with wind chill; sunny, with a white winter sky. Six pages of the main score of Movement III are copied out. I am filling in lines to the next few pages of the sketch, & changing a few notes here & there. The sketch is remarkably accurate, as often happens. However, my task is complicated by the fact that there will be two versions of the score, one for Spear’s string group and one for orchestra. I have decided to write this version for more lines than Spear’s octet, & I can subtract lines or double up lines for his group. In any case, this score will have to be rewritten twice, & the same for the other two Movements.
Wednesday, February 7
Sunny, blue sky; warmer, 15 degrees. Went outside & broke up some ice on the sidewalk.
Copied more pages of score.
Friday, February 9
Dinner with Kathy. Copied more pages of score. Almost half done. M. called: the gorillas went well, next the lake swim. Today almost in the twenties.
Sunday, February 11
Wrote more pages of the main score yesterday, added some voice lines today. Only a few more pages left to copy out. M. called at 3:30 a.m. this morning: the swim went well. Was over a hundred degrees the day before; rainy and in the fifties the day of the swim. A mile across Midmar Dam in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa in choppy, windswept water; M. received a medal on a red ribbon for finishing in under an hour. I can think of few things I would rather not do. M. said between the hordes of swimmers & the choppy water, it was like swimming in a washing machine.
Taking my time with the next few pages of the sketch; a few decisions to make. In all, have made very few changes; deleted one measure, added a few voice & string lines. But basically - I have just followed the sketch.
A bit north of us they had ten feet of snow, a hundred and twenty three inches.
Monday, February 12
NAET appointment; errands & then dinner with JF & Lenny in Collegetown. The restaurant fairly deserted tonight; cold outside, six degrees. Afterwards, tiny flakes of snow; more like fairy glitter in the lamplight & on the cobblestone sidewalks. Jf dropped me off home with some homemade soup.
Still thinking about those next few pages of score. Scribbled down a few ideas & hopefully will copy out the last pages tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 13
Snow on the way again today, this afternoon. Minus twelve degrees this morning. A good day to finish copying out the main score.
The main score to Trois Prieres is done, the version for strings and choir. Tomorrow I must put in metronome markings, dynamics; finish the harp part, perhaps add flute. I might just let it rest & begin revising Images instead. Images is scored for flute, harp & viola, & Myra called - she’s in town for a few weeks. Perhaps we could look at the scores together. After I am done finishing all the scores I must find players for the Songs, & start giving concerts again & recording - if my health holds up. But first I must finish these projects & orchestrate Trois Prieres - & hopefully also Chansons. I cannot divide myself.
Interestingly, the third movement was twenty eight pages of score when copied out, & Movement II was twenty nine pages of score. Interesting because as I was composing Movement III, at one point I had the thought that the last two movements should be about the same length of score. I can’t find Movement I, it is probably in a stack of manuscripts somewhere in the living room, but the entire score of Trois Prieres should be almost a hundred pages.
After I finished the score of Trois Prieres, I was visited by an angel. As always, I told the angel that I wished to inspire others & bring them closer to God. In addition, the angel I have been clairvoyantly seeing in my mind this past week or so suddenly disappeared. Perhaps that quiet, bright angel I have been seeing in my mind was given to me to help write the score of Movement III. What a mystery our lives are ....
Two feet or so of snow is predicted; I am shoveling every few hours, to keep up with the storm. Bitterly cold. M. is now in Cape Town, South Africa, with friends.
Wednesday, February 14
Woke & looked out the window - everything is white, covered in deep snow. Still snowing with a good wind. Shoveled the walkways again; they are beginning to look more like tunnels than walkways.
Wrote in some metronome markings and dynamics. I will wait to fill in the harp part, and can decide later about adding flute to this string/choir version. Must call Myra Kovary, my harpist. Perhaps we can make plans for the weekend, when the snow has been cleared from the roads. The snow plows began yesterday, clearing the streets every few hours - but the roads are impassable. A good time to visit Millie. She called to say she is cooking pasta for dinner, did I want to join them ...
Perhaps after dinner I will begin revising Images.
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|Reviewed by Marguerite Lemoine
|You say nothing about your health. You must be feling better. Great! All good things come to him who waits on the Lord.
I still have hopes that we will get down to the right formula to keep my blood pressure under control. I have a wonderful internist who works diligently for each of his patients.
By the way, you promised me a book, need I remind you? If you send me two of each; I will try to sell them to some of my friends in the Secular Carmelite Order. I am sure they will be interested. Two of them were here today and I told them about you and your work. Marguerite lil flower