20th Century Composer Laurie Conrad's "A Composer's Journal" Entries of February 9-17, 2005. Laurie Conrad is a pianist and composer living in Ithaca, New York.
Wednesday, February 9
Shaun came by today & announced that he & his mom were moving in a few weeks, up north. His mom met a nice man, & off they go. Shaun had a new haircut & looks very, very happy. I told him that we would miss him, he is like family. He answered with his usual & punctual "uh huh". He asked for my e-mail address.
We will miss him.
The new "Visions" CDs arrived today. Spent all of the afternoon packing up CDs, to send them off to more reviewers & radio stations - & some shops. Quite a stack. The Kronos string quartet requested the score to Elegie, so I sent that out as well. I have not written a note of music in days. My time now is spent on the phone, the computer, writing and answering letters & at the post office.
E-mailed my friends about the upcoming concert & most of them can’t come. I again thought of Mozart.
Running out of "Early Songs" CDs. Must order more.
Through all of these other tasks & chores, music is collecting itself within me, readying itself to eventually find itself to the page.
Looked at e-mails. Diana has finished the rough layout of "Realms of Light". No news from Bob. Myra is stopping by tomorrow, to pick up more CDs. She & Laura are playing some of the "Visions" in Binghamton this Sunday, do I want a ride to the concert.
Thursday, February 17
I haven’t written in this notebook for over a week. Since then, a deluge of e-mails answered, sent & responded to. WSKG, our PBS television station (in Binghamton) auditioned the "Visions" CD, & chose it for a television special, as background music. I assume that they will also broadcast it on their classical radio station. Also an interview with them looks probable for the future - I am supposed to call someone about arranging it, & I scribbled the number down. It is by the phone downstairs, with a map for getting there. They asked for the "Early Songs" CD as well, & I gave them one.
Must order more "Early Songs" CDs. I have a yellow post-it note stuck on the computer with that message scrawled in blue ink, with NOW underlined.
So far I have found one review of "Visions", from the United Kingdom - long & very favorable. Calls my music "evocative", says "highlights include" ... Etc. Fritz wrote from Germany - he received the "Elegie" score, parts & demo CD. He writes that I am a wonderful composer & sent a card with a picture of a bouquet of flowers on the front. Sent WQXR demos for broadcasting. They have played my music in the past ...
That is really the goal of these CDs - to have my music heard all over the world. Otherwise - why am I writing it?
This listing of the mundane might not be as fun for readers, but I can assure you that it is an essential part of a composer’s life.
Still have not had the time to write a single note. This means that the next time that I sit down at the piano & look at those fresh new sheets of ms paper on the music rack - many notes will quickly find their way onto the page. Many pages covered with pencilled-in note heads & occasional stems. I usually do not pencil in the stems because there isn’t time. Those vivid ideas must be scribbled down as quickly as they stream through my mind, they do not last long - they are then off to the next phrase, phrases & sections - like a blueprint being drawn on the drafting table. If the strand of inner sound breaks, it all dissolves back into silence & does not reappear. Instead a new strand appears. There does seem to be an endless supply of them, especially as a piece progresses. But I still do mourn the lost ones, that is why my initial sketches often resemble Morse code, little dots strewn across page after page of manuscript paper, stems & barlines here & there, like little frail slats of fencing found at the beach, leaning & falling this way & that.
Once the notes are captured on paper, I become quite fond of them. Until then, I barely hear them. I am only hearing the notes I am, at that moment, hearing & writing down. And those sounds are being heard inwardly, in the center of my being - or as an image in my mind. Sometimes both. Music is my primary method of speech, but it is also much more than that. It is the expression of my very Being - & all that I know & have experienced & more. Hopefully it also expresses the soul & its Knowledge & Experiences.
When I write or perform music, that music - the note or phrase I am playing or hearing - is all that I am & all that exists. There are no other methods of speech, no towns that I live in, no streets, no houses, no people or objects or cities or countries - just the notes I am playing or hearing. This is not true of any other aspect of my life except deep prayer.
Site: Figaro Recordings
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"American Classical Music: A Composer's Journal Entries February 9-17, 2005"