A composer's Journal Entries March 30 - April 9, 2006 by classical composer Laurie Conrad.
A Composerís Journal Entries: March 30 - April 9, 2006
Thursday, March 30
Two e-mail messages today: one asking for the score of Visions, for a performance in Washington D.C. and another asking for a magazine interview or article. The radio interview is this coming Sunday night.
Monday, April 3
Enjoyed doing the radio show.
Xeroxed the score to Movement II. Now I can orchestrate it, without needing to copy out the choir parts again. I will have to cut and paste the string parts and do some whiting out there. If I do it carefully enough, the Xerox copy should be easy to read - no one will even know I doctored it up. The less time spent copying, the better. I thank God continually for whoever invented the Xerox machine, and those who continue to improve them ...
Thursday, April 6
Waverly, NY 1 a.m.
Back with Carolyn and the children. This visit we will work on the room I am staying in, filling in seams in the wallpaper that are coming undone with some sort of glue; painting the walls. Sat down to scribble this and almost sat on Sebastianís newest doggie chew, in my blanket. Heís alone downstairs, on the couch watching Poirot. Iíve already seen that episode.
This room is pretty much as I left it. Ianís masterpiece in thick off-white paint on the wall behind me hasnít been sanded yet. It loosely resembles several Chinese characters superimposed on each other - or two ostriches dancing. Not bad for a three year old. If Carolyn werenít trying to sell this house, I would leave it. He wisely used the trim color, & it gives some relief to the dark mauve walls.
It will be nice to get some curtains up. Right now they are in the hallway, on the floor. I notice that someone has retrieved the photo of M. and I from behind the bookcase & placed it on the top shelf. Probably Elisabeth. We are next to a statue of the Buddha & a beautiful sculpture of angels & a young girl holding a water jug - some sort of fountain. No water. Books are crammed onto the shelves, every which way. It reminds me of JFís bookcase, the one we plan to clear out next week. Fat art books, science, The Best American Short Stories of the Century, novels & parenting books, health books, fantasy; such a small bookcase & so many books. Like an old, weary suitcase at the end of a journey, when all the presents for friends have been bought and stuffed in. An occasional half burned candle or stuffed toy sticking out here & there. A metal mouse or rat, with wheels in danger of going over the edge ... I imagine there is quite a bit more fallen behind the bookcase, but I wonít look tonight. Tomorrow.
Have been thinking about the orchestration to Movements I & II. Do I really need to double every choir pitch in the orchestra ... Or can they find some on their own. Should I chance it, for the sake of the music ... Or not chance it, for the sake of a good performance. Full orchestra or only a few instruments other than the strings, for simplicity, clarity, transparency ... These questions must be answered before I begin.
Starting to think about Movement III. Chose a prayer & M. helped me with the Latin pronunciation, accents & syllables diagramed out on the page. I inwardly see long, held tones in the orchestra - actually a band of sound, one long held tone of Light, comprised of many tones & timbres - infinite & continuing through the entire movement. It is a clear white & golden colour, & I do not take it literally, the held tone. What it is & what it tells me would be difficult to put into words ... or even into thought, because it is an image, a visual/sound image. But it is always the same, whenever I look, & has been since the beginning. I see no individual pitches at all, only this golden/white band that travels across the manuscript paper. This third movement is to the Holy Spirit, to ask for Healing and Enlightenment for the earth, for the creatures & cultures & countries of earth. I think this beam of Light across the page, this inner visual image of a tone or held tones made of Light - is the steady beam of Grace, of Divinity that I wish to invoke for the Earth. It moves vertically from left to right, as though running through all the notes I might cover the manuscript paper with, & for as many pages as might unfold into music.
So far I do not hear any individual pitches, nor do I see or hear any patterns of pitches or rhythm. Therefore, I will first orchestrate at least Movement II, if not also Movement I. This trip, I did not bring the score with me. First I need to think & to look within for ideas. Then I will plunge in.
Meanwhile, I am memorizing the last movement of Rachmaninovís Piano Concerto II. Perhaps I will also rewrite the Piano Quintet, perhaps for more instruments. And then learn the notes to the piano part, so that we can perform & then record it in the fall.
My Heart is now a Flame. Perhaps I will go downstairs & keep the dog company, watch a bit of Poirot.
Sunday, April 9
Windgarth 3 p.m.
Sunny, in the high 50's. First walked to the end of the dock. The water so clear I could easily see to the bottom. I think of Steveís visit, when we brought pretty rocks to the shore, to build a small wall around the flower bed near the dock. Kristin & I stomping on the dock, to clear the ice off. Crocus are everywhere, some daffodils in bloom, the Siberian blues. It is still too cold to sit outdoors & I am still too injured to work in the gardens. I brought the score along, to work on. I miss Cindy. Larry came over & we spoke of many things. I told him that I would teach him how to prune the roses. M. reported that Esterís cat was crying. Ester is away & the cat needed some attention. Jim came over & agreed to cut the lawns again this year. He & Larry put the wooden benches out, the picnic table & the canoe & kayak. People rent the upstairs next weekend, for three days. Spring.
Site: Figaro Recordings