A Composer's Journal by Laurie Conrad.
Image: Cindy in the garden in her nightdress
Sunday, November 11
We are here for some hours today. Went downstairs to find a blank notebook and found two Journal entries from 2004:
October 1, 2004
My other notebook is in town & almost finished - so I am starting another. Went outside to the lake - the moon so bright there is no need for a torch or lantern - a wide swath of light on the water, brilliant against the darkness. Walking to the end of the dock was like walking on Light, moving, pulsing Light ... The wind intense but not menacing. And then just the moon & the Light on the water & the sound of the wind & waves ... One could stand there forever.
Walking to the Point earlier, with M, the Big Dipper leading the way, hung in the sky before us ...
Mailed out 12 copies of the Visions scores earlier today, to professional musicians. The string quintet begins to take form inwardly. New sounds, new intervals & possibilities in this new twelve tone row. Sometimes I ask myself why I continue to write music when so few people seem interested in new music, & wonder if I might not better spend my time planting bulbs in the gardens. Often one works without even knowing why.
I enjoy looking at the new scores almost as much as hearing them. Perhaps I should have been a calligrapher, a painter - or an architect. It is like constructing a building, arranging notes on the page - edifices & angles arising on the empty manuscript paper, spires & landscapes. The spacial relationships between tones, the intervals transposed to the page have a Beauty of their own - & seeing them laid out today, into 12 copies - all lined up on M’s conference table at work - was magical.
When I was younger, I used to hang sheets of my handwritten scores on the walls, as paintings - perhaps I should again.
Sunday, October 3
Windgarth 4 p.m.
A windy, sunny day. Planted bulbs. A wedding across, a bagpipe at intervals - mournful; Scottish. An entire country & history arises with those sounds. Kilts. Battle. Funerals. The lake today is deep blue; gulls sit stubbornly & implacably on the dock south of us, like plaster statues. An occasional flutter. Except for the bagpipe & waves & wind & birds, blissfully quiet.
Cindy works in her garden like a squirrel. She gave me coleus to take back to town, to overwinter indoors. I should tackle the stacks of letters in the next room, on the desk & chairs, in wooden boxes ... Perhaps I will stay overnight & try to get it all done, go back into town with Larry tomorrow afternoon.
Today the hills look rugged, almost thick in the sunlight; another autumn. Cindy said there will be a frost tonight. Now the bagpipe weaves through a tonality aimlessly, wandering, saved by the cadences. Now a familiar tune, I have forgotten its name.
November 11, 2007
Back to the present, 2007. Strange to read about sending off Visions scores, & having initial ideas for the string quintet when it is now already written, performed, recorded. Reading about Cindy.
Turned on the heat upstairs, the fireplace downstairs. Leaves falling from the trees; some portions of the woods are already like pencil drawings. Sun. Warm, in the high forties. Seagulls huddle on a neighbor’s pier; the gardens fairly spent, some blooms here & there.
Brought letters to answer, a huge white envelope full. Instead, I gaze out the windows at the lake. I am thinking of Cindy. Windgarth without her is still unthinkable. In my mind’s eye I can still see her in the gardens, endlessly working. Interesting that now I cannot endlessly work in the gardens. Yellow leaves have fallen on the shed roof. Winter will soon come, & the geese will stand on the frozen lake; or skid along its surface as though playing like children on a winter’s day ... A lone gull flies north to south, into the wind.
Thought about Mark’s last e-mail to me: his brushing up on the work of Le Corbusier, and the comparison of music to architecture. I will write to him.
Tuesday, November 13
Responded to Mark’s last e-mail:
Hello dear Mark! More leaves have turned to bright colors and then fallen - now there are as many leaves on the ground as on the trees; lush swaths of color to walk through, lining the streets and on sidewalks... I am battling a sore throat, and hope to soon emerge the victor.
You wrote: "I have also be refreshing my memory on the work of Le Corbusier - especially with regard to the principles of proportion and form. Form is fundamental to music, and architecture, being the interplay of three-dimensional formal elements, invites comparison with music." A worthwhile project ...
Interestingly enough, I found an old and forgotten Journal entry that speaks about music & architecture while at Windgarth House this past weekend, from 2004. I will enclose it; perhaps it will help further the discussion.
Best wishes to you dear Mark, and I hope all your projects are going well.
Tuesday, November 13
Still haven’t written a note of music. Must call Ken & have him tune the Steinway grand in the living room, & fix the broken keys. Maybe that will help.
Site: Figaro Books
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"Music and Architecture: A Composer's Journal: November 11-13, 2007"