Forging ahead (Day 121/365)

early morning: Many days when I report that I’ve done “nothing,” I’ve actually done quite a bit of work in my head, going over sections of William Blake that need work, listening to the CD in the car and making decisions about instrumentation or effects or stuff (that’s a technical term.)

Thus it was this morning that as I was finishing my toilette I decided that maybe the section in question in Milky Way needed some other sound completely. I think I’m going to yank the strings entirely. I can give the cello line to the bassoons and drop the horns into the bass clef to cover what the violas were handling. I keep forgetting that the horns have this ungodly range. In fact, I keep wondering whether I need trombones at all, just add another two horns and keep them in the bass clef.

At any rate, I’ll see if I can get this done tonight and report back.

late evening: Actually, I think that was it. I didn’t use the horns like I thought I would, but the woodwind choir fits the bill quite nicely. The strings join back in on the “gathered by fools in heaven” line, and it moves smoothly on.

So now I need to orchestrate the little descending star patterns leading into the final repeat of the “intro” theme, and then hopefully I know what I’m doing from there to the end.

4 thoughts on “Forging ahead (Day 121/365)

  1. Do you think it likely that for the actual production you will have to re-orchestrate for a reduced ensemble of musicians who are actually available and can play the music and commit the time? Might you wind up with a wind quarter and piano, for instance…

  2. Yeah, I thought about that recently, especially after having seen the Halloween show at the Center for Puppetry Arts: they used a very small ensemble and it sounded great.

    However, Masterworks regularly hires a small orchestra, so it’s really just a matter of funding. As far as playability goes, I haven’t written anything beyond the talents of any professional or even apt student. After this summer, Strauss’s Death & Transfiguration is my guide for what’s do-able, and that’s pretty darn high.

    We could also consider doing it electronically, which would require some real cleaning up of my files. I’d rather do an orchestra, though.

  3. For example, at last night’s concert, we had essentially my orchestra except for the lower brass and the harp: 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, and 2. (Percussion is always handled by NHS, so I write for the kitchen with abandon.)

    But to answer your original question directly, a piano, wind quintet, harp, and percussion. Minimum.

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