Sheer poetry (Day 335/365)

Today I was forced to work.

But first, this report: I was in the Fine Arts building today, looking for Stephen Czarkowski to ask when would be a good time to meet with the bass players to get some feedback on the “Dance.” As it happened, right then. I got dragged into a practice room where Jack and Alex and I talked through the piece. I was able to point out some things about it they hadn’t noticed yet (7/8 is actually 3+2+2/8, a lopsided 3/4) and we worked through it.

Then we talked about their instruments and what they could and could not do. They can actually do a lot more than one might think. Why the heck do we not provide them with pieces written for their strengths?

This evening, I chatted with Ryan Smith, the percussion teacher. The irony is that while my writing for the bassists is apparently spot on, my writing for the marimba leaves something to be desired. I knew the virtuosic spot near the end might be problematic, heading as it does directly into three-note chords, but hey, I figured the marimbist might actually enjoy the challenge. And there is one passage where I have a double-octave thing going on that was really just a mistake in dragging and dropping that I forgot to fix. But otherwise, I think it’s within bounds. I’m curious as to what Ryan has to tell me.

So anyway, yesterday Marc emailed me to suggest that if I had any scraps of Day in the Moonlight tunes lying around, they (the theatre majors) could use them as interlude bits in their performance.

Well, all I had was Thurgood’s tango, but I figured I could mess around with a couple of melodies and at least come up with fragments the kids could play with. I thought I’d start with “Sheer Poetry,” the boy Garrison’s song to his true love Elizabeth. His goal is to become a poet, something that his father (Thurgood) disapproves of. When she presses him to read her some of his stuff, which he has resisted doing, he sings to her:


Who knows what a metaphor
is for?
What makes hyperbole
so free?
Or an anapest
the best?
I do.
It’s no bet or trick
that my rhetoric
or poesy
that you notice, see?,
Because it all comes from you.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Let me count the ways.
Rise up, my love, my dear, and come away,
We’ll find a fine and private place
Where none I think but us embrace
On a summer’s day.

And so on and so forth. The chorus is:

It may sound queer,
but it’s true, my dear
my love for you is sheer

Not only did I finish that first verse, but I wrote the music for it. No intro yet, and no chorus, but still, at least I accomplished something.

30 days to go.

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