Sir Christémas, et al.

It’s early Sunday morning, and I’ve been slogging away at Sir Christémas, always mindful that it’s got to be in the mail on Friday. I’m in that phase where it’s just dreck. I’ve posited a “Sing Nowell” interlude between the verses, but right now it’s just clunky and bad. I hate this.

Part of the problem, of course, is that I have no clear idea of the piece in my head. I couldn’t transcribe it even if I were capable of such a thing, because it’s not there. I’m just machete-ing my way through the randomness of the universe, hoping to hack out a path that makes sense. Right now it doesn’t.

In other news, it’s time to release Grayson into the wild again. Last year, you may recall, it was quite traumatic as we took him up to Guilford and left him. For us, of course; he was quite pleased with his new habitat and missed only his cat.

I’m a little better this time. I’m not freaking over what I will do without him. This year, all my angst is over whether or not he can survive auf Deutsch, since after lunch we’ll drive to Hartsfield-Jackson International and put him on a plane to Munich. For the semester. Ach du lieber. Ich beunruhige mich daß er hat der Sprache zur Genüge nicht gelernt.

I’ve given him a map of Hofvonstein and asked that if he can he go to our capital of Waldkirchen and take a couple of pictures. I’d love some pictures of Löwenhof (which the Austrians apparently call Bad Leonfeld), but I think it probably looked better when Karl Magnus was alive.

4 thoughts on “Sir Christémas, et al.

  1. Sounds like it’s time to pull out a card from the Oblique Strategies pile. Or to consult the I Ching.

    My first thought was: change “idea of the piece” to “idea in the piece.” Think less holistically. There is no piece, only ideas in time. Find an idea (sorry to sound so much like David Lynch) that appeals, even if it’s brief or instantaneous, and then make approaches toward it and departures from it in time.

    Sometimes waiting for the inner dictator can result in finding an inner dictator. Then all you can do is pray that you’re offered exile as an option.

  2. Ideas in time is what I’ve got. What I don’t got is a piece.

    Actually (this is Monday morning), I listened again to the problematic area and, like I did with the climactic moment from “Milky Way,” simply inserted another measure that was the missing piece. That part now works.

    I think you and I think differently: I’m never looking for an inner dictator. I’m looking for an inner camera, to take a picture of what a whole piece might look like.

    And I’m not unresponsive to the charms of chance. In fact, most of this piece is the result of organic happenstance. The opening motif is exactly as it was when I randomly plopped down some notes on the screen just to see what the celesta would sound like.

    At some point, though, the organizing mind must take over, especially when the result must be postmarked by Friday. And Masterworks is tonight, and blowing up balloons is tomorrow night, and preparing the GHP student survey is Wednesday, and Newnan Crossing Open House is Thursday. I don’t have a lot of time to hope for random structures to arise and please me.

  3. My Inner Dictator speaks German, so I can never understand what she’s telling me. But I always admire the leather trenchcoat and boots she wears and WISH I had an Inner Camera. Actually, I was once given an Inner Camera, but it’s digital and the operating instructions are in Japanese.

  4. In the past you have said you like to transcribe what you hear in your head, and I wondered if that method was leading to frustration in this instance, hence the “inner dictator” punning.

    Is it the structure that makes a piece? Is it the feeling of completion when you find the right method for making things come round again in a pleasant order? Or do you rely on the text in this instance? We just want to help you slip out of any mind-forged manacles you may have inadvertently clasped about your neck and ankles.

    The Venerable Eno, that most successful of non-musician composers, says you can explore structural solutions in somewhat random ways when you feel stuck by simply playing with the ordering and repetition of your a’s, b’s, c’s, d’s. Then throw in a modulation for kicks and giggles.

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