Lichtenbergian victim #1

Lichtenbergianism claims its first victim: the setting of the German text of “Song of Solomon” for the Festival European Sacred Music Schwäbisch Gmünd. It was to be postmarked tomorrow, and I haven’t even looked at it. Ah well. Check!

Despite the headway I’ve been making on the Moonlight songs, I had a panic attack tonight coming home from the Masterworks small ensemble practice. I am supposed to be starting the symphony, but I’m going to be behind already, and that scares me to death.

Part of it is of course that it’s the tail end of the holidays, and now it’s time to take all that stuff down. As a matter of fact, even as I type this, Ginny’s downstairs asking for help bringing in all the storage tubs she’s bought. I’ll be right back. Maybe.

All right, so far I’ve lived to tell the tale. But you see the problem. If you haven’t read Leaf by Niggle, by J.R.R. Tolkien, I highly recommend it. In it, a second-rate artist (Niggle) can’t get his work done because of all the duties his society calls upon him to do, plus all his neighbors and acquaintances call on him for favors. Because of all the distractions, even though he knows he ought to be preparing himself for his journey, he never quite gets his painting done. Even though there’s a Faëry ending for Niggle and his neighbor Parish, the overall outlook for Art and Artists is very bleak, even to the point of nihilism.

Ironically, today is Tolkien’s birthday.

I’ve written another verse and a half for “Dream Land,” which makes it way too long, but people can use it if they want. I’ll try to finish that up by the weekend.

I’ve also started “Fedallini’s Catalog,” and I think I have the melody down. I might extend it to a full 16 bars, but I’ll see. Lyrics are sketched and sketchy, so I can try to nail that down in the next few days. I still have to set the intro, but that’s just a matter of making up a wild cadenza for the piano. Fedallini doesn’t sing this song, just speaks it. I may have Thurgood chime in at the end of each verse. Pinke, of course, says nothing. If I’m very clever, I may have him mime some obvious and rude rhyme.

And the Act I finale, “Tear Down That Wall” has begun forming itself in my head. I can at least get that blocked out this weekend.

The problem is, the symphony has also begun forming itself in my head.

7 thoughts on “Lichtenbergian victim #1

  1. One thing at a time, kemosabe. One thing at a time.

    I’ve never read Leaf By Niggle, but it sounds uncomfortably familiar. 🙂

  2. To hearken back to our talk of artists in communion with the mother, I’d say all artists need a nurturing mother figure–supportive spouse, undocumented housekeeper, bottle of scotch, corporate underwriting, government subsidizing, friend with a villa, you name it–to get to a place where work is possible. Otherwise it’s like trying to expect great things from a catatonic infant in one of those Romanian orphanages.

  3. My dream has always been to become wealthy enough to be a patron of the arts. I could be your sponsor removing some of the clutter from your day so you could focus on your creative tasks. Unfortunately it is still a dream and so you toil in the midst of turmoil, but still produce quality material.

  4. Yeah, I dream about that, too.

    In Leaf by Niggle, there’s a brief daydream of a public pension in appreciation of Niggle’s work, so that Niggle might have some uninterrupted time, but that phantasm is quickly quashed. The phrase is, “However there was no public pension.”

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