I took Dvorak’s 8th with me in the car today to listen to a couple of things, the orchestration and the development. I learned enough to depress me.
First of all, my impression was (and a study of the score this afternoon confirmed it) that the strings do all the heavy lifting. They never stop playing. They may be playing pads and chords under the winds occasionally, but mostly they’re playing “the piece,” and they never stop. So I have to learn to do that. You would think this was easy. It is not.
Second, the man’s development I have always admired: tuneful, witty, inventive, and beguiling. Seemingly organic. Seemingly effortless.
I know it can’t have been. I know he took a lot of time with each of his symphonies, and he wasn’t just doing it a couple of hours twice a week. It was his day job. Besides his natural gift, he worked at his craft, many hours every day.
I begin to wonder if I would be more productive if I had all day every day to thrash out ideas and discard the less worthy ones. I think this is part of my fear of just generating crap: I don’t have time. I’m not even using everything I’m writing. I am sketching out things that don’t go anywhere. But with Time’s wingéd chariot hurrying near, I’m afraid that I will sometimes settle for what’s on the page already.
Can you tell that this evening’s work didn’t go well? I’m going to eat my Häagen-Dazs raspberry sorbet.