Doodling, 1/29/09

Many things to do tonight, starting with this post.

In support of our explorations over at Lacuna Group, Wednesday nights if you’d like to join us, and you really really should, I dragged out the 341 poem, which, if you recall, was the first thing that emerged during the 365 project.

It’s actually not bad stuff, and so I made a decision last night to work seriously on it for a while. I may not keep everyone updated as I did back in the day, but if something good happens you’ll be the first to know. You can read all the posts about the poem as it stands now here.

The first thing I have to do, of course, because I want this to be a thing I can work on diligently, is to give it its own Moleskine notebook. I’ve pulled out a small one from my music drawers and am in the process, as I work on other things during the evening, of painting a cover on it.

This is not exactly the waste book approach, but this is not exactly a waste book process. I can focus my “poem energies” in this one place. Or so goes my theory.

In other news, I have listened to John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons and John’s Book of Alleged Dances in the van for a couple of days now and can report on its status. (This is from the stack of CDs on my desk that I’m trying to whittle down.)

Gnarly Buttons is a little mini-concerto for clarinet and is very appealing in many ways. It has some back story to it, but I didn’t read that until I had already made my decision about the piece.

It’s rhythmically complex, almost excessively so, and scored for an extremely oddball assortment: English horn, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, banjo/mandolin/guitar, and two sampler/pianos who play all kinds of weird sounds, including at one point a moo. (That’s right, a moo.) However, the orchestration is deft and never uninteresting.

There is even actual emotion in several places. On the whole, I think Gnarly Buttons is a keeper.

I’m still unsure of John’s Book of Alleged Dances, a set of 11 short bits for string quartet and prepared tape. It’s not uninteresting, but after I’ve listened to it I’ve already forgotten it. I’m thinking I will not be adding it to iTunes like Gnarly Buttons.

Next up: Tenebrae, by Don Carlo Gesualdo, actual Renaissance prince of Venosa. Gesualdo felt no compunction to follow anyone’s rules, societal or compositional, and his music is usually described as “lurid.” It is good to be the king.

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