Phoenix, 2/25/10

I have lost my mind.

Since the atonal screeching of the first third of the piece was starting to get to me, I thought I would go work on the end, which I intend to have a gentler, more puzzling tone.

Well, it is that.

It is very reminiscent of one of my really great masterpieces that has never seen the light of day, the last number in the aborted One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish 1, which I later used as the extended coda for a bizarre and demanding Alleluia. Only that piece had the sixteenth notes in the accompaniment and all the voices had to do was to chime in gently with “Now we go to sleep” and ending with “From there to here/From here to there/Funny things/Are everywhere.”

This is a bit different.

Score [pdf]. Sound [mp3]. 2

1 Fans of my music will fondly recall “Clark” from that lost work.

2Those who are paying attention to the file names will notice that this is phoenixwatersketch2. Yes, there was a first attempt, a much more singable thing. I like this a lot better.

2 thoughts on “Phoenix, 2/25/10

  1. I hope you won’t be offended if I give a full breakdown of this piece.

    I love the first measure, it’s very attention grabbing. I am hesitant to understand why the first measure is repeated, lots of measures are repeated, another idea you might could play with is stretching the same phrase out over a few measures except not so quickly by transposing the key or the rhythm differently, there is word for that I just don’t know what it is. Kind of like what you did in measure 8 with the basses. I also love that the Alto’s begin singing this first, it never seems to happens. I love that the Basses come in slowly, it really surprises me, then the tenors come in on that F, which I think is really cool to make dissonance with the Bass E, and is repeated the contrast backwards with the tenors E and the Bass F in measure 7. By the 5th measure I really feel the water aspect of it. On the “why” I feel like you can draw that out more and crescendo it. It doesn’t feel long enough to me and, I wish there was a fermata over it because it is a huge ringing question that I feel doesn’t get enough emphasis. The Alto and Soprano line in 9-11 is really awesome. I especially love the run to the high F. When the bases and tenors come back in I love the rhythm. Similar to the Why, I wish the I would grow, so that when the phrase breaks you come back in on a held not so that when you come back in you don’t jump right back on the wagon, more like a jump in and out of hyperspace… if that made any sense. I wish also that the bass and tenors had a chance to do some of the runs and that the Soprano and Alto lines could do some slower measures, that way you might have larger range for definition and it is as engaging for the lower parts as is for the trebles– conversely, you could give more definition to the different voice parts in order to identify them as different aspects of the piece or maybe even water. The song itself in someways made me think of a waterfall, because you have the faster moving parts like the running water, and then the slower moving parts moving more slowly like the idea of water, how it continually runs. And I just want to throw this in, just for kicks you could play around a Picardy third at the end with Picardy thirds at the end, maybe have all the parts hold out a note. Just some thoughts. I really like it, and I love the major shift from this selection of the text.
    -John

  2. The way I work is to plop all this stuff down and then listen to it obsessively, figuring out where it’s out of balance or what’s missing. In other words, I am not Mozart, whose music appeared perfect and imperturbable the first time. It may get longer, it may get more developed. Time will tell.

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