Winter break: Day 2

After running some errands, I settled down after lunch for some meditation and composing in the labyrinth. The sun once again has cooperated.

Today, I sketched out what I thought would be a pretty woeful theme, only to have it turn out to be a theme already on the books. I think it’s a Schumann symphony. Its exact identity is eluding me, but I know it’s not mine.

I revisited what I sketched out yesterday, and I developed a plan, if not a theme. Yesterday’s work included a tiny chromatic bit, inching upwards through the scale. Very short, and it labored, petering out al niente.

My thought was to use that as a building block, starting from silence and having the cello struggle with it, over and over, back into silence. The piano joins, layered and canonic, and we get a thick texture of these little tortured wormlets, crawling up, dying off.

When that’s satisfactory, I want to have the cello reverse course, sliding inexorably down through the wormlets, until we reach the ending I’ve already written, a crushed morass of chords at the bottom of the piano.

Sounds lovely, eh wot?

Last night at Masterworks practice, Viva Voce went over “Make Our Garden Grow,” from Bernstein’s Candide. I love this piece. For those who don’t know the show, it’s the finale, when Candide and his ladylove Cunegonde end up outside Constantinople (I think; versions differ) and he finally puts his foot down on any more “best of possible worlds” thinking. We will eschew the entanglements of philosophy, he says, and till the good earth. We’ll make our garden grow.

The piece is gorgeous, a full-throated paean to minding your own business and taking care of life. “We’re neither pure nor wise nor good; we’ll do the best we know. We’ll build our house and chop our wood, and make our garden grow.” The suspensions and resolutions at “garden grow” alone are worth the price of admission.

That concert, by the way, is Sunday, March 13, 3:00 pm, at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts.

The role of Pangloss is one I’d love to play before my voice gets much older, and it seems to be getting older by the minute. (Tautology, I know.)

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