Yesterday and today I worked on one of the main phrases of Icarus’s first dream aria.
A little background: Scott’s text for this aria is nowhere metrical, but it does have three repeating elements:
- “I am alone” bits
- “I am flying in the sky” bits
- “Aloft on pinions/ Of hope and magic” bits
Part of the puzzle for me as a composer, therefore, is to make sure that whatever I come up with for one of these bits will bear repeating in a meaningful (and hopefully increasingly meaningful) way. For the past two days I’ve been churning out crap—that’s the technical term—seeing if I could come up with something for the “I am flying in the sky” theme. I started using the moving bass line from “I am alone” as a basis, but none of those attempts really grabbed me.
So when an approach isn’t working, go for the opposite approach. Just drop your baggage and head in the other direction. One of two things will happen: you will find an answer, or something you’ve written already will make more sense.
This time, I think it worked. I won’t post the results today; I want to crack the “Aloft on pinions” puzzle before I post the next version of this aria. But I will say that the transition from the “I am alone” recitative into “I am flying in the sky” really works.
P.S. to Scott: We are not giving a tenor the line “In my singular solar solipsism.” That’s just daring the audience not to giggle at his lisp.
update: Just to double-check some harmonies, I switched the voicing on the piano score to French horn and strings. Oh my. Y’all are in for a treat.