Busy with the piano concerto. And big band charts. And playing some too! Plus the American Jazz Composers Orchestra is off and running! It’s fun to see what it’s like to be a musician without the teaching aspect. I am finding, though, that I miss teaching a bit. But it can wait until January…
The concerto is taking shape, especially large-structure wise. At first, I was going for three movements. That might have worked musically, but it just wasn’t feeling complete extra-musically. As I briefly outlined in the first post about the concerto, I commissioned three fantastic poets to write poems knowing that I was going to use them for inspiration for the concerto. They came back with three fantastic poems, each completely different. Each movement is going to be based on one of the poems. However, to tie this all together I really need a fourth movement in the concerto. So I’m now looking at 4 movements total. The fourth movement will be inspired by “the muse,” which really ties us all together as artists regardless of the specific discipline in which we work.
It’s really something to live with a poem for months at a time, reading it every day. Much different than reading unfamiliar poetry on a regular basis. I have actually had the three poems from Katharine Rauk, Timothy Young, and Thomas Smith for more than a year, and the layers of meaning that begin to appear after that amount of time is staggering with these poets. I’ve arranged the poems in order to correspond with the movements and musical material I’ve come up with based on the poetry: Katharine Rauk’s Dowsing, Thomas Smith’s Reverence, and Timothy Young’s The Wind and Woods on the Far Eighty. It’s really amazing – the musical material that came to me based on studying the poetry corresponds with a very nice progression of character and style often associated with a multi-movement work. An interesting question to ponder is if a poet would group the poems in the same order as I would as a musician. Perhaps my grouping order is rooted in the fact that my concept of organization has been so influenced by music that it was more of a self-fulfilling prophecy to group them that way.
In the next post I’ll post my dealings with Rauk’s poem and how her ideas are making their way into my work.