Tuesday, September 26, 2006

This week, I have been mostly...

I've been working on the electronics part of my oboe piece US4 this week. I had an original patch which I cobbled together for the workshop that spawned this monster, but it was a bit Heath-Robinson in its construction. I'm really starting from scratch and attempting to 'build' it as logically as possible: i.e. with different 'instruments' and a central triggering mechanism. It's looking pretty good and I think that it's going to work, but it's a long way away from the 'rehearsal-proof' patch that I think that I'm going to have to put together at some stage. At the moment, it's just going to be a matter of starting the piece at the beginning and then letting the electronics run the show.

Some of the rehearsal proofing that will need to be done, sooner or later, will also involve recording sections of the piece so that any section can be rehearsed without having to first go back and perform the earlier sections. I'm convinced though, that when it's performed, I want it to be done live, not prerecorded. There's just something about a live performance, something messy that I want to be reflected in the recordings. If someone coughs, I want that replicated!

Staring at the screen all day isn't doing my eyes any good, but at least I got out of the house and talked to real people today!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Always the problem with composition. You finish one piece and then what do you do?
Sometimes you start a new piece and get faced with the whole business of starting from scratch.
Sometimes (and this is the best in my opinion) there's already a piece started with a whole load of ideas floating around, so you can just jump in.
Sometimes, and this is today's situation, you have a piece that's almost finished. I've got a lot of these, as I come closer to the end of the PhD.

The idea of starting work on the second version of Frisch weht der Wind is quite depressing, since I've already produced the first and third. Particularly since my final task before putting it on the computer is to add dynamics to the pre-existing pitches/rhythms. It's not difficult, just requires an imagination slightly ticking over to categorise the gestural forms and assign them a suitable 'envelope'. I've just got to bite the bullet and slog my way through it. At least version D is more interesting and will require some kind of intelligence to complete.

I have now no idea if I'll be able to submit my application for postdoctoral funding at B, because I haven't heard from their Head of Research for a little while. The deadline is the end of the month and I'm beginning to become a little concerned (i.e. stressed). If I don't get this funding, the next round doesn't start till next September, and while I think I can keep my head above water financially until then, I'm not sure how sane I'm going to be living this far from C still!

Anyway, I've got to keep going at this piece because once I've finished it (and the others), then I'm one step closer to being with C full time. So far, I've got disiecta membra, US4, La Pastora, De contemplationis digitis, 83 Chords for Ezra Pound, and two versions of Frisch weht der Wind ready for submission, which adds up to about 46 minutes of music. The total duration of the portfolio is supposed to be between 60 and 90 minutes, so I'm getting there. With Lovesongs, Dead Island Songs, and the other two versions of Frisch, we're talking more like 80 minutes... so that's all I'm down to do right now. I've got a timetable of work from here to the end of December, which is when I'm handing it in. Which is when I'm handing it in. Which is when I'm handing it in!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just a quick post to say hurrah! I have finished both disiecta membra and La Pastora. Both are now set up on Sibelius and printed out. Next week's task is to produce the 2nd version of Frisch weht der Wind. If all goes to plan, it should be completely finished and on Sibelius by this time next week.