Thursday, December 3, 2020

Here we are, surpassing the number of Covid-19 cases from the spring. As in Europe, this second wave is horrific. Our inability to take basic steps, i.e., wearing a mask and keeping distance, is just astounding. Smart enough to figure out the steps to avoid disaster, but not smart enough to implement those steps.


An ‘album’ of a few of my pieces seems to be nearing completion and release. The recordings took place January 28-29, 2019, the first edits made available for my review on November 7. A year later, things may be getting closer to completion.

I’ve checked in with some friends and colleagues with more experience than I, and it seems that this is actually normal. Two reported that the only way to get an engineer to complete a project is to sit next to them in the studio until they finish the damned thing. Bizarre. It’s been a long process and, in fairness, neither I nor my dear-friend-and-supporter producer have been pushing the engineer very hard at all. So, i suppose the time-drag is no surprise.

In preparation for this final stage, the producer, Chris Grymes of Open G Records, set up an initial meeting with Chris Glass, a designer/artist, to discuss the look of the release. It was an easy meeting, as both Chrisses are engaging, creative, and supportive. As I’d not met Chris Glass prior, this was a chance for him to ask some questions to get some ideas. Some questions were expected–about the music, influences, etc.–and some weren’t–about my workspace, where I’ve lived. We gave him two possible ‘titles’ to think about for this project, using titles of two of the included pieces: “The Line Between,” and “Addressing Wonder.” Grymes and I thought that “The Line Between” was the more evocative title, but are fine with either; we were surprised that Chris Glass was more drawn to “Addressing Wonder.” As Chris like to work with multiple possibilities, he’ll explore both paths and we’ll reconvene next week to see what he’s thinking about.

And then there’s the ‘liner notes.’ I’ve never been a huge fan of writing ‘program notes’ for concert pamphlets, but certainly recognize the reason composers need to write them. Audiences/listeners need a way in, some frame of reference, something to hold on to as they encounter something not heard before, a logic that may be unfamiliar. So I’ve certainly written such notes for every piece, including them on the inside cover of the score, so that performers can just have them available as they prepare events.

Trying to frame the bigger picture, i.e., a group of pieces in a ‘concert’ of multiple works, is a bit more of a challenge for me. I’m so grateful that Grymes wants to play a big role in this process. He’s just requested some basic ideas, and the aforementioned pre-written program notes about each piece, and he’ll work something for discussion/review.

In honesty, of course, this is a means to record my ideas, to make those ideas easily accessible/available to anyone who might be interested. Perhaps it’s really just a vanity project, but this is really the way one distributes musical ideas now (and for the past 70 years). There are certainly more works I’d like to record (when this recording released, this will be eight pieces), but it’s quite a process, from finding the right performers to fund-raising, etc. We’ll see about the next collection of pieces, as I’ve eight-ten I wouldn’t mind getting out there…

Those notes for Chris have been sent out, some lessons/recruiting done, a few home projects. complete…today’s about writing some recommendation letters, and finishing up that song for Dan Shirley, which he’s liking thus far, but which I’ve been remiss at completing to date.