Such Gentle Rapture and Getting Things Done

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything substantial here, and I intend for that to change in the coming weeks as I start to publish a new set of Composer’s Guide posts. So stay tuned.

Late last month, I took stock of the ways that I’ve been handling my time as a full-time freelancer, and I wasn’t as pleased with what I saw as I wanted to be. I brainstormed a bit as to how I could rework the ways that I manage my time, and I think I’ve come up with a fairly elegant solution. I took a little trip to Staples to buy a large wall calendar and a stack of different colored Post-Its, and sat down to plan out the next thirteen months of my life in terms of what I’d like to have written by what dates. (And trust me, the list of things I want to write extends FAR beyond what I’m capable of in 13 months. There’s a spreadsheet lurking in the cloud with an ever-growing list of pieces that I intend to write.)

Now I have a colorful production calendar hanging near my desk to remind me every day what my weekly task is:

calendar

I’ve created a three-week rotation of short chamber works (with a smattering of art song thrown in for extra fun), Composer’s Guide articles, and a long-term, non-musical project that I probably won’t otherwise mention again on this blog.

The chamber pieces are part of a project that I started last year, but which quickly got put on the back-burner. The first part of the project is to write thirteen short (5-7 minute) duos for piano and each of the major orchestral instruments (minus percussion, but including saxophone), and the second part will be unveiled and explained in mid-November – I’m very anxious to get to that point.

I already have the flute/piano duo written – a 5’30” piece titled “Silverpoint” after the drawing technique, which I was first introduced to by composer Marty Boykan’s wife, Susan Schwalb, who I met at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. And this week I’m at work on the clarinet/piano duo, “Such Gentle Rapture”. Each new project starts on a Tuesday (Monday is my dedicated web design/research day), and I managed two write about two minutes of the piece yesterday. If I can maintain this rate of composition (and I’m a fast composer!), I should have the piece sketched out by tomorrow evening and engraved by Friday afternoon. But if I really shackle myself to the piano (look at me procrastinate by blogging about composing instead of actually composing…), I can have the whole thing done by tomorrow night. The title for this piece, by the way, comes from Barry Eisler’s spy thriller Killing Rain. Not my usual source for titles, but I’ve also got a handful of William Gibson-inspired titles coming up in this series of pieces.

In addition to the goals of my production schedule, I’m also in the process of starting a small record label with one of my long-time collaborators, Marc Peloquin. The purpose of the label is to record art song by living composers, and we’ll be going into the studio for our first disc in mid-November: a recreation of the concert we put on this past February titled That Dare Not Speak.

shh6

After that, we have our next four releases scheduled to come out over the following four years, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am to start getting all this music in the can!

OK, less words, more notes. Back to the piano!

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