Last week’s interview (3/10/9) with David was particularly fruitful, and much less nerve-wracking for all parties involved. For starters, my new little toy, the Edirol R-09HR, was much less conspicuous than the camcorder we used for the first interview, making it much easier to relax. Set-up was also about 20 minutes shorter than last time, so we wasted less time on tinkering with gadgets and had more time to chat and be comfortable. Also, we had a much better plan for the interview itself, and covered a period that was better documented so that we could prepare ourselves more.
We concentrated on 1958-1966, the years during which David had written his Joyce works (the Six Songs on Poems of James Joyce (published as Two Songs etc and Four Songs etc), I Hear an Army, Night Conjure-Verse, and Syzygy), as well as the piano works Soliloquy, Fantasy Pieces, and Scherzo and his String Trio. During this period, David graduated from UC Berkeley, attended Princeton, dropped out of Princeton, returned to California for a year after having come out as gay and left the Catholic Church, moved to New York City, returned to Princeton two years later to finish his Master’s, and had received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Koussevitsky Foundation. And still hadn’t yet turned 30.
(Would that I had such a career already! Though admittedly, while I haven’t gotten any OMG GIGANTIC!!!1!! commissions yet, I’ve still had 30 pretty decent ones!)
The only bit of awkwardness here was when we talked about the first six Joyce songs (Four Songs on Poems of James Joyce and Two Songs on Poems of James Joyce). David expected for me to know offhand when each of the songs had been written, but I only knew the general span over which the sets had been composed. He gave me copies of the scores to refer to (which he later inscribed), which made life rather easier.
Other than that, the interview went incredibly smoothly, and we had a really good time.