The new piano piece is essentially finished at this point. All that remains is to make some minor engraving revisions based on feedback I’ll be getting later this week from Marc Peloquin, who will be premiering it on March 9 — and to settle on a title.

I’ve been expecting to title the piece “Best at dawn”, which is a reference to the first song in the Koch cycle. However, I ended up arranging only the third song instead of the entire cycle, as I’d originally planned; so now, the reference isn’t quite as appropriate. At least in my mind.

I’ve spent some time today reading through “One Train May Hide Another”, searching for a phrase that I think suits the piece well. I’d like to avoid using the title of the song/poem to minimize confusion between the song and the piano piece, since confusion there will be aplenty once I’ve finished the version(s) for alto flute. (At the very least, I’m arranging it for alto flute & harp and alto flute & piano, though I’m also considering an additional arrangement/transposition for “regular” flute and piano. (I suspect that a transposition for flute and harp might be too much of a headache in terms of harp pedaling!))

Maybe I’m being silly by wanting to keep the poetic reference specific to the song that spawned this paraphrase.

The thing that made me reconsider my choice of title was a realization I had while sitting down to write the program note – certain musical and formal elements achieve greater prominence in the solo piano setting: the train-like nature of the piece, with different sections strung along like train cars; the bookended beginning and end of the piece, similar to the engine at either end of a train; and the pedal point/ostinato sounding reminiscent of a railroad crossing bell.

Of course, regardless of the title, the program note will obviously refer to the original song/poem, as well as these elements, so my bases are quite amply covered. We are not inside a bottle (vacuum), thank goodness! And it’s not as though the listener will be missing anything earth-shattering if they don’t know all these niggling (for niggling they are!) details.

Best at dawn it is, then!