Today was a low-work day, owing to the morning orientation session and the afternoon Ranch tour, but I managed to do some solid pre-compositional planning in the early afternoon.

The Ranch tour was really fun and interesting (and yielded more photos, which I’ll upload later). Ruth drove us around the ranch grounds, and showed us various points of interest within walking/biking distance: the tepee circles, a landslide and the coal vein that it exposed, an area where a coal vein had burned underground after a lightning strike, and a ghost town.

Around lunchtime, I managed to figure out the overall structure if the orchestra piece I’ve come to write. I had originally intended to write a single-movement, 10-minute work, and needed only to find the idea that would spark my imagination. So, as is my wont, I turned to my library. But since I’m halfway across the country from my actual library, I logged onto my LibraryThing catalog, and scrolled through the titles there. I started listing characters and major points of interest from various books that I’ve always liked, and came up with a half dozen or so items that could potentially get me going.

And that’s where my conception of the piece changed. I took a little walk along the creeks running near my studio, and pondered the list I’d started. Two items in particular stood out, but I wasn’t sure that I could go on for 10 minutes on either of the two essentially minor characters. So I’ve chosen three – three short movements inspired by three minor characters from books that I’ve always liked.

Writing starts tomorrow.