Violin: The Second Meeting, The ‘Final’ Piece

I’ve been very, very, very behind on basically everything with regard to this project. If I’m being honest, I took on too much, not a by a little, but by a lot. Though I’ve been able to finish the three other pieces (well, with the exclusion of the harp piece, which will be expanded/properly completed in the very near future), I have not had a chance to do much of anything for the violin. I spoke with Tanya about this while she was still at the Lucerne Festival, and we made plans to make a plan when she got back.

Yesterday, we met to make that plan. My idea coming in was to decide on a few ideas that we could then workshop and ‘live compose’ into a piece the day of the concert. It wouldn’t be a great piece, but it would, hopefully, be interesting and very much in the open spirit of this project. In the half hour or so before our meeting time, I got into a practice room, made a rough harmonic plan, considered what kind of sound arc I wanted, and, then, waited. Tanya, despite what can only be described as an inhuman workload without this project came by ready to make music with a smile.

What happened in the next two hours, I honestly can’t properly describe. We worked, yes, but it was a kind of work I’ve never had the privilege doing. In the course of a mere two hours, we created a ten-minute piece(!!!). I can hardly believe it nor describe it in too much detail, but, basically, Tanya improvised he way through the harmonic material while following a very general sound plan. I listened and provided feedback and guidance. We worked bit-by-bit but moved forward steadily, getting every section right before moving on to the next. As we proceeded, Tanya made notes for herself that, as she put it, probably make no sense to anyone but her (not even me). About an hour and a half in, we had gotten through the whole thing. She then played the entire composition beginning to end. I provided some minor bits of feedback and we called it a day. Our working paper is below.

Tanya 'Final' Score

I’m not sure if this sounds much different than what I had initially intended, but if my intuition is even slightly right, we created something pretty special. It is not my composition. It is our composition. That’s a scary thing to say as a solitary composer. Even more terrifying is the fact that it’s not set in stone. It’s highly planned and structure, but still improvised, meaning I, as someone who is not performing, have even less control. Though I almost always encourage players to make my dots their music, this kind letting go is really quite a challenge. But, as I mentioned twice in my previous post, I’m working with Tanya–all will be well. I do hope you come along to hear this.


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