Blog We are starting Blog! November 30, 2017 Hiro Honshuku 4 Comments We are finally starting Blog! Contributors! Go nuts with it!
4 thoughts on “We are starting Blog!”
I am welcoming myself and anyone who reads this to the new JCA Blog. Don’t yet know what will go on here, but I like the idea. Hopefully, the other composers and I can talk about our compositions, and what the orchestra is up to, etc.
Myself: last few years for me, after having been very prolific previously, have mostly been spent revising older music. We performed my six movement song cycle “The Death Of Simone Weil” in October, and revised the whole thing…as it’s a 65 minute piece of music, making even small changes ended up taking a lot of time…I removed some passages, added some, and the band, as compared when I wrote this music (fnished in 2001) has one more trumpet and a violin that I wanted to add. Plus there were various things that needed correcting or cleaning up a little.
Still not the same thing as writing new music. There have been good life reasons why I’ve not done much new, but am hoping to be moving forward. It’s time for some new things from me!
Plus: HATS off to Hiro Honshuku for creating this blog, and for adding the new videos, that are of such high quality!
Writing new music for JCA Orchestra has been difficult for me, the last few years. The loss of my wife weighs heavily, and it’s been hard to put in the kind of hours that it takes. Haven’t written a number of the new things that I have in mind.
But: for the upcoming show, I’ve nearly finished a new one…well…this is a piece I wrote for OddSong a year or so ago…(Oddsong, if you don’t know, is four saxes, voice, violin and marimba).
It’s a setting of one of my wife’s poems….in a way, it’s a bit like a eulogy for herself.
When I die, if it cannot be
to the sound of water running over stones,
or of wind moving through the branches of tall pines
or of rain whispering across its wide extent
or of music as it rises and retraces
its familiar arc,
then let it be, at least,
to the sound of women talking, one to another,
just far enough beyond an open doorway
to blunt the sense and soften articulation.
I know the source of this polyphony
of melodies supporting one another
as they spread out in their interlocking circles.
It is an inaudible cantus firmus
of such tender attention
that even a gossipy indifference
will be beautiful to me.
As I recently told someone, it’s actually a lot easier to write music for a big band than for Oddsong…it’s more work, more details, a bigger canvas…
For that matter, at school, I sometimes write for groups with 6 instead of 11 or 12 horns. That’s also more difficult…less to do, less things to take care of (I sometimes look at it this way: one way or another, you have to account for 20+ instruments, for every beat, in every measure, of music that can be quite long). So: it’s a big task.
But: having more instruments so often makes things easier. A big part of composing is solving problems, and with more instruments, if you need another voice to do something, you can usually find one (even so: I SO often wish there were more, for just that reason)…It’s like having….the box of crayons with 96 colors, instead of 8. You could make a great picture with three shades of green, but having more colors makes it so much easier…or, if you’re building something…better to have a truck full of power tools than a hammer, screwdriver and saw.
Also: there is all the more possibities for sub-groupings of instruments. New combinations…I wish I would go further with this, but I do come up with some.
OddSong, or rather, a partial version of OddSong, is going to be at the concert i will shortly list here: Jazz Along The Charles, presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston.
This event has 25 groups playing simultaneously spaced out along the esplanade, playing the same list of 16 songs connected to Boston.
So: I arranged, in two months, 16 arrangments for sax quartet. An accomplishment I’m proud of…these arrangements had to be short due to the time contraints and the long list, and they are not like my usual, but I worked really hard at them and it’s been a lot fun.