Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Man Chapter

So much has been going on of late that the only way to get any of it into the blog is to break it down into smaller, more digestible portions. Otherwise, the prospect of sitting for hours at a stretch and pouring all of life's events into the keyboard looks a tad daunting -- and would probably result in none of it getting done. I have articles to write, and am trying to use the blog as a warmup so I'll get them done while I'm on vacation.

The Man has been so involved in a variety of projects that I'll probably miss one or two in the process of chronicling them. That just means that there'll be more fodder for the next Man Chapter.

I gave him the update to his Sibelius composition software for Christmas, and have hardly seen him since. He's been busy working on an interpretation of Dona nobis pacem that he decided to do as a lark. The first bars sound wonderful. This one is instrumental, not vocal -- but I'd have to listen again to give any idea of the orchestration. I know the piece so well as a canon (sung) that every time he plays a passage, I can't get it out of my head for hours.

Greg has also finished the piece he calls Symbolist Minimal. He never did come up with a name for it other than its working title, so Symbolist Minimal it remains. He's done extensive reviewing with flautists and harpists on the playability of the piece, and has implemented their suggestions. The result is slightly different in practice than the initial MIDI, but the spirit and feel of the piece are exactly the same. This also guarantees that the piece can be played by instrumentalists other than the MIDI Symphony Orchestra.

He likes to say of the piece that it brings together elements from both the 19th and the 20th centuries, since it possesses both wonderful, sweeping textures from the symbolist era and atonal passages inspired by the mid-20th century. You'd think that the result would be jumbled and confusing, but it's not -- he manages to marry the two together quite successfully. I'll nag him to put a passage up on his Web site, so your ears can be the judges.

He's also been talking to a couple of other record companies and has sent some of his instrumental pieces off to one of them. This company also works with eastern European orchestras and records in Prague, so Greg might get his trip to Prague after all. In the meantime, he needs to finish up the post-production work on the Sax Quartets so they can be released, and he needs to meet with the artist he commissioned to do the cover art.

I'm not sure where the ERM Media release (21st Century Masterworks) stands, the one that includes the Water Suite. They keep moving the release date around -- first they move it out till later, then they move it in and start publicizing its impending release, and then they move it out again. Everything I know about this is third-hand, but it will be 2009 within a week. It has to come out sometime.

Greg has also started writing a notebook of exercises for his piano students -- a sort of modern Anna Magdalena Notebook. He uses these exercises to warm up before he plays, and his students have been finding them helpful. One of these days, he'll get it ready for publishing, and might make it available for sale on the Web site to other piano students and their teachers.

I promise more updates later from the other corners of life, but it's time to go off and live more of it for a bit. We have a kennel club between-the-holidays party this afternoon, and I'm late getting ready. More anon!

1 comment:

sue said...

I'll be reading!!!!