Thursday 15 September 2005

Orchestral Manoevres

We are planning another orchestral concert next year to showpiece my orchestral music. As before (September 2003) The Salomon Orchestra will be playing but at a new venue, St. James's Church, Piccadilly, London

We are planning performances of 2 of my pieces, In the Barbarian's Camp and Elegy; this latter is a substantial setting, for Baritone and orchestra, of Rilke's Second Duino Elegy. I have set it in the original German so am relieved that a German baritone friend is going to sing the solo-part; perhaps having a native speaker will help correct some of the errors I have made in setting the German. Despite singing in German and speaking it (very badly), I found setting it surprisingly difficult; hard to get it feeling natural without losing my own distinctive voice.

So I have just been back to the scores; having sent a set off to the conductor and I preparing a piano reduction so that the baritone can try the piece out with a pianist. I generally work directly into short score, so any piece I write has to be re-transcribed for piano reduction - a rather tedious but necessary process. Finale can do this automatically, but I generally find that the results do not look very well on the page nor lie easily under the fingers; not that my own efforts in reduction are likely to be too much better.

Revisiting the score has made me realise how much work there is to do to tidy up the full score so that I can produce well ordered instrumental parts. Much of it needs phrasing added and there are parts which need distributing between 1st and 2nd wind players to allow players time to breathe etc. I have found in the past that the more work I put in at this stage, the more time we save later. The problem with having an electronic music publishing system is that it is easy to produce badly thought out and badly laid out parts at the touch of a button. I'm hoping not to do this.

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