Red Riding Hood: I traipsed off to my mother’s nursing home to practice. I found my mother in the dining room and told her I was going to run through some music.
The Wolf: My mother said, "Maybe I shouldn’t practice there. Residents might not want to hear me". She had to prevent her child, who just didn’t know any better, from erring. What's wrong with this daughter? Why would she assume that residents would want to hear her play the harp?
Red Riding Hood: I responded mildly to the Wolf, that I was 61 years old, and she didn’t need to worry about whether the others would be offended by my music. I asked her if she wanted to hear me play, and she didn’t answer.
The Lumberjack: Rosetta, who has a feeble memory, asked me where I was going to be playing. She seemed intent on hearing me play, and repeated her question several times.
When I started playing, residents and visitors immediately sat down around me and listened. And Rosetta was sitting in the front, and my mother nowhere to be seen.
Red Riding Hood: Playing at the nursing home provides the additional layer of self-awareness from playing to the public, and the opportunity to find out where my performance weaknesses are.
The Lumberjack: One of the women in the audience hummed along strongly to Thumbalaika, and I repeated it several times for her. And she knew several of the other jewish melodies I was playing. Some in the audience were unaware/asleep, but a few were listening and engaged.
The Wolf: When I was finished, I checked my mother’s room, and she was there in her recliner, fast asleep. She had asked her aide to wheel her past the Family Room where I was playing, and put her to bed. She would not appreciate my efforts. It might offend others, and she did not want to be responsible, or have my playing to reflect on her.
Another Wolf Shows Up: (Have I assumed this same perspective with respect to my playing and my compositions? I was raised that we don't talk up our accomplishments. I should not assume that others want to hear me play the harp).
The Happy Ending: I went ahead with the practice and this helped me, and pleased some of the residents and staff.
Laughing while playing first page corrections. No one will ever play this, but me. No one will listen to my music, but me. Well, some people will tolerate a hearing, but won’t ask for again's. They’ll listen once out of collegiality, and move on. So why am I composing? Jonathan Franzen throwing out 80% of what was written over years. Mary Karr tossed out 1,000 pages, two years of writing. Van Gogh not getting recognition while alive. Just compose, and stop having to justify what I am doing. Stop thinking the only reason to compose is for money or fame. Stop linking external recognition to accomplishment.
The prevailing culture, of fame being the imprimatur of success overwhelms, even though it is abundantly evident that recognition is not the measure of merit. What if I composed exceptionally great music, and it was never discovered? Would it be great, anyway, because I loved it? It could be. Would it be great even if no one else thought so, or even if I didn't think it was; I am getting into trouble here and I don't remember anything from Philosophy 101. Someone has to decide it is worthwhile for it to be considered great; it cannot be great without someone's recognition. (maybe this is the tree falling in the forest question).
Is greatness the standard I need to aspire to? And if it is, it probably takes a bit of time to attain "greatness". Being a great composer doesn't just fall in your lap. You have to work at it, and develop it. Or is just composing of itself enough? It may not hit any marks other than just being a composition of music. But I am beyond this, as I like what I am composing. That's good enough reason to keep plunking away.
This morning thinking how to attain the elegiac wistful sound of the English composers that I love. I want to do that. I am overthinking and never satisfied. Never sure because I am depending mostly on my self to critique my compositions, and I am not sure that is enough.
Throw away papers when I have extracted corrections, ideas, jottings, reminders. Don’t hold on to them as if everything that I think of is precious, and cannot be lost or trashed. I have sacrificed a lot of paper and ink to Henry and Jani, and I am particularly careful about overuse of resources, and over-printing. But there must be a 100+ pages of paper devoted to this project.
H + J: not simple enough; creativity vs simplicity; are they mutually exclusive? No, but why do I equate creativity with complexity?
I went off down a new path and lost focus on what I was trying to complete. Frailach arrangement, Baroque Flamenco influence: Don’t over-worry about its being perfect; I don’t know what perfect is; take and use the choice I prefer at the moment. It may not stand the test of time. I might change and like it another way. I want it right, as I don't want to come back and have to revisit it.
Or maybe I do, and just don't know it yet.
Deborah Henson Conant’s Baroque Flamenco: form; Intro, rousseau, flamenco, rousseau, flamenco, rousseau, flamenco, cadenza, rousseau, then coda. All interspersed with great harp effects and sensational drama. And it works so well, is so adaptable. And Deborah has worked at it for years. I need to just work at it and see what comes.
Connective tissue; transitions. I need something of contrast to the H + J melody, to set that melody off. I need transitions that are lyrical and soothing, opposite of the Baroque Flamenco, which has a sweet and pleasant melody, attended to by simple variations that create anticipation and then lead to an ear-exciting cadenza. H + J has a melody that is rhythmically stated, and has the development (interlude) that is poignant.
For the “transitions” or connective tissue, between the melodic moments, I think a breather to let the rhythm settle in a bit. I’d thought of scales, or thirds, following each other. Starting on the A in the bass/left-hand, symbolic of Henry, following a scale starting on C in the right hand, symbolic of Jani; the A scale following the C scale, just as Henry followed Jani around the room where they first met. As the piece progresses, have the A and C getting closer and closer, as the romance progresses. ("A" is the first note of Henry's name, and "C" is the first note of Jani's name, as charted).
I have a chord progression, that is nice but not enough interest. Well, I will look at the melody line of that chord progression and see if that would be sufficient to set off the H and J melody.