Thursday, January 03, 2013

Orchestrating Tesla's Pigeon

I've been talking idly about arranging Tesla's Pigeon for orchestra for a long time. Ever since writing it, I've clearly known which instruments are supposed to be playing each line. Maybe this has something to do with what a crap pianist I am; even when I'm writing for piano, I'm not really writing for piano.

Anyway, I started by sitting down this weekend with this awesome score of the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition that I found in my room. I have no idea how it got there -- did someone give it to me? Did I buy it one day knowing I'd need it? At any rate, I pulled it out along with the piano score, only to discover that BY GOD these Eulenburg geniuses have included the original piano in the orchestral score for reference. Modern convenience. So great. Thank you, whatever unseen force put this score on my shelf.

The solstice is past, and I can feel my body and brain slowly turning toward the spring and seeing light at the end of a seasonally depressed tunnel. It's been a nasty slump this winter. The one "good" thing about depression is that it sometimes precipitates very intense emotional reactions -- to music, for example. So long as I'm not out in public or trying to drive straight, I appreciate them. I listened to Pictures at an Exhibition by myself with my handy Eulenburg Edition score on Sunday, and by the time I walked past the Great Gate of Kiev, I had completely lost it. I was literally sobbing. Sobbing! I mean, sure, I love that piece. I played it with QYO back in the day, and most of the pieces I played in my mid-teens made a huge impression. But: heaving sobs ... I haven't had that happen during a piece since I accidentally caught the Alpine Symphony on NPR back in 2008. Funnily enough, I played that with QYO too. Probably something to be said about that.

God, Ravel is good.

My hope is that I will have it orchestrated by the time school starts next week, and that the Curtis Orchestra will read it this semester. With Jess Lennick on pipes, naturally. I've made a cracking start: all the main stuff has been parceled out to the appropriate instruments, and now I just have to embroider. Oh, and create parts, I guess. Ugh.

I am heading to bed with this Eulenberg score. It's even a convenient bed-reading size. Such a fan.

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