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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Not a productive week. But neat anyway.

I scrapped a whole section of music in Ayn earlier this week because I decided it sounded stupid. The thought of rewriting left me despondent, so this has not been the most productive week, Ayn-wise. Annoying. I'm very anxious to complete it, but I when I get like this, I can't turn the inspiration on like a tap. The whole thing is not quite half done (in short score). Not quite. If I can get it half done by the end of this month, I'll be ... on the way to being happy with myself. Really, I should have had half of it done by the end of last semester, but my seasonal depression was a lumbering inspiration-eating bear that refused to hibernate for most of past few months.

Things that were neat about this week:

Thanks to a tip on a blog post by Michael Swanwick, I bought an original illustration from Tess Kissinger, and since they live only about 15 blocks away from us, we got to pick it up in person and meet her and Bob Walters. The famed paleoartists let Matt and I hang out for a bit in their sweet two-storey backyard studio, which is basically a geek paradise full of dinosaur models and casts, and also battle armor, and a drumkit, and science fiction art, and a cat. We couldn't stop yakking to each other, so we're going back for brunch soon.

Here's Tess's illustration, along with a couple of postcards showcasing a mural they did for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, replete with dinodoodles by Bob.


Stuff from Bob Walters and Tess Kissinger

And Matt in a helmet with Tess and Bob:

  Matt in a helmet with Tess and Bob

Another cool discovery: a new Facebook friend alerted me to the existence of a new venture called Choral Tracks, started by a singer who was a member of Chanticleer when they performed the West Coast premiere of What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? last year. He charges extremely reasonable rates to create live-sung renditions of choral music, with which you can do exactly as you please (unlike the backward Musicians' Union, who are stuck in an era when recorded music was a lucrative commodity rather than a promotional tool). Hello. Exactly what I need for new choral compositions, since I'm not convinced EW Symphonic Choirs is worth it, and also I'd rather have demos sung by a human being on principle.



Social networking for the win. Not just good for promoting; also good for having useful services promoted to you. I will report in a few weeks when the recording is done.

This evening, I'll be playing my viola in concert for the first time in well over a year with the Penn Symphony. I've had eight hours of orchestra rehearsal and sectionals this week, which is far more playing than this slacker is used to doing, as evidenced by my aching left shoulder, but oddly enough, even as I was groaning to go home at the end of last night's dress rehearsal, I was thinking very seriously about how much I enjoy this, and how maybe I should keep this up. God, I love viola. Viola is the shit. Maybe I wouldn't love it so much if I had turned out to be a violist instead of a composer, but every time I come back to it, I feel so grateful that I play it, and for everything the viola has taught me about music. I've played violin, and I've played cello, and they are not nearly as satisfying. There's a reason why so many of the best composers preferred viola (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Dvorak, Schubert, Respighi, Vaughan-Williams, etc.); the best harmony and orchestration lessons I ever got were in viola sections -- and come to think of it, I'd wager that the further back I sit, the better I learn, because the violists in the back desk are literally right in the middle of the orchestra, weaving their inner harmonies into the texture while hearing everything else from all sides.

Penn Symphony at 8PM, Irvine Auditorium.

I'm still sitting on news items I can't reveal yet.
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