Solemn Hymn and Rowdy Dance
As a composer, I find that the last piece of the season sometimes takes “the road unimagined.” I write only three or four compositions a year, and because of my conducting schedule, those works are all written during a six month period. So depending on the size and scope of the works, I may be crowding a great deal of music writing, with its accompanying emotional drain, into very tight timeframes. And because of this - I think it has to do with the emotional release - the final composition of the year sometimes takes a fanciful departure from what was intended.
The work I originally envisioned for the Virginia District 7 honor band was going to be based on a wonderfully lyrical Appalachian hymn tune that I discovered earlier this year. However, as the project commenced, I just couldn’t stay focused on the solemnity of the idea. (To be truthful, the “giddy” side of me kept sneaking into the process - as it has a number of times in my life.)
I may, someday, actually write that piece based on that hymn tune, but not this time. Instead, what has actually surfaced is a contest of wills between the solemn side and my silly side for musical dominance. The fun part to me was to try to successfully partner the discourse so that each had “equal billing.” Hopefully the listener will perceive the interplay of those two musical ingredients.
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