Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Composer Dialogue #3

Yesterday, Michael & I met with the composer. We discussed transcribing the opening song for string quartet accompaniment. Then we turned our attention to the closer that he is working on for me. The piece is little known folksong from "across the pond."

He said, "Please don't be disappointed b/c I don't have much done. I just want to make this what you want." There were 4-5 printed pages of music. And he had a recording of the pages. We listened. Immediately, I liked what I heard. This is going to be GOOD & FUN.

We discussed a solo at the beginning. I said no solos in the program. Equality for all. Make the opening line either unison for all voices or a single section. Then we move on to the chorus - toss around a few ideas. Both settings of the chorus within the song are good. As we discuss how to use each setting, then the form of the piece begins to take shape. A simple song with a verse and chorus (binary) structure should be simple, but what should we do on each repeat? Discuss, discuss, discuss.

Then he pulls out his lyrics. I pull out my lyrics for the piece. There are 3 versions of the lyrics. Which one should we use? Well, the setting of the song that I love uses very bawdy lyrics - not exactly appropriate for middle school girls. We settle on what is considered the original setting of the lyrics - more appropriate.

Then we discuss instrumentation. What instruments do you hear and how do you hear them? How many instruments? Do we use piano? Probably not. Do we use drum? What kind? Discuss, discuss, discuss.

After the verses have been stated, how do we want the song to build to the end. The composer tosses out an idea. (I can't show all my cards, ya know.) Ooooo, yes! LOVE it for the bridge and leading into the last refrain.

At this point, I want to fly around the room with great joy! This fun, energetic closer has come to life and my girls are gonna have so much fun with it! I can't wait to teach it! BUT it will wait. I will hold the teaching of this piece until late December, keeping one part of this program fresh.

The composer said that he should have a lot more of the song ready next week. I have always wanted to create a new work for a program. Truly, it is as exciting as I imagined!

P.S. I had a followup conversation with the composer today regarding cost of this arrangement. Commissioned work costs are all over the map - ranging from $2,000-$14,500, according to published sources. WHOA! He doesn't know yet what to charge. I have been given a low ball price (very low) by the school district. I think he deserves much more. We shall see what happens.

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