Author Topic: The "What are you working on?" thread  (Read 14546 times)

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Jamie Kowalski

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The "What are you working on?" thread
« on: November 26, 2014, 07:15:50 AM »
We don't always have something to share, but I'm sure a lot of people here are hard at work on interesting things. What are you all up to at the moment?

I've been slowly putting in more and more hours per week composing, and I'm now at almost 20 hrs/week. That's pretty good for me, considering full-time employment and how good TV has been lately.

For several months, I've been working on seven pieces simultaneously. Five are movements for a suite of bagatelles for orchestra, and two are movements for a piano suite I'm calling "Waterforms" (with a third movement not yet started). I've been rotating through all seven of them fairly regularly, trying not to let any individual one sit for too long at a time. It sounds a bit masochistic, but it turns out this is a great way for me to work. The time away from each piece gives my brain a chance to refresh itself and think of new ideas, and the constant writing keeps my creative inertia going. I haven't felt this disciplined in a very long time -- especially while not having an actual deadline looming!

During the week I work on one or two sections in the evening, then dump the new versions to my iPod before shutting down the studio. Then I listen to everything a few times on the way to and from work on Metro the next day. By the time I get home, I know which section I want to work on that evening.

So what are all of you working on? Let's hear the gory details!

Ron

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 07:41:47 AM »
I keep hacking away at a work for orchestra using First Nations themes. There are a couple of problems with that. One, I've found that what I thought were parodies of North American aboriginal music in "Western" movies when I was a kid, were not, in fact, parodies. It is very hard to use the melodies of native North Americans and not have it wind up sounding like a parody. Also, I am generally having trouble with orchestral music these days and keep getting bogged down.

So, to ease my mind I work at duets for various combos, like the flute and guitar ones, as they, because of the limitation of just two voices, help keep me focused--and I can work at something for ten minutes without winding up exhausted by the effort. (It can take me ten or more minutes to write just one measure for full orchestra.)
Ron
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 07:56:19 AM »
So, to ease my mind I work at duets for various combos, like the flute and guitar ones, as they, because of the limitation of just two voices, help keep me focused--and I can work at something for ten minutes without winding up exhausted by the effort.
I identify with this. After I finish an orchestral work, I can't stand to try to write for orchestra again for awhile. Nothing comes out right until I after I do a little chamber work.

Quote
(It can take me ten or more minutes to write just one measure for full orchestra.)
I'd be ecstatic if I could write an orchestral measure in ten minutes. If I include all the adjustments and rewrites, I'm probably averaging closer to two hours per measure.

Michel.R.E

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 08:35:30 AM »
I'm envious... I cannot work on two pieces at once. They tend to blur into a single entity and sound like movements of the same piece.
So I have to keep to a single piece at any time, unless I really put one piece aside for a prolonged period to work on another.

Right now I'd KILL to be writing orchestral music. I'm sick of chamber music, sick of it, sick of it, sick of it. I want to work on something HUGE. You know, another one of those pieces that will never really see the light of day, that no one will ever perform?

Anyway, I'm sitting around doing some minor revisions on some of my earlier works while I wait for the contracts to arrive for the clarinet quintet.  So far, I've adjusted details of counterpoint in my Mass, some rhythmic details in my 2nd symphony, and some minor engraving issues in a few of my sonatas.

Oh, and of course I got my garrison to level 3 in Draenor, and am working on the mounts achievement from my Stables, while levelling my Engineer and my Alchemist. (for the geeks out there)
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 08:37:15 AM by Michel.R.E »
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 09:36:14 AM »
I'm envious... I cannot work on two pieces at once. They tend to blur into a single entity and sound like movements of the same piece.

In this case, they are intended to be movements of the same two works -- so maybe I cheated in my count.

Quote
Right now I'd KILL to be writing orchestral music. I'm sick of chamber music, sick of it, sick of it, sick of it. I want to work on something HUGE. You know, another one of those pieces that will never really see the light of day, that no one will ever perform?

It's always my favorite, even without the expectation of performances. I have been slowly scaling down the forces over the years, though... I'm down to one percussionist now!

tbmartin

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2014, 10:54:41 AM »
Zilch. Zip. Nada.

Well, not quite true, but pretty darn close to it.  I did a few arrangements for 8-piece sax ensemble in the summer and then did 5- and 4-horn versions of the same. Those were a whirlwind of activity. In that same stretch, I started a quartet that still languishes. The Fall is always a sink-hole for me. High School marching season, busy time at work, etc. They all conspire against me. It's also why you have all heard mostly radio silence from me on the forum recently.  Winter is usually easier. I look forward to it. (Plus, it's ski season!!)
Terence Martin

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flint

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2014, 12:53:27 PM »
Finishing the last three pages of score entry for the final version of the Divertimenti.

Dreading the whole score clean-up process... it's about 90 pages and it's so tedious.

Though this time I tried something new for the parts and I think I may have hit a home run there.
"Music is like wine; the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

gogreen

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2014, 06:30:48 AM »
Quote
I've been rotating through all seven of them fairly regularly, trying not to let any individual one sit for too long at a time. It sounds a bit masochistic, but it turns out this is a great way for me to work. The time away from each piece gives my brain a chance to refresh itself and think of new ideas, and the constant writing keeps my creative inertia going.

Jamie, this is how I work, too. When I get into a groove like this, it just feels "right."

I'm currently working on four pieces, one of which is a milonga for concert band. I've been researching milonga so that what I write is at least similar to the forms and styles of milonga I've researched. I've taken on this project thanks to the threads in this forum on milonga--just seemed really interesting to me. I don't know if I can pull this off, but I'm trying.

On Monday, I worked on landing a 20-pound king mackerel 15 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico (see attached--me on the right). Yes, it was delicious marinated in Italian dressing and grilled.

Today, however, I'm working on a 12-pound turkey, green bean casserole, assorted side dishes, cakes, and pies for our Thanksgiving feast. To forum members celebrating Thanksgiving today, happy Thanksgiving!

Art

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« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 06:34:03 AM by gogreen »

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2014, 10:51:03 AM »
Holy mackerel!

perpetuo studens

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 06:14:00 PM »
I'm currently working on two pieces: the Scherzo for my string quartet (80% complete) and a new nocturne for piano (no. 4).

This is an experiment for me, having worked on only a single piece at a time for some years now. I'm finding that it does help to get away from one piece for a day or two while I work on the other - I get new ideas while I'm away and hear it with fresh ears when I return (although sometimes that means discovering that I hate the last bits I wrote and have to rip them out). OTOH it feels like it takers forever to move anything forward (OK, it's always been that way, but now forever seems longer :)).

Nice to know everyone has works in progress though...means we'll have a new crop to enjoy and review soon!

Maybe this should become one of those threads that never dies but just gets added to when someone starts a new project...

Jamie
The perceived object...is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analyzed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element's existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before nor after it, for the parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not possibly be derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it.

That means that you can look at a piece of a puzzle for three whole days, you can believe that you know all there is to know about its colouring and its shape, and be no further ahead than when you started. The only thing that counts is the ability to link this piece to other pieces...

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RJB54

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2014, 04:51:56 AM »
For myself, I'm kind of running on empty at the moment.

In terms of rewrites/fixes on already posted pieces to reflect comments/suggestions, I have my 2nd and 3rd String Symphonies, Metamorphosis #1, and my 1st Chamber Symphony which is desperately in need of a major, from the ground up, rewrite. I also need to put the finishing touches on my 1st Alto Sax Sonata and to finish the 3rd movement of my 2nd Violin Sonata, both of which were delayed by my health issues and which I've never gotten back to.

In terms of new work, I think I need to cleanse my palate a bit and change things up. To that end I have started preliminary work on a 4th Essay and a 2nd String Quartet, both of which will be more avant-garde than the things I have posted here so far.

I don't know when any of this will come to fruition though since, as I said above, I'm currently not finding the inspiration.
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2014, 06:34:54 AM »
Rewrites and cleanups shouldn't be ignored during your creative slow periods. I'm actually regretting not having finished cleaning up the score for Museum of False Memories before getting this involved in new stuff. I've also been meaning to do a major rework of an older orchestral piece for a couple of years now... sketches are all over the place.

mjf1947

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2014, 08:24:40 AM »
I Just finished re working my trilogy for English horn and strings. I made some minor changes.

At the moment I've been very busy playing Oboe. Last weekend my teacher held a "Salon" for her adult students
In Manhattan.  I played the Gordon Jacob Trio for 2 Oboes and English Horn, the Bach Kanata 140 (without the signers), and a Bach duet.
We  had  champagne and a full lush dinner.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PfTZnEclfpg

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Aln7USDW_s4

I am thinking about writing for Oboe. I played an interesting melodic line the other day which generated a few ideas.

One note of  caution.   My mouse finger is showing signs of wear  and tear!

Mark

« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 03:11:45 PM by mjf1947 »

FossMaNo1

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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2014, 03:18:11 PM »
What am I working on? Yikes!

I am getting my church orchestra ready for our Chirstmas performance here on 14th (I actually got a check for $100 from my Music Minister this last weekend as "thanks" for my efforts on his behalf - woohoo!).

The High Plains Music Ensemble is prepping for our Feb "Tour of Space" Concert in which I will be conducting "Battlestar Galactica" and a Star Trek Medley. Neither are really difficult pieces. The only furstration lays in our limited orchestration, sometimes forcing me to piecemeal parts together.

I am part of an Interfaith Christmas Choir also performing on the 14th (this is the group where the pianist asked the conductor to ask me to re-bar the entire work from 12/8 to 6/8...once I did she thanked me and mention it made her head hurt less).

I got a whopper of a flu this last Thursday night (U.S. Thanksgiving). I went to work Friday and was summarily kicked out of the office by my coworkers. Went to bed when I got home. Woke up Saturday morning not feeling any better and realized I still had to get up and run a belt test at my dojo (as the sensei, I kinda can't just call those off...). Got home again and stayed in bed until Sunday morning when I finally felt better. Of course, by then I'd passed along whatever it was I had to my wife...stayed with her through Monday to make sure she was okay (It knocked me out, I figured it had to do the same with her).

I've been wanting to pick up my pencil and sketch again, but I am kinda intimidated to do so. You see, I have three requests and I don't know with which to start with. None of them are paying commissions... hehehe. My church wants me to write something for next Summer's orchestra concert (and by "orchestra" I mean teeny weeny little thing). The principal conductor of my High Plains Music Ensemble would like a concerto for horn and concert band to be performed by the HPME. And, while I was in Texas, I was asked to write a bassoon/piano piece that is "nature" inspired. I'm thinking 3 movements, one of which will be titled "Fall Leaves, Leaves Fall," and hopefully feature the bassoon spastically following a leaf as it falls from a tree in Autumn.

Gah, anything else?!

Oh yeah...I've been sending my "Cosmic Foundations" out to community bands across the midwest U.S. I've gotten quite a few positive reposnses, but no commitments yet. With this time of year, I imagine it be a couple months before I hear anything. Still, my SoundCloud account "plays" has skyrocketted!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 03:20:01 PM by FossMaNo1 »
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Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2014, 03:19:28 PM »
Have to admit I've entered a creative slow period (again) due to "real life" commitments...a state of affairs not likely to change until the new year! :(

But for what it's worth, am trying to get started on a second movement to my most recent (and as yet untitled) offering, as well as still struggling along with the "Dies Irae" from my "Missa Requiem Pro Maria"

Not that I'm making much progress on either...