January 28, 2020
Battling Victorian Kittens, Bosses of Batons, and Looming Deadlines
I am coming up to the end of my first month as a full-time composer – holy wow. Yesterday I had a staff meeting – yes, the members in attendance were a bit unruly. I asked myself the following questions:
I had asked myself these same questions in September when I first started my journey towards pursuing full-time composition. The difference in the answers between then and now was actually very encouraging and inspiring. The answers were completely different because I had achieved my goals I set in September (i.e. working towards composing full-time). So now I have a new set of goals!
So what did I get up to this month? I have mostly been working on the Mozart Reimagined project for the SSO & Collectif. Oh my word – a piece of music never struggled so much to get birthed into the world. You would think the spirit of Mozart was stopping me from changing anything he wrote. Well too bad, Mozart - I think I’ve got something now… maybe. Deadline is in a few days… bring it on!
Other activities this month have included beginning a performance collaboration with flautist Emma Kramer-Roger, attending a conducting Q & A with Shaun Bzdel hosted by Saskatoon Summer Players (Bzdel is the BOSS of the baton –see bottom of this post!), and I began baking on a regular basis – Mondays to be exact! Self-care at its finest :)
Last week I had a Skype rehearsal with the Goodchild Grady Duo, and one of their cats, Artemis, in preparation for their concert in February (see more here!). This was the first time I got to hear the newest version of “Cat Fight,” which I wrote for them in 2018 and edited last year. It’s interesting how a piece can evolve over time. This one in particular I wrote in a Rondo form (ABACA) and utilized repeats on each section (like the Villa Lobos Prelude I was working on at the time), making it AABBAACCAA. Yet I always felt so torn about the length of the piece. It felt like it dragged a bit. But I was so certain that since Villa Lobos could repeat each section, I could too. Well, Kendra, that is not truth for anyone. Just because it works for Bernstein or Sondheim or Mozart or the Spice Girls does not mean that it will work for you. And just because something works for you doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. So now we fast forward to the present, and I have gone with my intuition for this round of the cat fight - I have taken out those repeats and now the piece moves so much more smoothly! So a lesson to you all – listen to your intuition. There’s a really good chance it’s leading you down the right path!