Copland House…My House?

Tomorrow I will depart for my three week residency at Copland House, the former home of the acclaimed American composer, Aaron Copland, north of New York City. While in residence, I have a number of projects to pursue. Initially, I plan to make final revisions—some small, others rather significant—to three works that are among those to be recorded next month for my first portrait CD for Albany Records. Two of these works—They Say, for guitar, and Inner Truth, for piano —are very recent, having been premiered in April and June, respectively. The other work I will revise is much older.

Noticing, for clarinet and violin, was commissioned with support of a Subito Grant from American Composers Forum and premiered ages ago…way back in 2010! It is one of a number of works of mine to have connections with Korean traditional music.  In this case, the work was inspired by a specific performance I heard in New York. I tried to apply some of the techniques I observed in the music in my own Western instrument piece.  Although the piece has been performed successfully a number of times, there have always been a few spots that I wanted to tidy up in order to bring the piece to full maturity.  Now seems like the right time.

Revision is a tricky matter that I pursue with caution. One doesn’t want to get overly involved in changing an existing work, because it can lead one down a very long—perhaps never-ending—path. Still, after a work is premiered, I have often found a measure here or a beat there that require some fine tuning. While these changes may seem small on the surface, they often help to stabilize the work on a number of levels. Let us hope these modifications help the piece to “stand the test of time.”

Besides the preparatory work for my Albany recording, the main project I will pursue at Copland House is an orchestral work with which I have had what might be called an on-again, off-again relationship for a number of years. The details of this affair will have to wait for a future post. For now, I must pack my bags (again!) and prepare for tomorrow’s travels.