Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March Ketchup

Rules of Writing Even a Dog Could Understand
It seems I'm always playing catch-up...

One of the side-effects of practicing extreme procrastination, I guess.

The idea had been to write more in the blog, but instead most of my blog-writing has been happening elsewhere, since my last "new" post here: a recent concert with the Harrisburg Symphony had me writing about Shostakovich's 1st Cello Concerto and Beethoven's 2nd Symphony.

Plus this week's concert with the Doric Quartet at Market Square Concerts – a performance Thursday night (8pm) at Temple Ohev Sholom – got me involved in Haydn and Korngold and another Beethoven work, his A Minor String Quartet, Op. 132.

But as I look ahead, there's another Market Square Concert program next week with the Enso Quartet which had been postponed because of that January Blizzard (30” of snow, yeah?). It will now be held at Market Square Church which I prefer (better acoustics, as far as I'm concerned). While I'd written two blog-posts about the original concert (Ginastera 1st, Dutilleux's Ainsi la Nuit and Beethoven's Op.59/3) and prepared my pre-concert talk accordingly, because of the nature of the Enso's tour, they asked to change the repertoire to reflect what they'd be playing in April – still Ginastera, Dutilleux and Beethoven but Ginastera's 2nd Quartet and Beethoven's “Harp” Quartet instead.

So yeah, I'm writing a lot about Beethoven Quartets, lately. At least I was able to use the Razumovsky post for the Cypress Quartet when they came to town on their Farewell Tour, friends I will miss seeing – and most of all, hearing – after they disband at the end of June.

* * ** *** ***** ******** ***** *** ** * * 

On the novel front, I managed to finish Chapter 8 which concludes Part One (of four) of In Search of Tom Purdue and in the process created (for their few-hundred-words' walk-on) a group of middle-school band members who formed a group of imaginary super-heroes they call The Tonic Avengers, out to protect music from the likes of the Evil Schoenberg (and in the process, discover the body of Murder Victim #2, Belle diVedremo, Tom Purdue's publisher).

Then there was the introduction of the latest new character as I finish up the necessary exposition, a thinly veiled parody of a British television phenomenon I call The Kapellmeister, a Tempo Lord. He wears something that looks like an 18th-Century baroque court-musician's uniform but made primarily of tweed - oh yes, and a woolen scarf that, when stretched out, probably measures about ten feet long. I haven't quite figured out his mode-of-travel, perhaps a metronome, one of those old pyramidal jobs with the light that flashes the pulse though one could argue the oscillating pendulum-thingee could make a good rotor-substitute.

He also carries an all-purpose something-or-other called a Tonic Screwdriver and has a traveling companion named V7, a robotic chameleon that lives in one of his pockets. (To explain the V7, for those fans of K-9 who may not be into music theory, a V7 is the symbol for a Dominant 7th Chord which traditionally is expected to resolve to the tonic (or I) chord - ah, but it's the foiled expectations that keep the music going...)

And he's in search of something called the Belcher Codex, attributed to early American composer and singing-master, Supply Belcher, a contemporary of the better-known William Billings. But more of that in the next chapter – and I've realized I've reached a point where I need to do both more planning and research, both enemies of actual work.

That's been part of the problem with getting writing done the past couple of weeks – back trouble and the continued aggravation of Ye Olde Pulled Muscle aside – everything so far had been planned out in advance and while I know where things are going long-term, some of the short-term points along the way, not so much. That's the assignment for the rest of this week, along with preparation for the January-in-April Concert with Ginastera, Dutilleux and Beethoven.

And on top of that, I've solved a problem with how to start a new piece of music I have been putting off for years – and I do mean years – which since last summer has become more of a front-burner item, a basic structural outline having been established by late-June. To start work on that now would surely doom the novel to a hiatus it might not survive – but then, writing a novel no one will read might be a sacrifice worthy of a 21-minute English Horn & Orchestra piece no one will play. It's a toss-up...

On the other hand, I've put off putting off getting new glasses – no longer! It's probably been 10-15 years since I got the ones I'm wearing now and while my astigmatism is a wonder to behold (I think the optometrist was near despair trying to figure out my new prescription), I've decided to get a pair of reading glasses as well since one thing I've discovered is you can't move the screen on a laptop further back from the keyboard just to make reading it easier. Other than increasing the font-size exponentially, we'll see how this works out – they'll be ready probably later this week, maybe next week.

But for now, back to the drawing board to work out some details for the Adventures of Dr. Kerr and the Kapellmeister before I can begin Chapter #9.

- Dick Strawser

No comments:

Post a Comment