September update (somewhat overdue)

It’s a bit later than I like to post these things, but here’s what I’m working on right now.

New arrangements: I’ve begun work on a series of orchestral arrangements for Steve Lippia. When we talked on the phone a few weeks ago, he mentioned a total of seven possible titles, mostly taken from the Great American Songbook. I’m currently at work on the first one, Beyond the Sea. (I don’t remember the composer just now, but the song was made popular by Bobby Darin.) Nearly done with it, and planning to begin Stardust next. Looking forward to that one. Stardust has always been one of my favorite songs, and I’ve always wanted to arrange it. I’m happy for the opportunity.

New compositions: I now have a couple of new pieces in the beginning stages. The proposed trio for clarinet, bassoon, and piano is apparently a go, so I’m devoting some thought to it. I have a few pages of sketches for a possible three-movement work, but nothing really concrete just yet. And I doubt that I’ll have much time to work on it till the spring, so I have plenty of time to think about it.

Also, I started scratching out an idea that’s been lurking in my conciousness for quite a while now; a setting of James Joyce’s Strings In The Earth And Air (the first poem in the Chamber Music collection), written for tenor, viola, and piano. This is kind of a revival of an old idea, going back 30 years or so. The poem was the text for the very first song I ever wrote, back when I was 18. I planned for it to be the beginning of a song cycle, which would include 8 songs altogether, but I never got very far with that idea. I’m now considering reviving it. I lost the old setting of the poem a long time ago (not a great loss, from what I can recall of it). The new setting is entirely new, though I may quote a phrase or two from the old setting, just for the sake of nostalgia, if nothing else.

I had a good time writing my previous cycle of songs with viola, The Rain Is Full Of Ghosts, so I’ve had the idea of a new set for a while now. Assuming I see my plan through, I will have written a total of eleven songs with viola, which as far as I know will be a world record! (Loeffler wrote nine.)

New publication: In Praise Of Folly for trombone, euphonium, and piano, arrived from the printer last week, so it is officially available even though I still haven’t finished updating the Swan’s Wing Press website. Concerto Piccolo will be next. All that’s left is the cover, so it should go to the printer in a few days.

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