2014 in review (and a new piece, sort of)

Happy New Year!

Today, on the last day of 2014 I feel like looking back over the past year, something I used to do regularly but haven’t for a while. I’m not entirely sure why I’m doing it now, because compositionally speaking, 2014 was pretty much a dud year. I only finished two pieces; Intrada for wind orchestra, and a piece for two marimbas which I finished early in November but never mentioned here because of blogging lethargy.

So I’ll take the time to mention it now; the piece is called A Sudden Wind, and was written for my former student Kyle Lutes and his friend who I haven’t met yet. It is basically a rewrite of an earlier piece, so it may not count as a new composition, but since I recomposed large stretches of it, I am going to add it to the canon. Perhaps I’ll have more to say about it later.

But yeah, that was basically it, apart from a couple of other projects that never went anywhere.

I have not been idle. I’ve been doing many arranging and transcription projects, and also editing earlier pieces that really needed it. Also trying to get my new store website (Imperfect Consonance) up and running, which it is, but still there is work to be done here. So there has actually been a lot of activity here. Let me try to list it:

  • I got interested in doing arrangements for viola ensemble recently, after the experience of attending the International Viola Congress in Rochester NY back in 2012, and hearing several outstanding performances. It took a couple of years for me to get around to it, but this year I managed to crank out several arrangements for viola quartet. Most of them are now up at the IC site. There will be a few more arrangements, and looking forward I’d like to do a couple of original pieces before I’m done.
  • I am just putting the finishing touches on something that has been an ongoing back-burner project for over six years (and had been at the back of my mind for at least twenty years before that). Very soon I will be able to release my arrangement of five movements from Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat for string quartet. It’s basically done, but a few rough edges need to be smoothed out and parts need to be prepared, which always takes longer than you think it’s going to.
  • Swan’s Wing Press, my old imprint, is still on the web but will be retired forever, hopefully by summer. I want everything to be updated and ready at Imperfect Consonance before I make the switch, a process which is still ongoing and (like everything else) is taking longer than I expected.
  • Several pieces have been edited and engraved to as near perfection as I can manage, including my arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner and my re-orchestration of Strauss’s Festival Prelude, both pretty large projects.

So that’s my look back. Tomorrow, being the first day of 2015, I’ll try looking forward.

Meanwhile, and completely apropos of nothing, I have learned that in Denmark it is traditional to jump off a chair or something just as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, so that you aren’t touching the ground as the year changes. Doubtless this makes sense to Danes.

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