Summer projects

May 20, 2006

“Puerto Vallarta Alley” by Roger Bourland

When I applied for my sabbatical from the UCLA Department of Music, my employer, I had originally planned on starting an opera about a famous Mexican opera star who had an amazingly tragic life. A book on Rufus Wainwright shoved its way to the front burner and sits half-done on my computer. I have been releasing chunks of it on this blog. As both of these were my own projects and not commissions, they were displaced once several commissions came in.

  1. Commission for three chamber operas from the Thornton Wilder estate.
  2. Set of pieces for women’s chorus on the poet Francisco X Alarc√≥n: “Alarcon Madrigals, Book 3” for Vox Femina, a women’s chorus in Los Angeles directed by Dr. Iris Levine.
  3. Music for the film “Cages“; I had originally scored half of the film, the other half being pre-existing songs to be licensed for use in the film. These songs have now been dropped in favor of an all-Bourland score.

Shoved to the back burner are the following projects:

  1. The Music of Rufus Wainwright (book) — sorry gang, my music comes first. I will salt away at this book and finish it before too very long.
  2. My opera “Duarte’s Wive’s”; a great story, I just have to figure out how to not compose a 19th century opera. The story is so embedded in the 19th century, that to take it out of that era makes it lose its identity. Stay tuned.
  3. 12 Songs for voice and piano; portraits of people who have been in my life. I have just about finished “harvesting” songs from old abandoned works, turning them into voice and piano works. Next I want to write an entirely new set of songs for voice and piano. I am entertaining writing the words myself, as these lyrics will be about people I have known who have taught me things, or made a strong impression on my — good or bad. It’s this ‘talking about people’ that Joni Mitchell used to do so brilliantly that I want to explore as a songwriter.

There are several other big seeds germinating that I won’t mention until they become real. Until then, I have more than enough to keep me busy.

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