March 13, 2012

The Whisper of the Muse

Composer, Igor Stravinsky once modestly stated that, when composing his famous ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” he was “…but the vessel through which the work passed.” Oh pullease. Igor, get over yourself.

Or perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to condemn that possibility.

Twice this week I felt that I was blatantly interfered with, and both times probably by Berlioz.

In opera, sometimes you have to put on the brakes. A note will sound, signaling some kind of change about to happen. I got the brilliant idea to do just that at one point. In a 3/2 bar, I put in a dotted whole note, played by a solo horn. Playback. Horn plays a whole note. I double check, yes, sure enough, there is a dotted whole note written. I played it again and damned if it didn’t play back a whole note, but damned if I didn’t like THAT better. So I changed it to the whole note. It sounded more like Berlioz now.

I was just now finishing a counterpoint in a line that ended on F#. I was sitting there eating popcorn, cogitating, when all of a sudden WHAM. The F# turned into an A, a minor 3rd higher, and damned, if it didn’t sound better. So I changed it. The rapidity of change before my eyes could only be an impulsive guy like Berlioz, or James Merrill’s Mirabell.

I don’t know, perhaps I have a spiky internet line, or on rainy days, like today, funny things happen to computers. Or people.

Photo: “The Whisper of the Muse“Julia Margaret Cameron, (1815-1879), photographer

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