Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birth of a Piece #4


I'm in the home stretch for my recital on May 6th here in Cleveland. Randy and I have been working a lot on Margi Griebling-Haigh's new piece, "Sortil√®ge".  

Yesterday we played through the piece for Margi and rehearsed it some afterwards. She had some good suggestions, in particular, ways in which to achieve the mood of certain sections.

Randy and I had made some small changes to the piece in her absence.  We tinkered with a few tempos and ritards, accelerandos, etc. We wanted to see if those worked for her, too.  We ended up keeping some and restoring others.  We've all been friends for a long time, so there was a very comfortable environment for making criticisms and discussing musical ideas.

This is not always the case with a composer! I've commissioned lots of music from many composers in my career. Each person is different to work with. It is important for the performer to judge what kind of interaction with the composer is helpful or possible or even if one is desired at all.

I can think of one composer whom we intentionally kept out of rehearsals because of his overly critical and micro-managing behavior in the past! We didn't let him hear the piece until the premiere!

Another composer who's written a lot for me has the philosophy that once a piece is written, the composer needs to let go and enjoy the new life given it by the performers.

What experiences have you had working on a new piece with the composer?

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