Thursday, June 9, 2011

What I have been doing: A frivolous blog

I have been trying to catch up on some work at Wesleyan (yes, I know it’s summer and I should be doing other things) and some things around the house. But what has obsessed me is the libretto for my new oratorio on the subject of Aristides de Sousa Mendes. (If you don’t know who he was, google him—an extremely important person and an unsung hero of the mid-twentieth century.) Secondarily I have been obsessed with the title of this libretto. Both of these topics are subjects for next week.

At the same time I have been practicing, preparing to record twenty-five Ives songs tomorrow with Elizabeth Saunders and David Barron. This is the first day of recording (six hours! just over four songs an hour!) and I’ll know more about how this is going to work after we do it. Pretty intense. Ditto the libretto.

Well, the first draft of the libretto is finished and duplicated for the board of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. The die is cast for the recording session, though I will certainly practice later today. So I feel the need for an intellectual change of pace, and frivolous blogging is just what the doctor ordered.

First, my restless mind turns to my idea of a series of piano concerti modeled on Rhapsody in Blue. My first thoughts are of titles. (This is surely a backlash from the agony of finding a title for the oratorio.) It crossed my mind that colors would be good, excepting blue of course. Rhapsody in Taupe, for example. No sooner had I articulated the thought than I had rejected it. Such titles have no merit and there are too many colors associated with pieces of music already. (With the stunning exception of Rhapsody in Blue, of course.) But unbidden, titles containing fruits presented themselves. I offer the list as comic relief, but in the complete conviction that something will come of it.

Peach Rhapsody

Pineapple Rhapsody

Guava Rhapsody

Mango Rhapsody

Grapefruit Rhapsody

Fig Rhapsody

Persimmon Rhapsody

Cherry Rhapsody

Apple Rhapsody

Banana Rhapsody

Lime Rhapsody

Nectarine Rhapsody

Watermelon Rhapsody

Ugly Fruit Rhapsody

Cantaloupe Rhapsody

Grape Rhapsody

Strawberry Rhapsody

Star Fruit Rhapsody

Honeydew Rhapsody

Blackberry Rhapsody

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