"Composer's Datebook" on IP, and other comp biz

I had to work yesterday; I was coming in and hit the tail end of "Composer's Datebook", which was about Walter Damrosch's first American performance of Parsifal. Wagner had wanted it reserved for Bayreuth, so parts were not to be had. But a miniature score was available, and when Damrosch found out that the penalty for unauthorized performance was only 50 pounds, he set some copyists to work, and did a concert performance at the Met in 1886 (with a member of the original cast, yet). The impression left was that it was a good thing that Parsifal was shared with the world, and so it was, I think. But I have to wonder what a contemporary composer (or, more accurately, his heirs, as Wagner was already dead) would have done in such a case, and whether Composer's Datebook at all represents an official ACF take on such things. Then, name me one living American composer that anyone would go through such trouble to perform. Would anyone bootleg parts to a John Adams opera?

I found out about a week ago that Suburban Symphony was going to read and record my symphony (thanks, guys). Only...er...the parts weren't done. I'd formatted (but not copied) the winds, but the strings (13 different parts!) were going to be a chewy bit. well, I finished all formatting and copying this afternoon, and the set is in a box waiting for instructions on where to deliver it. They aren't perfect parts; every time I look, I see little goofs, mostly graphic rather than content. I worry that there's not enough information, esp. bowings and cues...or too many notes. I hope I can get them into proper hands before their Weds. rehearsal...which would give players 2 weeks to woodshed before the reading. I've never had a reading of this long a piece (24'/640 measures), for this large an orchestra (2-2-2-2-2 4-2-3-1 3, strings 8-7-5-5-3), and the players are an unknown quantity to me, so I'm nervous, even though I had always aimed the symphony at a community-type orchestra.

Now to focus on trying to finish the sax/vl/pf trio.


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In the suburbs of which city does this Symphony perform? Cleveland? And what is this being recorded for? NPR? Or for a commercial CD? (Or even a non commercial CD--back in college, the Music Department recorded all the performances and issued store-quality records of the major concerts for the edification and enthusiasm of performers and families. This was back in the days of vinyl. Somewhere in some people's music collection is my voice among the baritones in Missa Solemnis.)

Whichever, congratulations are in order.


Posted by: Jeffrey Quick
Posted on: March 5, 2007 08:53 AM

No, this will be a one-off for my own edification and promotion. There's a chance of a performance, if the orchestra likes it, but only a chance. And there are 3 other pieces involved in this project. So I'll likely only get a runthrough and some touch-up before the recording. Still a good deal.

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