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Listening to a Piece Two Years Later

If you're in the Red Hook, NY area, come hear the Bard Orchestra perform tonight (8 PM) at the Sosnoff Theater in the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free, so you know you want to go.

Here's a blurb about the concert:

Under the direction of conductor Nathan Madsen, the program features guest pianist Manon Hutton-DeWys performing Joan Tower’s Piano Concerto, (Homage to Beethoven), (1985). Other works to be performed include Jennifer Jolley’s “All Grief Empty, the Clear Night Passe Passes” (2008); Ernst Bloch’s Concerto Grosso for Piano and Strings (1925); Silvestre Revultas’s, Ocho por Radio (1933); and Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Music for Small Orchestra (1926). The program is sponsored by the Bard Music Program. For more information, contact Greg Armbruster,, 845-758-7091.

(Note to self: Nix the long titles, or else you run the risk of someone misspelling it. Also, I have no idea why my title is in quotes, but there it is.)

This is an ambitious program; I'm looking forward to hearing it! I also can't believe I'm on the same program as all these other heavyweights.

Anyway, I have to admit it's weird having your piece performed two years after you wrote it. I've never had the experience of listening to a piece two years after I wrote it; normally composers at my level write a piece, have it performed, ponder about what worked or didn't work, and move on. Here I must confront what I wrote two years ago.

Honestly, two years ago I thought this piece was decent. I knew it had its issues, but after thinking about it too much, I thought maybe I should move on. My partner convinced me that it was a good piece! I really wasn't sure at the time, but after listening to it during the dress rehearsal last night, I though, hey, maybe this piece isn't bad after all.

I guess what I'm saying is (and this is more advice to young composers), please go back and listen to your old pieces. This may sound painful, but I think you will realize that you wrote some decent pieces when you were younger (even though you were probably 18 years old at the time).

Here's a preview of tonight's piece:

Performed by the CCM Chamber Players, Rodney Winther, conductor. (November 2008).

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