I’ve been doing a bit of late-Spring cleaning around the site—poke around for awhile, see if you don’t find something new.
The reason this tidying-up comes about so late is that I’ve been feeling a bit unsettled. Not in a bad way, just peripatetic, and for me, traveling does not condone any kind of web-work. I’m the sort of person who needs to have every stray file on the desktop accounted for, every implement on the actual desk set straight, before I sit down to do any Real Work. For this reason, the month of May was lost to any composing, and I’m now scrambling to make up for lost time.
The definition of Real Work seems to shift, too; it means the thing which I am not working on at the very moment, so while practicing, it is writing, and vice versa.
I’m writing a set of “work songs” at the moment, for three singers, all of whom are also composers and friends. The text on my screen right now is a poem called “To Whom it May Concern” by Andrea Cohen, which I think is just about the cleverest thing anyone’s ever set down on paper.
Here is something else stressful. I haven’t worked a lot with preexisting text—haven’t written much vocal music, period—and therefore don’t have much experience tracking down the permissions to set texts. The whole things is quite mysterious, and it’s different for everything; sometimes you ask the author directly, and sometimes they are lovely and friendly and say Yes, of course; sometimes you ask an agent; sometimes you ask a “rights management company”, whatever that is; sometimes they want a comically small amount of money, other times comically large. Sometimes it’s dead silence. And of course, once you get around to asking for permission to use a text, it means you’ve already got your heart set on it, in which case a “No” feels like a Major Artistic Setback.
I don’t have air conditioning in my new apartment, but I do have the next best thing, which is two of these: