Busy Week

This has been a busy, busy week. Last Thursday, the film version of The Seafarer screened at a Thesia Arts event.  The film, not quite finished, was very well received. It was screened in the company of about a half dozen other films, including experimental mixed media animation, a pop music video, a rather elaborate Twilight joke, and a hilarious short about lonely mad scientists. The Old English poetry, even though translated, was definitely a different thing for the audience.

We’ve still got to finish up sound design and color correction, as well as some syncing issues going between Final Cut and Pro Tools, but the film is nearly finished. (By the way, if you have any insights on how to deal with a .03% delay issue going between these two systems, let me know in comments – it’s a really irritating problem.) The Seafarer as a film has been a long time coming, as it’s become the “when I have time” project for everyone working on it, with no firm deadlines and more pressing projects constantly coming up. That’s both good and bad, as it means people aren’t doing hurried work on it, but also that it’s taking a long time. It was really good to get the film up in whatever version in front of an audience, and hear what they thought, and how effective even something weird like this can be.

Last Wednesday, I went to my first Meet The Composer board meeting to make a presentation about a new initiative I’ve been working on. Hopefully as we get more of the details settled I can blog a bit about it here – it’s a very exciting project. The presentation went well, up at the ASCAP board room, and then I headed way downtown to the Stone.

I was wearing a suit for the board meeting, and the Stone is on Avenue C at Houston, so I looked a bit out of place. MTC’s board members even gave me grief about being the first guy ever to go to the Stone in a suit. Then my brother showed up in a similar pinstripe suit he was wearing for a work event, though, so there were two of us.

Zach Herchen opened his show at the stone with my solo piece, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I wrote it for him initially almost five years ago, and revised it last year for his masters recital. He was fantastic. As a saxophone player he’s changed so much in the time we’ve been working together, and has really become a phenomenal musician. The piece requires him to take the horn out of his mouth and act, and though that’s uncomfortable for him, he’s very good at it, and the intensity and stagecraft he brings to his saxophone playing take over. I’ve never seen as rich and nuanced a reading as he did at the Stone. The character he created was so vivid – it wasn’t just the ‘text’ part of a chamber work, I wanted to know more about that character.

He also did works of John Crouch, David Witmer, Ying-Chen Kao and Paul Leary, and was joined by a good range of other talented musicians. It was a great show from top to bottom, including shouting into the piano, live electronics and coded radio transmissions from World War II. The Stone is a strange venue and far away, but if there are more shows there like Zach’s, I’m heading back in a hurry.

Now that that week is finished I can take what little time I have and get back to Summer’s Twilight, helping Alan Jeffries with his film cues, producing that documentary about Thornton Willis, and doing the usual round of program applications that the spring brings. You know, time off.

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