More Summer's Twilight

Sorry to be away for almost a month – I’ve been moving, starting work at Meet The Composer while still looking for full-time work, going to a wedding in Rhode Island, that sort of thing. It always takes me a little while after a move to feel comfortable enough to start writing again, but I seem to have settled into my life in New York enough to work. It is still heavy lifting working on Summer’s Twilight – it seems that the longer I spend working on this piece the more inertia it acquires, the more complex even simple decisions become. That said, I’ve got a very strong re-write of the opening. It used to be an aria I was very proud of, and now is a slightly shorter arietta, with more space for the ideas to breathe. The problem was that the original aria, Hermia’s, was too wordy and strong. I want the piece to open with Hermia’s reaction to the threat of forced marriage to Demetrius; we start with her terror, which is subsequently explained. This re-write strengthens the Hermia’s fear by not giving her complex metaphorical language to dispense while in intense emotional distress. The biggest issue still facing me is the question of ensemble architecture. this is one of the big questions for any kind of music-theatre. If people are singing at the same time, why? They can sing very similar music simultaneously to show, usually, a similarity of feeling, or they can sing wildly contrasting music either simultaneously or alternately to show conflict. A particular question for me is this: where should I strike the balance between quick dramatic moves and expansive, emotive music? If I speed the drama along too quickly, the music will become pointless, and an impediment to storytelling instead of an aid. If I luxuriate in beautiful sounds too long, even if those sounds express perfectly the character’s inner state, the drama will stagnate, and the audience will be bored. My current goal is to draft a range of different ensembles, and get some hard data to help guide the rest of the writing process. Let’s hope it works out.

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