I had a nice rehearsal with the Millersville University Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble on Wednesday as they are preparing my Quartet for Tubas for an October 24th Octubafest program. The students were very responsive to my suggestions and showed a lot of improvement in that one rehearsal. I am looking forward to the Oct. 24th performance. In addition, another performance fell into place with the Lancaster/Lebanon County Orchestra Festival to be held on Feb. 2, 2008. They will be doing my "Gettysburg Portrait". I always enjoy writing for and working with educational groups to help expose them to some contemporary sounds and treatment of musical material.
Between yesterday and today, I worked on the end of Hearts and the beginning of Diamonds. I am contemplating separate movements again instead of one continuous movement. There are smooth transitions between the first three sections, but I think I want a complete break between Diamonds (Riches) and Clubs (War). I'll know more when I reach that point. The transition between Hearts and Diamonds might need to be changed if I go that route because I am setting up the Diamond section towards the end of Hearts with the dotted eighth - sixteenth , eighth note - eighth rest idea that first occurs at measure 80, again at 85 and extended at 97. The motif at 97 then becomes one of the motifs I use in Diamonds at 99 etc.
When I was thinking generally how I wanted to represent the suits, Diamonds was the one that seemed the hardest. My wife suggested a regal march for riches, but I settled on a waltz rhythm. I envision a regal ballroom and people swirling across the floor alla 19th century Vienna. So opposite the dotted motif is a flowing line that appears first divided among the tubas and then in the 1st euphonium and 1st tuba. This is often accompanied by a flowing 1 2 (3) rhythm in the other tubas. The harmony is luxurious as well, being chords in fourths, seventh chords, etc. Again my harmony is derived both vertically and horizontally and while it has a sense of tonality, in wanders around a lot.
I extended the rubato section of Hearts by continuing the dialog section and leading it into a reprise of the lyrical melody section in a different tonality before arriving back at the original tonal center.
To see and hear what is discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/suitsuiteblog.html