Welcome to my blog

I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Burnsiana Movement 3

The third movement is based on To A Mouse. The poetry follows.

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles,
but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
An' weary Winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

The first image that comes to mind when reading this poem was of a mouse scurrying through a field. I tried to represented this by using key clicks in the saxophone. The recorded versions of this movement have the saxophone sounds and not the key clicks, so you will need to use your imagination. I was frustrated trying to get the software to playback with the key click sound. First of all, there were no key click sound in the sampled instruments. I tried to change to a percussion sound, but when I did it changed the notation. Then I tried to use an effect like a snap, but heard no difference. If anyone knows how to do this on Sibelius, I would love to learn how to do it.

The key clicks uses a scalar pattern in g minor. They are interrupted by two measures solos and finally a four measure 5/8 phrase. At measure 20, the key clicks come back in a new key but this time the last measure becomes a 5/8 instead of a 6/8 to add a little variety.

Measure 39 ushers in a new section that represents the accidental interruption of nature's balance. This section is mostly in 5/8, an unbalanced meter.

Measure 55 begins a very highly chromatic section and represents the harshness of winter that both the mouse and the plowman must survive. This section culminates in diminished 7th tremolos before transitioning into a more reflective section at measure 91. This reflection uses the key clicks again, but at a slower tempo along with more reflective interruptions that eventually develop into a quiet ending that leaves the listener with an unsure feeling, much in the way Burns' poem does.

To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Burnsiana_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

No comments: