Gearing Up for a Write
I had visions of writing a very short short story today, American style, but got swallowed up in the research surrounding what's been swirling in my mind and consciousness. I'm trailing behind but checking in before sitting down to work on a genre I've never attempted before (I will admit “Good Country People” is still a standby on my list of favorites in American literature and wonder if there might be a way for me to work a wooden leg into my own story in homage?).
On the research trail today I discovered I must have been struck by the muses when I programmed this recital … Most violinists when researching program notes stick to the basics surrounding the work itself, the form, the basic highlights about the composer's comments and dedications, but my days working for a historian as a research assistant taught me some habits that are tough to break. Every piece of music is part of a much bigger story and the junior detective in me wants to uncover it. The real me ends up getting sucked down a rabbit hole of people, places, letters, piecing things together and making connections.
Copland was working on his Violin Sonata in between takes of the movie The North Star for which he was supplying the film score. Oddly enough, The North Star (okay, okay, I might have watched it today) is about a small farming town in the Ukraine taken over by Nazis. While Copland composed the music, the lyrics were written by, none other than (drum roll) Ira Gershwin. Just prior to playing Copland, I will be playing music written by arguably the greatest Ukranian composer from a rural village--Prokofiev—and following the Copland with a composition by George Gershwin. I know this is small scale on the serendipitous meter, but to my nerd self it was like a small kiss on the forehead from the music lords letting me know my heavily pored over programming effort has been affirmed!
There's more to say, but it's best said when I have a moment to write my tribute to Copland … I will say the privilege of coming to know these works, the lessons they teach, the insights and connections I find, is everything. For the longest time I've been hiding under the amateur banner on purpose, hoping to keep all this to myself to protect it from the politics that so often dampen sharing things that are this personal.
But then, we wouldn't have a Sonata if Copland had that attitude … time to write it. Back in two shakes!