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Fall Augustana concert; new composition; Ravel book

Joshua Iyer

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Published: October 11, 2015 at 8:36 PM [UTC]

I've had quite the musical weekend - I've (very roughly) finished my newest composition, a chamber piece in one movement - but perhaps more excitingly, I had my first concert playing in the Augustana Symphony! We played the Mendelssohn Reformation and the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, and it was a lot of fun throughout! Except for the slow movements, where the second violins were not doing very much... Oh well. I didn't quite nail all of the rapid-note passages, but I did a lot better than when we first got this music. It was cool being able to play in the entire hour-long concert, and playing orchestral music, especially in a full symphony, is so much fun, especially when I noticed some moments like in the third movement of the Mozart where the violins and horns line up, or something like that. We have a week before our next rehearsal, where we are going to be playing Christmas music and music for our Winter concert in February, I believe.

My chamber piece has been a roller-coaster to write. I've managed to get it down to 8 minutes of continuous music, albeit there are probably still some sections I need to smooth out with transitions. It was really fun yesterday before the concert because I got to play through the piece with my harpist friend, and got to work one-on-one with her through my glissandos and other harp effects I'd included in the piece. I had never really seen a harp quite up close until today, so it was really a fantastic experience, as I've been totally enthralled with the harp ever since Ravel's Introduction, and I guess even before when I included harp-writing in my early symphonic works. It's just been fantastic seeing the beautiful autumn mornings and getting inspired by the pretty colors and open blue skies, and seeing all the trees and fountains and everything. Autumn is my favorite season, so I've been able to write hopefully some pretty great music. I know this piece will probably be what I focus on for at least the rest of the term, and then perhaps I'll be able to play it with my chamber group for a future recital. I can't wait to share it with all of you!

Finally, the orchestration of my "Minuet for Piano" is going very slowly, but I'll be playing the piano piece for a recital at the end of the month. I can also mention that early last month I checked out a book from the library called "The Ravel Reader", which is a fantastic collection of Ravel's life through his letters he's received or sent through the mail, as well as interviews and articles conducted and written during that time. It's so neat being able to read about his plans for writing pieces of music, or for saying certain projects are coming quickly or going slowly, and to see him move from Paris to the War and even discussing other composers like Debussy or Stravinsky, and Ravel's fascination with Mozart. It's a really great book discussing my favorite composer, and whenever I come across the Sonata for Violin and Cello or his discussions of both of his Violin Sonatas, all of which I pull out of my binder to play on my own violin at times in the practice room, I of course get really excited to see where that inspiration came from, just as when I was working on playing my own violin concerto last year, "Little Snow-White". I think I'm going to leave it there, so hope you have a nice day!

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