With everything happening with COVID, it has been incredibly frustrating and difficult for musicians to get together and make music. However, there are some positives that have come out of this (at least for me). I have experienced the annoyance of trying to practice violin duets with my friend over Zoom since the summer for our album of musicals arranged by me - but I doubt we would have ever started planning it if not for the virus. (I'll certainly do a big post on the album and some behind the scenes working on it once we really get going with it! It's still just a casual thing right now.) I've been able to watch lots of online virtual concerts, which nowhere near the real thing, are still nice and make me feel like I'm with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, or wherever.
This past weekend, I was part of a special event for student composers called the New Music Collage. It was started by one of my colleagues and I helped edit Night 2 of the weekend recitals (that was a stressful time!), on October 25th, 2020, through Facebook Live. At the end of it, my Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano was premiered, and it was really fun to hear it put together! I had done a lot of recording of the piece over the summer, and Anna Marshall, my horn player, finished up her recordings more recently. This is a piece that's compositionally something I'm not sure how proud of I am (although my friend after the concert said it was a signature Iyer piece, which made me feel a bit better...) - I've been in a compositional slump for a while, partly why taking up the violin again has been more appealing. However, where I'm at with this String Quartet I'm writing for a couple contests due December 1, I feel I am at a place I am excited about with it - more on this next month I would imagine!
From what I remember, the process of recording the piece went very smoothly, when I was at home away from college for the summer. I don't have the best equipment, especially for the piano. I'm only using the upright in the living room, and I had to put the mic further from the piano to avoid clipping. Luckily, the violin has its full sound I could capture from the basement (I do all my recording and covers there now, because it's a much larger space for the sound to explore). It's not perfect, but I am still proud of the final result.
If you want to see the entire concert click here.
If you want to hear just my piece, which I also just put on my website, click here.
In other news, I know in my article on my serial piece I was discussing my MUS 408E class and the eclectic collection of pieces ahead for the class (not unlike this New Music recital!). There were a couple pieces on there I really enjoyed, like John Cage's String Quartet in Four Parts (1950) as a meditative study, or his Freeman Etudes (in two books, 1977-1980; later completed 1989-1990), based on star charts, extremely difficult pieces that are full of technical detail. I'd be very curious to explore the Freeman Etudes further in the future, even though I have no intention of playing them. In one of my classes, I've taken my violin to the dance studio to do some improvisation exercises, which have been really fun (my only hybrid in-person class at the moment). It has been lovely to be able to improvise a bit, similarly to Kali Yuga at Augustana.
That's about all for now. Happy practicing!Tweet
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