Summer. Time for wrapping up old projects, planning new ones, and tons of leisure time in between. In the former category, I’m happy to report that I recently finished scoring Timothy Lanzone’s Travelling Salesman – a project which I began almost a year ago! The film should be ready for screening at some point in the very near future. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I’m moving forward on my current project, a set of pieces for mixed ensemble (cl hn perc vln cb) based on the LEGO creations of my 4-year-old nephew. On the right is the one I’m currently working on capturing. In my nephew’s words: “This is Thai-Sen’s Speed Motor Car. It shoots laser fire out of the back. That means it goes so fast.”
Below is another movement for the piece: Obi-Wan’s spaceship (no, not all of them are from the Star Wars universe). Let me paraphrase his commentary on this one: it goes really fast. Also, it “spins in the air and it can jump over things…it’s really a good guy spaceship…it has two yellow bombs in the front. It’s yellow for when it’s so bright out and that’s their camouflage.”
There will likely be about 5-7 of these short pieces – a set of LEGO miniatures of some sort. And even though it may seem silly in some way, I’m taking it as a serious collaboration: he builds the sets, invents the background stories, gives them names. All I’m doing is trying to weave these elements into a musical fabric that somehow, abstractly, resembles its subject. This has, after all, been done many times in the
past…think of Petroushka, Debussy’s Children’s Corner and many of his Preludes; some of Bartok’s Mikrokosmos and other pieces for children; Ravel’s L’enfant, Ma mere l’oye, Noel des jouets. In fact, much of Ravel’s output reveals a deep connection and delight with childlike imagination. Recently, we have Thomas Ades’ Living Toys and David Lang’s Pulitzer-winning The Little Match Girl Passion as examples of using children’s fantasies as the impetus for a work.
In other summer-related news, I’ve been watching a lot of Seinfeld lately and have had that theme song continually running in my head. Just goes to show the power of using rhythm, groove, and instrumentation to create something memorable out of otherwise simple and straightforward material. It also goes to show I’ve been watching way too much Seinfeld (not that there’s anything wrong with that).