When readers call to request information about New York City, you can usually hear the trepidation in their voices. It’s almost as if they were planning to visit some foreign city and had no command of the language. New York can have that effect on people, particularly for first-time visitors whose perception of the city often stems from the lurid accounts they see on television crime dramas.
Most of the calls I take are from people who want to know how to obtain tickets for Broadway’s hit shows. That, too, can be a challenge, although today it’s considerably easier than it was two decades ago. With orchestra seats approaching the princely sum of $150, you clearly want to know your seat location. The major ticket sources weren’t always so accommodating; they’d sell you an orchestra seat but weren’t allowed to disclose its location.
As a result, I’ve had to sit on the back row of the theater and near the side wall, both times, ironically, at the same theater, the Imperial. Today, you can request seats in a general area of the theater or even a specific seat if you know the theater’s layout. The old Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” clearly applies here. Before calling to order tickets – weeks in advance of the performance if possible; months for a hit show; longer for blockbusters such as “Wicked” or “The Book of Mormon” – find a copy of the theater’s seating chart.
They’re available online at Playbill.com (in the column at the left, look for Reference and then click on seating charts). Frequent visitors usually pick up a copy of “Seats New York: 180 Seating Plans to New York Metro Area Theatres,” a book that features seating charts for Broadway theaters, music halls and sports stadia. The next step is calling to reserve your tickets. Once again, go to Playbill.com and under Listings/Tickets, click on Broadway or off-Broadway and select the show you’d like to see. You’ll find links there to buy tickets.
If you wish to hold off buying tickets until you arrive in New York, you can go directly to the theater box office or head to the Times Square TKTS Booth. The latter sells discounted tickets for the current day’s performance only. Most hotel concierge desks also have ticket brokers who can usually arrange for tickets, but they will charge considerably more for the convenience.
Once you have your tickets, plan to arrive at the theater at least 20-30 minutes before curtain time. There’s often a large crowd trying to find seats at the last minute. Finally, sit back and enjoy the performance. All that hard work will have paid off.
For the Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s 2012-13 season finale on May 11, the program will feature Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” an elegiac work that rises to a huge climax before fading away in hushed string tones. It’s one of just a handful of orchestral works that have quiet endings.
With overtures, concertos and, especially, symphonies, most composers seem to go for a dramatic finish. They accomplish this in a variety of ways, from the steady, incessant crescendo (Ravel’s “Bolero”), majestic brass chorales (Hindemith’s “Mathis der Maler”), the sustained final chord (Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”) or with music’s equivalent of the exclamation point, the accented final chord (Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 7″).
But the repertoire also boasts its share of quiet endings, leaving the listener with a sense of repose, wonder, serenity or questioning. It’s not unlike watching an old Western in which the cowboys ride off into the sunset.
At first glance – perhaps listen would be the more appropriate term – many might assume hushed endings to be less effective when compared to the grandeur of a Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” or the flourish of a Brahms “Symphony No. 2.” But good composers have an uncanny way of keeping a listener engaged, regardless of the dynamics they choose.
In “Appalachian Spring,” Copland achieved cohesion by ending the work as he began it, with the now-familiar open chords. Mendelssohn took a similar approach with his overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” its opening chord progression restated by the woodwinds in the final measures.
Some works seem destined to end quietly, among them, Howard Hanson’s “Fourth Symphony,” written as a requiem for his father; Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” with the fading sounds of its choral recessional; or “Neptune the Mystic” from Holst’s “The Planets,” whose score indicates that the final measure is to be repeated until “the sound is lost in the distance.”
Other marvelously effective conclusions include Brahms’ “Third Symphony,” which winds down to a final chord in the winds; Respighi’s “The Fountains of Rome” with its tolling of a distant bell; Shostakovich’s “Fifteenth Symphony,” whose use of triangle, woodblock, bells, snare drum, xylophone and tympani creates a curious effect; and Liadov’s “The Enchanted Lake,” whose sound evaporates into the dense mists.
Like Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” where two roads diverged in a wood, composers are presumably sorry they cannot travel both paths as they write the final measures of a work. Yet, every now and then, listeners are undoubtedly glad composers “took the one less traveled,” thereby giving us a chance to admire their skill at handling music’s more subtle moments.
The late 19th century had its “Mighty Five” (composers from Russia) while the 20th century celebrated the accomplishments of “Les Six” (France), the “Second Viennese School” (Austria) and the New England School (America). It’s all part of a trend that satisfies people’s desire to categorize, quantify or pigeonhole artists. Yet these conveniences rarely do their membership full justice, often blurring the lines that separate their individuality or, worse yet, applying a set of principles to a group whose members don’t always fully embrace them.
But ours is a society that thrives on classifications, whether it be David Letterman’s Top Ten lists, the 100 greatest films of the century or the most important people of the millennium. Composers rarely adhere to any kind of predisposed classification, though, often producing music that varies considerably in popularity and quality over time.
Prolific composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Brahms (the Three Bs) all made lasting impressions on the repertoire, with the bulk of their music considered of extremely high quality. That said, their musical styles are as unique as a fingerprint. But others haven’t always adhered to one musical style.
Schoenberg is remembered as an advocate of the 12-tone system of composition, but his early “Transfigured Night” is solidly tonal; Copland is often equated with his “American-sounding” “Appalachian Spring” or “Rodeo,” but late works such as “Connotations” or “Inscapes” explore far more adventurous musical realms. Others, such as Hanson, Hindemith, Holst and Hovhaness, had compositional styles that made their music instantly recognizable.
One can find the occasional chameleon in the compositional firmament, however, a composer who periodically breaks with tradition to create a work that belies his usual sound. Think of Stravinsky and his “Pulcinella” or Piston and “The Incredible Flutist.” Finally, there are musicians who defy classification because their work is so stylistically varied – people such as Leonard Bernstein with his forays into symphonic music, the musical theater and jazz, along with any number of composers from the past two decades.
Aside from the recent Minimalist craze, one wonders how late 20th-century composers will someday be grouped. It’s difficult to imagine people such as Michael Torke, John Corigliano, Frederic Rzewski, Thomas Ades, John Adams and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich being easily classified. One also wonders to what extent music enthusiasts of our century will be able to readily identify their styles. As Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times, they are a-changin’.” No doubt they’ll continue to do so.
It’s now been more than three decades since Richard Rodgers died in 1979; even longer since the deaths of Cole Porter (1964), Oscar Hammerstein II (1960) and George Gershwin (1937). That makes it all the more surprising to learn that in the past 20 years, Broadway has featured several new musicals by these Broadway legends.
Cole Porter’s music surfaced in a 1998 Broadway production of “High Society.” Of course, the creative team that labored on that production had to fit their show around existing Porter tunes. George Gershwin, one of Tin Pan Alley’s finest tunesmiths, was represented on Broadway half a century after his death with “My One and Only” in 1983 and “Crazy for You” in 1992. Last season, a “new Gershwin musical” starring native Oklahoman Kelli O’Hara opened on Broadway. After a 14-month run, “Nice Work If You Can Get It” will close in June 2013.
Other noted composers have also had their music introduced to new generations of listeners through such musicals as “Song of Norway” (Edvard Grieg) in 1944, “Kismet” (Alexander Borodin) in 1954, “The Happiest Girl in the World” (Jacques Offenbach) in 1961, “Anya” (Sergei Rachmaninoff) in 1965, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (Fats Waller) in 1978, “Sophisticated Ladies” in 1981 and “Play On!” (both Duke Ellington) in 1997.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’ s “Cinderella” was written for television in 1957 with Julie Andrews appearing as the title character. Eight years later, a new version starring Leslie Ann Warren starred in another version. Pop star Brandy brought the musical back to television in 1997. This season, a new version of “Cinderella” made its way to Broadway and received positive notices.
Featuring a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, the revival supplements the original Rodgers and Hammerstein score with four new songs, two of which were cut from “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music” respectively. Beane’s new book also introduces the new character Jean-Michel, a rebel who is in love with Cinderella’s stepsister Gabrielle. Beane also gave his narrative a contemporary sensibility. The “new musical” is likely to be nominated for several 2012 Tony Awards which will be announced today.
Productions such as these certainly prove the notion that a good tune, no matter its origin, is timeless in its appeal.
“Are you familiar with a piece of music known as bourree?” someone asked me not long ago. I tried to explain that the term (a type of French dance) is generic. Any number of composers have written them: Bach, Handel, Chabrier, Poulenc, Britten. We never determined which melody he was trying to match with the title bourree, but it did get me thinking about the unusual, often arcane system by which musical compositions are titled.
With popular music, it’s easy. Few will confuse “Stardust” with “When You Wish Upon a Star” or “Satin Doll” with “Nights in White Satin.” Classical music, itself a misnomer given that it primarily describes a type of music written between 1750 and 1825, often clouds the issue. There are easily distinguishable titles such as “The Planets,” “The Carnival of the Animals” and “Swan Lake.” But then you run into things such as “Verklarte Nacht,” “Ma Vlast” or “Le Boeuf sur le Toit.” The situation is further complicated when discussions turn to so-and-so’s Fifth Symphony. Beethoven’s, Prokofiev’s, Tchaikovsky’s, Mahler’s, Shostakovich’s, Bruckner’s? You get the idea.
Popular music may have its Top 40, but classical music – at least that which we consider Western (as opposed to Oriental) – encompasses well over four centuries. Works from the “standard” repertoire alone would require a Top 400 or 4,000. There’s no denying, however, that music titles, like book and film titles, do intrigue listeners. If your curiosity is piqued by the likes of “Wellington’s Victory,” “Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear,” “Quiet City,” “Rugby,” “The Wasps” or “Central Park in the Dark,” spend a few bucks and indulge your ears.
Unfortunately, less descriptive titles such as “Adagio for Strings,” “Scherzo Capriccioso” or “Symphonic Dances” can’t begin to persuade as convincingly, even though their musical arguments are enormously compelling. Granted, the classical repertoire contains more than its share of clunkers as well as works that should have long since faded into oblivion. But the truly marvelous examples more than even the score. With some patience and a concentrated period of acute listening, you’ll soon be able to differentiate between a bourree and an allemande or a sarabande and a gigue.
Composers have long been considered some of the most respected people of their day, but few have become wealthy from their musical efforts. The majority, in fact, have had to supplement their income by teaching, conducting or taking on other musical pursuits. Johann Sebastian Bach was one of music’s most prolific composers, but he couldn’t rely solely on income from his compositions to pay his bills. For much of his adult life, Bach served as a music teacher at St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig, Germany.
Countless others have found themselves in similar circumstances. Felix Mendelssohn established the Leipzig Conservatory in 1842. A half-century later, Vincent d’Indy founded the Schola Cantorum, a school for the study and restoration of old church music and French folk song. Many 19th century composers accepted prestigious administrative or teaching positions with the great music conservatories. In France, Gabriel Faure, Paul Dukas, Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen all taught composition at the venerable Paris Conservatoire.
In Russia, Reinhold Gliere, Alexander Scriabin and Aram Khachaturian were professors of music at the Moscow Conservatory. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov held a similar post at the conservatory in St. Petersburg. France produced a number of composers who doubled as organists. A Belgian by birth, Cesar Franck became organist at Ste. Clotilde in Paris beginning in 1858, and Olivier Messiaen was associated with Paris’ La Trinite for 60 years.
If most European composers established careers in the country of their birth, a few accepted teaching positions in America. Between 1892-95, the Czech Antonin Dvorak headed New York’s National Conservatory of Music. The British-born Frederick Delius enjoyed a long career in France but briefly taught music in Jacksonville, Fla. Delius had moved to Florida in 1884 in hopes of making his fortune as an orange grower. When that venture failed, he returned to Europe in 1886.
Gustav Mahler, composer of nine symphonies and numerous works for chorus and orchestra, devoted many years of his life to conducting. After holding posts with the Royal Opera in Budapest and the Vienna Opera in Austria, Mahler conducted at New York’s Metropolitan Opera from 1907-09. He then spent two seasons as music director of the New York Philharmonic Society.
The outbreak of World War II forced many Western European composers to leave their homelands, and many found refuge in the United States. Germany’s Paul Hindemith headed the composition department at Yale University until 1946; Hungary’s Bela Bartok briefly taught at Columbia University; and Austria’s Arnold Schoenberg was a member of the University of California, Los Angeles, composition faculty from 1936 to 1944.
A few composers became noted music critics. Hector Berlioz wrote for France’s Journal des Debats; Robert Schumann contributed reviews to Germany’s Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung; and the American Virgil Thomson wrote for the New York Herald Tribune between 1940 and 1954. Finally, there are those who established careers outside music while continuing to compose. The Russian Alexander Borodin graduated from the Academy of Medicine in St. Petersburg and later became a chemist there.
The American iconoclast Charles Ives established a highly successful insurance business in New England, while the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis served as assistant to architect Le Corbusier from 1947 to 1959. Throughout much of the 20th century, many notable American composers became associated with one or more prestigious music schools. Howard Hanson spent 40 years as director of the Eastman School of Music; William Schuman and Peter Mennin both served as president of The Juilliard School.
Even today, few composers can make a living solely from their music. Though widely performed, Christopher Rouse, John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour and William Bolcom have all supplemented their income through teaching. Under such circumstances, you might think composers would view teaching as a necessary evil. But without the guidance and encouragement of their mentors, who’s to say if their careers would have taken off? Thankfully, this practice has become a self- perpetuating cycle that should ensure the continued presence of serious music for decades to come.
Writers often say the toughest part of their work is taking the first step. Once they have that first paragraph out of the way, the rest seems to fall neatly into place. It’s much the same with regard to the musical theater. How does one begin a musical? With a full company production number? (“Hello, Dolly!”) An attractive solo? (“Oklahoma!”) Perhaps with an invitation to the audience to become vicarious participants? (“La Cage aux Folles”)
Whatever the method, the first lines can be crucial to the show’s success. Curious to discover how various authors handled this challenge, I looked at these all-important beginnings. Many break the theater’s fourth wall and speak directly to the audience. Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago” is the perfect example: “Welcome ladies and gentlemen. You are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery — all those things we all hold near and dear to our hearts.”
“Irma La Douce” takes a similar approach: “Don’t worry — it’s quite suitable for the children. This is a story about passion, bloodshed, desire and death. Everything, in fact, that makes life worth living.” When the original opening to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” failed to produce the desired effect, the creators opted for a simpler approach: “Playgoers, I bid you welcome. The theater is a temple, and we are here to worship the gods of comedy and tragedy. Tonight, I am pleased to announce a comedy.”
Then there are those musicals that open on a scene already under way. In Irving Berlin’s “Call Me Madam,” Sally Adams (a character patterned after Oklahoman Perle Mesta) is seen taking an oath of office: “… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.” Some have used a variation on this approach, a situation comparable to entering a room and catching people in mid-conversation. As the curtain goes up on Jerry Herman’s “Mame,” Agnes Gooch and Patrick Dennis have just arrived in New York. “Golly, Agnes, New York is like a foreign country!” “You don’t have to worry, Patrick. I’m worried enough for both of us.”
Others feel the need to establish time and/or place. In “The Music Man,” the train conductor bellows: “River City Junction. River City, next station stop!” And in “The Robber Bridegroom,” the narrator informs us that “The town of Rodney, Mississippi, isn’t very much anymore. The river moved away and left us high and dry.” Though rare, speaking (or singing) in a foreign language can reinforce a musical’s setting. A group of nuns singing in Latin lends a reverential quality to “The Sound of Music,” while two young children singing a French tune emphasizes the French Polynesian setting of “South Pacific.”
Rare but effective is the use of a disembodied voice. In “The Apple Tree,” we hear a voice proclaim, “Adam — Adam, wake up. You are the first man. It shall be your task to name all the creatures in the Garden of Eden.” “Evita” opens in a Buenos Aires movie theater. The film is interrupted by this announcement: “It is the sad duty of the secretary of the press to inform the people of Argentina that Eva Peron, spiritual leader of the nation, entered immortality at 2025 hours today.”
A couple of musicals make use of a bait-and-switch tactic. In “The Pajama Game,” the character Hines informs the audience that “This is a very serious drama. It’s kind of a problem play. It’s about capital and labor.” He then goes on to say that “I wouldn’t bother to make such a point of all this except later on, if you happen to see a lot of naked women being chased through the woods, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. This play is full of symbolism.”
Finally, some musicals establish a premise that will be acted upon as the show progresses. In “Sunday in the Park With George,” we hear the painter Georges Seurat thinking aloud: “White. A blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole. Through design, composition, balance, light … and harmony.” Equally effective is John Adams’ proclamation in “1776″: “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace — that two are called a law firm — and that three or more become a Congress. And by God, I have had this Congress!”
Getting the audience involved from the outset is the toughest job for any musical theater collaborators. But if they accomplish that without too much difficulty, chances are people will leave the theater knowing that their money was well-spent.
Are you familiar with the names William Sidney Porter, H.H. Munro, Ethel Zimmerman or Richard Jenkins? You probably know them better by their pen or stage names: O. Henry, Saki, Ethel Merman and Richard Burton. Classical music is similarly overrun with nicknames, including Winter Daydreams, Babi Yar, Rhenish and Reformation. Those designations are far easier to remember than Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony, Shostakovich’s Thirteenth, Schumann’s Third and Mendelssohn’s Fifth.
What’s not commonly known is that most composers generally had nothing to do with “naming” their compositions. In many instances, such nicknames were appended by a performer or publisher. Some musical nicknames are logical. Mozart’s “Paris” symphony (No. 31 in D) was written for a performance in that city in 1778. Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata (No. 21 in C) was dedicated to Count Waldstein.
Felix Mendelssohn’s visits to Scotland and Italy inspired his Third and Fourth symphonies, better known today as the “Scottish” and “Italian.” Antonin Dvorak’s visit to the United States prompted the composition of his Ninth Symphony, better known as “From the New World.” Other nicknames have resulted from a particular instrument being prominently featured. Saint-Saens’ Third Symphony is usually referred to as the “Organ” symphony because of its prominent use of that instrument.
Liszt’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat” in turn became known as the “Triangle” concerto because of the instrument’s prominent, some say unrelenting, part. Chopin’s Op. 28 “Prelude in D-Flat” took the name “Raindrop Prelude.” It’s not clear whether the patter of raindrops was the inspiration for Chopin, but the sound is unmistakable. Other works that borrow sounds from nature include Haydn’s Symphony No. 83, known as “The Hen” because of a clucking sound in the first movement; Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony is called “The Pastoral” because of its depictions of everything from bird calls to a thunderstorm.
Two other symphonies by Haydn (No. 45 in F-Sharp Minor, No. 94 in G) took on the nicknames “Farewell” and “Surprise.” To convince his employer that his musicians needed a vacation, Haydn devised the ploy of having his players leave the stage a few at a time until only two were left to play the final measures. Prince Esterhazy got the idea. The Symphony No. 94 earned its title because of an unexpected fortissimo chord in the slow movement. Rumor had it that the loud chord was inserted to wake audience members who nodded off. Haydn always denied the claim.
The slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 was featured prominently in the Swedish film “Elvira Madigan.” This work has since become known as the “Elvira Madigan” concerto. In 1944, Aaron Copland collaborated with choreographer Martha Graham on a piece he called simply “Ballet for Martha.” It would later be dubbed “Appalachian Spring.” Copland often told of listeners relating how they could hear the sounds of Appalachia in his music, something he never considered. But the name stuck.
There are at least two cases in which works by different composers feature the same nickname: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 both go by the name “Pathetique.” Similarly, Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony and Howard Hanson’s Second are known as the “Romantic.”
With so many generic titles floating about in the world of classical music (Symphony in D, Piano Concerto in E-Flat, Sonata in C), these mnemonic devices are often a big help in differentiating one well-known composition from another.
People who have a curiosity about classical music often ask what to explore after they tire of the repertoire’s familiar favorites. It’s a common predicament given the enormous size of the repertoire. Identifying one’s “musical comfort zone” is a good place to start. A person with a fondness for Grieg’s “Peer Gynt,” for example, would likely be overwhelmed by a Mahler symphony. But he or she might find Grieg’s “Lyric Pieces” enjoyable. They’re short, tuneful and accessible.
Intrigued by Addinsell’s “Warsaw Concerto?” Try Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto in B-Flat Minor” or Rachmaninoff’s “Concerto No. 2 in C Minor.” Both wear their lush romanticism on the sleeve. Many young listeners were introduced to opera by way of the orchestral suites from Bizet’s “Carmen.” If Spanish music brings out the gypsy in you, consider Chabrier’s “Espana,” de Falla’s “Nights in the Gardens of Spain” or Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol.”
Perhaps folk tunes hold a certain appeal. Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves” might be a good place to begin. You might also explore Grainger’s “Irish Tune from County Derry” or Alfven’s “Swedish Rhapsody No. 1.” Those with a penchant for the unusual should definitely track down Ives’ “Symphony No. 2,” the finale, in particular. It’s a musical free for all.
Through television, baby boomers were introduced to countless classical works during the 1960s. For those who may wish to revisit those bygone days, try the overture to Rossini’s opera “William Tell” or Gounod’s “Funeral March for a Marionette.” Hollywood has frequently raided the classical repertoire for its sound tracks, although rarely are works heard in their entirety. The slow movements from Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)” and Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 21 (Elvira Madigan)” are widely recognized. Try listening to the complete work for even greater appreciation.
Other works that are frequently excerpted include Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” (The Swan), Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” (18th Variation) and Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” (Simple Gifts). While each can stand alone, these snippets take on greater significance when heard in context. If you have adventuresome ears, try following Debussy’s “La Mer” with Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes.” You’ll come away with very different views of music inspired by water.
Jazz enthusiasts should explore Milhaud’s “The Creation of the World” or Copland’s “Music for the Theatre.” Those intrigued by model trains might compare Villa Lobos’ “The Little Train of the Caipira” with Honegger’s “Pacific 231.” Finally, a few guilty pleasures: Khachaturian’s “Suite from Spartacus,” Weinberger’s “Polka and Fugue from Schwanda,” Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture,” Respighi’s “Feste Romane” and Walton’s “Crown Imperial.”
So, whether you’re in search of little-known masterpieces or obscure musical gems, know that curiosity, patience and perseverance are the keys that will unlock music’s timeless mysteries.
The art of musical composition is a complex, mysterious undertaking that few laymen fully comprehend. Where do composers seek inspiration? Are they visited by a muse? Is the ability to write music genetic or can it be learned? Many people today still envision a composer locked in some ivory tower like a medieval monk who won’t be released until a certain number of pages of music have been completed. It’s a romanticized view that has little to do with reality.
Yes, composers do toil and often fret over their work, particularly when facing a deadline. Yet, while composition is clearly an artistic endeavor, it’s also a craft. As with most projects, getting started is the toughest obstacle. The rest, one hopes, falls into place without too much agony.
Morton Gould (1913-96) was one of this country’s major talents, having composed a large body of work that includes four symphonies, three ballets, a concerto each for piano and violin, chamber works and music for the stage. His composition “Stringmusic” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. In Peter W. Goodman’s biography, “Morton Gould: American Salute,” the composer shared his views on the compositional process. Gould was known for his sly wit, and this chronicle certainly reveals that. Despite its tongue-in-cheek nature, there’s more truth to these comments than one might suspect.
Day 1: Sign commission agreement. Suspicious but optimistic; full of good intentions and ideas.
Day 2: Ideas gone, but still good intentions.
Day 3: No intentions, regret agreeing to commission.
Day 4: Force feeding — attempt sketches — nothing.
Day 5: A glimmer — one note!
Day 6: Glimmer and note dissolve.
Day 7-10: Suicidal.
Day 11: Read clipping re how facile I am.
Day 12: Moderately suicidal.
Day 13: Aha! Two notes! But no glimmer.
Day 14: Glimmer and three notes!
Day 15: Tentatively optimistic.
Day 16: Another clipping re my “facility” — allergic reaction.
Day 17: Depressed but happily distracted by “head sounds.”
Day 18: More head sounds. More notes — glimmers.
Day 19: Glimmers turn to light — head sounds to notes.
Day 20: Depression ruined! A gusher! More than needed!
Day 21-30: Pruning, deleting — save unused materials for another rainy day.
Days Into Nights: Around the clock until finished — Eureka! Euphoria!
The Day After: The bends — return to “reality” (?)
The Second Day After: Back to “normality” (?) (Depressed, paranoid, suicidal but happy) until the next time!