It was a week of corrections.
First, the Gdańsk recording of the Three Calls. It came out very nicely. In the background, behind the bells, you can hear the sounds of the city, seagulls and other birds, an occasional plane as well. I like it very much, I had almost no comments. I also got rid of my doubts whether it makes sense to release a recording of such a piece. It is a specific matter, perhaps not for everyone and not for every occasion, so to speak, but it seems to me now that it is well justified.
Then the score, and above all, the legend of the Mask (lo firgai). It is, as always, a lot of work, which I only moderately enjoy. On the one hand, the legend is always similar, but nevertheless I have the feeling that each time I start it from scratch and each time it becomes a similar challenge to balance precision with brevity of remarks. Here, in addition, there is a lot to take into account about the Lojban language and, above all, its pronunciation. I got invaluable help from corresponding with John Cowan, a specialist in the subject and author of a book on the history and specifics of the language. In any case, everything is ready and the material is already, or is about to be, in the hands of the performers. Speaking of whom, an autocorrection: In my last post about the Mask I mentioned Asia Freszel as the soloist, but in the meantime it turned out that it will be Agata Zubel. I am really looking forward to working with Agata (so far, despite various plans, we somehow missed working with each other). And with Asia we will be meeting soon, also on a new project. More about it in the following weeks...
After the Mask, back to Hevel for a while. Again, a legend, although a rather short one here. However, Anna Szostak suggested a few minor changes in the piece, for both the comfort of singing but also for clarity of expression. I do not like changes, I avoid them. I try to trust myself. But here Anna was absolutely right. I wrote too high here and there. Within scale, but in the whole context – it was uncomfortable, and it was to the detriment of expression. Contrary to it. So I have made the adjustments.
And finally, I returned to quite a special piece, Intrada, which was to mark the inauguration of the current academic year at my alma mater. I wrote the piece in the early days of last year's lockdown. During the inauguration, the composition was indeed performed, but it did not quite live up to expectations (mine or others'), to say the least. The ceremony took place on one of the few occasions during the last year when it was possible to actually meet at a concert hall, with even a small audience present. Meanwhile, the thing sounded as if the trumpeters, horn players, trombonists and tuba player standing on the stage were connecting remotely, by phone. I take the blame. I wrote it too densely, and too high. It was unclear both harmonically and contrapuntally. In fact, this disorderly cacophony was very appropriate in the wider context, but I am now trying that again. I clean it up. By the way, writing an occasional piece, intended to be something solemn and festive in the general perception, but at the same time somehow your own (this is how I understand my task), is not an easy matter. The result of my second attempt, if the authorities will, will be presented in October.
It was also the week of the second dose of the vaccine: AstraZeneca. My heart was in my mouth, a bit (it is hard to remain completely indifferent to the mass hysteria), but so far, so good. By the way, I am surprised by the resistance of my compatriots to this product, which seems to be tailored to our purported imagination and “national character”. The very name that combines the familiar with the sublime, with the element of driving on the edge, giving the opportunity to show bravado and hardiness. So, why the sudden timidity and sanity in the face of danger? While the nations tremble, let us (again) put up a valiant arm and put all this confusion behind us. Such a proposition. And let me add some anecdotal evidence: my parents had a close contact with an infected person. Mum was after her first dose of Pfizer, dad – of Astra. My mum stayed as healthy as a fish, my dad did experienced some chills and weakness some time after the contact, which passed after a few hours and did not return. Meanwhile, the infected person spent two weeks in hospital, barely breathing.