Since I last posted an update, things have been moving very quickly. I started drafting some vague ideas for the first movement based on my piano improvisation. Typically, when I write a piece, about one-third of the process is just sitting at the piano and improvising. From this come many of the intergral motifs in any given piece, and also a clear concept of the overal trajectory of the work, which helps me when I go to write things out. In this case, I drafted a bit, on a Finale document with four blank staves. It looked kind of like this:
As I drafted it, I envisioned which instruments would play each part, more or less. Piccolos on the top line. Flutes on lines 2 and 3. Mallet Percussion on line 4. But as I continued to mull things over, I realized that the poening ideas I had drafted were getting way too exciting too quickly. So I started a draft of the orchestra score, starting like this:
Here, one note from the first strike of the mallet instruments, harp, and celesta is sustained by piccolo, which dies into the sound of the same note played by the violins, with a harmonic. This extremely thin texture thickens gradually, as you can see, and it takes about a minute to get to the area on the orchestra score that corresponds to the original draft image above. Basically, the score unfolds based on a gradually thickening cluster of notes.
Throughout this entire section, the metallic percussion and keyboards continue to strike those ringing chords, sometimes at the entrance of a new instrument or tone, and sometimes randomly. After the final cluster is established, the tempo picks up and a steady tactus is established. I say tactus because the pulse changes constantly, so you can never predict the accented beats, but the underlying rhythmic constructs remain more or less constant.
Out of this section come some melodic ideas, starting in horns and muted trumpets, and blossoming into the full brass section.
The material is going to weave together to form this melody. (This is from my sketch book, so it is kind of hard to read...)
So, as of now, I have a pretty clear concept of what the first movement is going to look like. As I finish up mapping out the ideas, I will be going back over the orchestration and changing some details, which will result in a rather interesting post, I hope. Until then, back to writing!