Well, it's been far too long since I've blogged about the process of the commission. Honestly, part of the reason is that there hasn't been much to blog about. After I came up with those two big chunks of the fourth movement, I hit a bit of a compositional brick wall, and also had a lot of schoolwork on my plate for the past month or so, so I had very little time to compose. However, I managed over the course of that month or so to add a bit to the second large section, and got all the way to the big, really declamatory climax of the movement. Still, this was precious little to show for an entire month, especially with the deadline getting closer and closer.
So this week, I decided that I needed the whole movement done. I went through my drafts and found all of the material I had recorded for the opening of the movement (from the end of the first chunk to the beginning of the second) and spent Monday working with those. I knew from the start how I wanted the opening to progress, on a large scale. It was just figuring out details. Basically it looks like this:
Since I had almost a half-hour worth of existing recordings for this section alone, I was able to come up with the actual notes to use fairly quickly. I figured most of it out on the piano first, and then put it into the computer and orchestrated each section as I went along.
Then, I worked on the section after the big climax. Not the one in the picture above, that one isn't even really a climax, as the music continues immediately with the same thematic material. This one is more of an anti-climax. But the climax at the end of the second chunck was a real climax, and I felt like I needed to basically just bring the excitement down and end the movement after that one. Especially since this is the last movement of the symphony, I wanted to really take some time to allow the audience to calm down, relax, get comfortable with the emotions the final movement deals with (they're pretty heavy, let me tell you), before bringing things to a conclusion. There is a large portion of this fade-out where I decided to just sit on a few chords, actually just a few notes, and allow the music to unfold slowy from them and then fold back into them. This creates kind of a hypnotic wash of sound that really makes the ending stand out from the rest of the movement.
I finished the movement this afternoon, and now I need to start work on the second and third in earnest. I will try to blog more often, especially now that I forsee working prettymuch nonstop on these movements. I will also try to dissect a few spots in the fourth movement soon, but I really want to keep this one close to my chest, as I want it to have its full impact at the concert. Anyway, I'll be back soon with more music-y stuff, and probably more excuses on why I haven't gotten as much done as I should...until then, happy music-making!