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Deserving Your Spacing

from Saturday, October27th of the year2007.

Last night was the premiere of From Here On Out. I hid in the back with Benjamin and we breathlessly watched everything go incredibly well. The extent to which the performance was out of my img_0274.JPGhands was pretty much total, which helped with the nerves. Yesterday afternoon, though, I had a dramatic last-minute change of mind about one chord at the end. The structure of the third section of the ballet is essentially fast dark music turning to fast bright music and then, suddenly, getting twice as dark in the last sixty seconds. resurrection_of_jesusprivat_collectionusa.jpgThe “bright” climax of this process is one moment where the brass play a giant B-flat major chord, and as I listened in rehearsal, I realized that in order to have a great big chord like that, I would have had to have set it up better and spaced it right. Hearing it live, of course, changes everything. It sounded like somebody trying to have an ironic-distance moment ““ like painting a huge sunrise or a resurrection scene but with bad technique. It’s exactly the kind of thing I actively avoid trying to ever do in my music. So I had to make an on-the-spot change that, while totally subtle, I think saved the moment:

This is a little ridiculous, the spacing isn’t quite right if I “fully mean it.”

This is exactly right, and properly dressed for the occasion; a big pile of notes. Tonight, if they let me, I might kill that bottom F to make some more room up in there.

I’m not sure if, in a few days, I’ll feel like the right thing to do is to go back and really space out my first chord properly, but for now, I’m happy.


  • Is your timpanist busy, at this time? I bet he totally wants to steal that F you drop off the top and get allupinbetween the bass trombone and tuba.

    Really enjoyed the piece! Looking forward to razor-clam with black bean sauce, etc…

  • nice work nico, saturday’s program was wonderful along with the tribute to chuck close/glass. i enjoyed millepied’s piece and must admit that the deep/forceful/rich sound of bass trombone at the end excited me just a little. cheers~

  • The second chord is almost the same chord Hartmann ends his Concerto Funebre with. It’s one of the most unforgettable chords of the 20th century. Sehr gut!

  • I was there Fri and Sat night and loved even more the second time. Is going to be available soon, iTunes or cd?

  • Funny — I just wrote something with a lone BBb in the bass and c’ – f’ – bb’ – d” – a”
    up above. Of course, without the voice-leading, this is just comparing surface details, but they be very nice surface details.

  • I love it when the typmanist gets allupandinbetween the basstrombonist and the tubist.