Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1st Piece - "SnowSwirls"

OK - here we go!

I woke up early this morning - very early - and set pencil to paper to get my first piece out in the "28 in Twenty-Eight" blog series.

I was very excited about starting out - I love challenges, and writing 28 pieces in twenty-eight days is ... well, ... a challenge!

I'm somewhat "Old-School" in the mechanics of writing; pencil, paper - and BIG eraser. I also write at a table most of the time - not at the piano or an instrument. (One of my former mentors instilled that habit in me. He always said - "If you write at an instument you merely tend to re-create what you can physically do." Of course, he was always right!)

So, I write at a table and make, usually, many drafts before heading to the computer to start typesetting the score.

This morning I decided to skip a lot of the paper stuff and work out most of the score in my head before starting to set it down. (Basically, I just sat and thought it through for a few hours, then I started writing it out.)

Of course, this morning when I got to the theater I had to actually learn it to play it on the piano! (As I was woodshedding through the left-hand part - which is a bit challenging - all I kept thinking was; "Who wrote this #$%^ ?"

We had a snow storm here is Southern Virginia over the weekend. It was an unusual event for this area and I guess the experience stuck with me as the first piece is called "SnowSwirls."

I'm not sure that it entirely captures the feel and sound of swirling snow, but does feel like it to me. I'm a big fan of mixed tonalities and poly-rhythms - which you find in abundance here. I've also been experimenting with having tempi, dynamics and articulation help to shape the overall musical architecture.

We'll see ... we'll see.

I'm very excited about this process and really looking forward to tomorrow's experience!

I hope you enjoy the piece.


  1. I personally think it sounds quite alot like what was going on outside my window on Saturday. I love the concept and will share this blog with both my Beloved and my Wonderful up and coming college auditioner - you know of whom I speak :)

  2. Great! I can't wait to hear the others. What a challenge--not only the composing, but the playing too!

  3. Hi Robert --

    What an exciting project! You always have the best ideas. Looking forward to hearing more.

    Danielle Economy

  4. Hi Robert, a fellow composer here, what a good idea. I like the snow swirls and the playing is energetic and engaging. Excellent !
    Cambridge, England

  5. Thanks for the blog. I'm new to this sort of thing, but I enjoyed your 1st piece (and heard part of the Taliban Dances in the meantime on the ERM site.
    I'm curious if I, with my somewhat between intermediate and not-nearly-as-advanced-as-I-would-like keyboard skills could tackle playing "Snowswirls?" When might it be possible to take a peek of at least a few measures?
    --Vance Reese, from Asheville, NC

  6. Congrats. I did a similar project last summer - 30/30 project. It took me 40 days to do 30 new pieces (at least 30 seconds each). I premiered 8 of them already and one turned into a larger commission.

    Congrats and good luck!


  7. I like! fun, short, sounds very playable. I don't see a link to download and/or purchase a score!

  8. Wow - Thank you all for your fantastic comments. It is always heartwarming to get feedback and I appreciate it. Hope you like the second installment!


Thanks for commenting! If your comment was positive - I love you. If it was negative - Grow a brain!