Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Happy Birthday, Oscar!"

Well, here it is - the 28th day in "28 in Twenty-Eight."

I am both sad and thrilled at the same time. (Those of you who have been faithfully following daily - shut off your computer! "Madge, pull the plug! He's finally done!")

For each day in the blog series I have created, recorded and blogged a new piece. Days before I began, in January, I found myself getting really excited about this whole process. Could I do it? (It is a lot of work!) Would I see it all the way through? (It is a lot of work!) Is there enough coffee in the entire world to make me cogent at 3am? (It is a lot of ...)

Very early in the series, a process developed and stayed with me to the very last day: Up and out of the house by 3:00am, and get to the theater and start writing. Paper, pencil and a big eraser. Grab any idea you can and see it through to completion. By necessity each piece would be a miniature, but I am a miniaturist at heart - so no problem there. The problem with small pieces is to create a satisfying listening experience in a minute or two.

This quick, almost 'al fresco' style of composing would force me to explore new compositional avenues and be a test to my creativity. Working like this, I think, forces one to really examine yourself. It's a test ... (And, frankly, it would be a good avenue to vent my strange sense of humor and inflict it upon you!)

What did I learn? Surprising, for an old dog, I learned a lot. I learned that I need more time in my life to practice the piano! More than half of the pieces in this series are for the piano. I had to learn and record them. (I was getting a bit lazy - Not too unexpected after 45 years of playing the piano.) Had I known that I was going to write pieces this hard, I would have practiced more! I learned that I still love being a composer and a musician. It's a great thing to do with one's life. I feel honored to be one.

I also learned that my neighbors are very, very, very patient people, and that I have some very good friends and colleagues - those who would come to the theater in the early morning hours to work and lend their talents to pieces of music that were so obviously hastily written.
I've made some new 'e-friends' and have had some wonderful conversations about art, music and life as a musician with people all over the world.

Maybe that is the real reason to do a blog like this - the ability to reach out and interact with people from all walks of life all over the world.

I'm really a very lucky guy.

My father-in-law's birthday is today, February 28th. Oscar is 89 years old today. I think it appropriate to end this blog with a variation of "Happy Birthday."

As an aside, what we know as "Happy Birthday" was really written by the Hill sisters, in Kentucky, as "Good Morning To You" - which was used in their one-room school house in days of yore before we had a 'Pledge of Allegiance.'

Unfortunately, through a comedic series of nascent copyright laws, their song was copyrighted as "Happy Birthday."

"Good Morning" to you Oscar, and, THANK YOU to all of you who listened, read and commented on the blog and sent me emails and letters.

Robert Ian Winstin

Stats: Blog Views to Date (February 27, 2010): 18,981 Sheet Music Downloads to Date (February 27, 2010): 11,650

You can grab the FREE sheet music to most of the music in this blog series at

Titles and Timings for Blog Pieces by Robert Ian Winstin in the "28 in Twenty-Eight" blog:

1. SnowSwirls (piano) 0:58
2. ... Balances (piano) 1:03
3. Sounds Like Fun! (bassoon & piano) 1:01
4. Noodle, Poodle, Doodle (piano) 0:38
5. The Thing Stuck in the Corner of My Window (piano) 1:24
6. Family in a Row (piano) 1:01
7. All Thumbs - Bach Redux (piano) 1:32
8. Blues Etude #1 (piano) 1:41
9. Museum in His Mind (voices & orchestra) 4:09
10. Like Grass Peeking Through The Melting Snow (piano) 1:33
11. Like Water Flowing Through My Ceiling (piano) 0:50
12. TC - the Theater Cat (piano) 1:12
13. Form - My Life (voices & orchestra) 7:20
14. With You There is No End (piano) 1:43
15. A Trio of Myopic & Near-Sighted Rodents (piano) 1:22
16. Men Have Biological Clocks Too (piano) 1:54
17. Blues Etude #2 (piano) 1:43
18. Fantasy for Flute, Piano & Chamber Orchestra 3:47
19. What the #$%^ - I Tried to Come Up With a ... (piano) 1:13
20. A Short Study for a Big Talent (clarinet & sfz) 1:25
21. As Darkness Falls (violin & sfx) 3:10
22. Really, Am I Typing Too Loudly? (piano) 1:10
23. Blues Etude #3 (piano) 1:19
24. Elbows? ... Whatever! (guitar, 'cello & piano) 1:39
25. Saturday Night (soprano, clarinet & piano) 7:43
26. Lazy Twilight on High Street (piano) 1:49
27. Did Mom Pop, Mom Did (piano) 0:49
28. Happy Birthday, Oscar! (piano) 1:17

Total: 56:22

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the completion of your project! Its been fabulous! I love you and am so proud of you.

    Happy Birthday to my Daddy!


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