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Topic: Ode to a Swivel Chair

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  1. #1

    Ode to a Swivel Chair

    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6503353

    This is not done yet but I wanted to post it anyway. It's a setting of a poem I wrote at the suggestion of a precocious 12-year-old (at the time), Molly, daughter of local poet Aaron Anstett. I thought that would be quite a challenge. Now, two years later, it seemed a challenging text to set to music, too. (and it is!) Bracketed words were removed for musical reasons. Also,I am having problems switching between arco and pizz. in the strings, and every time I think I have it fixed, then it isn't, and I can't figure what I am doing wrong. Any advice on how to look under the hood in Finale and, as Capt. Picard would say, "Make it so"?

    (so if a section sounds odd like it should be played differently, that's why!


    The poem reads:

    Ode to a Swivel Chair
    for Molly

    Ensconced in homey concave comfort,
    Poised upon your axis as worlds whirl by,
    I sit in the eye of the tempest
    And administrate only my composure.

    Amidst phones and papers, computational confusion,
    Cubicles and cuss words,
    Heads pop up all over like a sea of prairie dogs
    to glimpse and envy:
    You, oh my seat of delight!

    Gear and whorl, lever and twirl,
    Caster and bracket!
    [I luxuriate in] leather and tilt,
    Your lift, your spin.

    I celebrate your dervish delights!
    The pencil and pen, which conquer swords
    and masterpieces craft (or lies),
    could axis no greater world
    than that which around me,
    in your lap,
    flies.

    - KE Peace Dec 2006
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  2. #2

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Karen -

    The poem carries itself well!

    I have to re-listen to the music for it to take shape around the poem--but it stands well by itself. Although I've been listening to choir samples for a long time I've only recently let myself begin listening to them. (Quality has improved, for one thing.) Vocal samples work well in all of the postings of yours I've listened to.

    Please keep me posted on progress of this piece--by PM, if it suits you. I very much enjoyed what I've heard.


    Joe

  3. #3

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Quote Originally Posted by jmpaquette View Post
    Karen -

    The poem carries itself well!

    I have to re-listen to the music for it to take shape around the poem--but it stands well by itself. Although I've been listening to choir samples for a long time I've only recently let myself begin listening to them. (Quality has improved, for one thing.) Vocal samples work well in all of the postings of yours I've listened to.

    Please keep me posted on progress of this piece--by PM, if it suits you. I very much enjoyed what I've heard.


    Joe
    Hi Joe,
    many thanks; will do. I'd be happy to send you and anyone who wishes a .pdf of the draft score (if my email is working; i've been having phone/internet problems, but right now at least my internet seems to be working!). It's a fun poem and challenging to set to music, a real puzzle!
    Karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  4. #4
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
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    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Karen:
    Terrific writing and superbly scored.
    My first reaction was that this is a very serious piece that stands very well by it self but it not what I expected. I would have thought that the tongue-in-cheek humor of the text would have dictated a little more light hearted, satirical approach. Do you have some kind of staging or presentation in mind that would negate my reaction?

    Steve

  5. #5

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Hi Karen: Take a well deserved bow, it is an interesting and well constructed piece. I'm not sure what audience you have it targeted to. As far as pizz and arco, I usually try to separate the words by 2 or more measures in order to get HP to make the proper instrument changes found in the instrument list, and I try to order the instrument list with arco and pizz string names next to each other. Best wishes,
    John

  6. #6

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Karen, you do crack me up sometimes... ode to
    -- a swivel chair? Perhaps this might found the
    start of a suite -- The Glorification of the Mundane.

    On the other hand, the music was a heck of a good
    ride. Taken to a live performance -- there's much well
    wrought high drama, gorgeous contrasting work, and
    strong writing in this -- I do think this would be a
    real house-trouncer.

    The one suggestion I might posit is in concern with
    the conducting... perhaps rethinking the pace upward
    a bit more toward the end to introduce a little more
    conclusionary impact.

    Well done, my friend, well done!

    And next, please, may I request an elegy for a
    broken floor lamp -- it would make an ideal second
    movement for this...

    All my best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  7. #7

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Thanks everyone for listening.

    Joe -- At the point Dave (etLux, below) listened, it was done – I had updated the sound file; the link stays the same), so if you would like to hear the progress, please listen again if you are inclined. But I will go back and consider Dave’s suggestions, too, so it may change one more time. The choir is from the SmartSample Library that comes with Finale; the orchestra is GPO. I am eagerly awaiting Gary’s new choral library!! The attack on the current choral sounds was a bit much if I recall, so I generally use the SS library for chorus; the sounds are decent when mixed as a chorus, though less than ideal individually for various reasons.

    Steve – well, the seriousness is intended to add to the camp-y feel of the whole thing; as for presentation, I envision this piece as a part of a mini-opera about office life perhaps, and/or dancers/actors doing interesting things with the swivel chair (you can let your imagination go wild with that if you wish LOL!). Hey, besides, some of my best moments have occurred in swivel chairs ROTFL! and as a matter of fact, I am sitting in one right now J

    John – audience. Aye, there’s the rub. Well, for a possibility, see my correspondence with Tom Wilson, included below. (That also partly answers the question of how my talk with him went -- another post in General Discussion). I am thinking of my 14 years in software. I am thinking Dilbert in light operatic form ROTFL!. And thanks for the suggestions on arco/pizz – you are right! Giving more time for the patch change fixed my problem.

    Dave – oh but I love the mundane! Nothing like it! It’s plentiful and unpretentious, and like the humbler elements hold our galaxy together, is what holds everyday life together! What would we do without our toaster, the plate, the fridge, the coffeemaker (especially that!), the toilet, the dirt in the garden? Why even Bach wrote the Coffee Cantata in praise of this most mundane and omnipresent libation! As far as an elegy for a broken floor lamp, I fear that subject is too lugubrious for me at the moment -- too heartbreaking!



    Thank you all so much for listening.




    Karen,

    I enjoyed our talk. The opera idea sounds great. It's a familiar scenario and great opportunity for humor. Happy composing.

    All best,
    TGW

    Thomas Wilson
    Music Director, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs
    Associate Conductor, Colorado Springs Philharmonic
    E-mail: tgwmaestro@q.com
    Chamber Orchestra of the Springs
    www.chamberorchestraofthesprings.org

    Colorado Springs Philharmonic
    www.csphilharmonic.org
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: KAREN Peace
    To: Thomas G Wilson
    Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 3:14 PM
    Subject: Thank you! already thinking!

    Hi Tom,

    A couple of things --

    first of all, a big thank you for our meeting yesterday; you gave me exactly the kind of orientation to the springs classical music scene that I needed, as well as a feeling of direction. I've already got some ideas bouncing around in my head for some kind of young people's opera/operetta/narrated concert.

    During the next week or so, I'll work on absorbing the info you gave me and follow up on it as appropriate (contacts, ideas, research, etc.).

    I'll assume it's OK if I send an email now and then letting you know my thoughts, ideas, projects unless you tell me otherwise, OK? There is never any response needed or expected since we've already talked and I know you are very busy (unless you see something that sounds like it might be of special interest to you for your ensembles).

    I'll also get in touch with Ms. Weiss soon.

    All my best,
    Karen

    ps The Ode to a Swivel Chair Piece, along with your suggestions about works for young people, also sparked what might be a nutty idea, but I'll share it anyway... A little opera/operetta about life in "Corporate America" -- "Dilbert-esque" style. You know that cartoon is based on actual stories people send the cartoonist? And that the "cubicle police" are real? (I've had a run-in with them myself in the past at MCI). I know this does not match the audience profile you gave me, but I wonder if there might possibly be another market segment out there:

    As far as marketing, well, it occurred to me that software engineer types have a great sense of humor, a child-like playful nature coupled with a high disposable income, and that companies sometimes reward their employees by taking them out for something entertaining (laser tag was one for us). Oh, and that the springs is full of tech people....

    Just a thought. I can't tell you how many stories I have from my 14 years in software engineering. And those latinate technical words are so comical strung together machine-gun fashion (they also rhyme well) ;-)

    I'm bending my mind toward the young people angle, but just had to share that. I'll do a little research to see if I can find out if anyone has done a comic-opera type work about corporate america...
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  8. #8

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    In fact, at least one CTO out there recognizes the importance of the Swivel Chair in corporate systems integration:

    http://www.itworld.com/AppDev/enterp...325/index.html
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  9. #9

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Karen

    I think I have told you in the past that I am not all that into Vocals. I am doing better than I used to. I can at least now get all the way thru a piece.

    But I am a huge fan of Chairs!

    The hours and hours I spend in mine, studying, composing, surfing, relaxing and doing other things that should not be talked about here, demand recognition in a musical way. You have accomplished that and more.

    As Steve said, I would have expected a bit more humour, but this works great as is.

    Well done

    Ron

  10. #10

    Re: Ode to a Swivel Chair

    Well, fired up by Tom's response, I mapped out a skeletal plot (in which caffeine plays a major role) for a 30-40 minute short comic opera. We'll see where it goes. The humor is campy; I don't know how to explain it. Tongue-in-cheek? Or the kind of humor that isn't trying overly hard to be funny but just is because it's so unabashed. But since humor is a very personal thing I'm at a loss for further explanation.. if this sounds nutty, remember Bach's Coffee Cantata. Yes, JS Bach, not PDQ......
    -----------------------------------------
    One point Two Days in Corporate America
    A Comic Opera in011base2 Event-Driven Acts
    (with subtitles for the technology-impaired)
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

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