Entry #6 – Trom. Concerto – Jennifer Higdon

September 28

I’ve been working on the concerto to the point now that I’m about 8
or 9 minutes into the work. I now have all of my basic materials, so my
task becomes less of a job of invention, and more of managing the
existing materials to make sure that all the pieces fit into the

When I last wrote in this journal (16 days ago), I was contemplating
2 different forms: A-B-C-A-B-C or A-B-C-B-A-C. This is an alternating
pattern of slow-fast-fastest. I have since decided that it’s just too
ratcheted-up if I take the second version, that the music needs release
of tension part of the way through, and earlier than a 10 or 11 minute
mark. So I’ve gone with my first option.

I’ve also been working diligently on the transitions…from section to
section needs to sound smooth, logical, and yet somehow fresh. Also,
the harmonic language changes a bit between sections, so I have to make
a convincing blend of the sound worlds of the A section versus the B
and C sections. I sometimes think of this as if I’m painting and I’ve
got one side of the canvas a single color and I want to find a way to
draw the eye across the canvas so that it rests in a completely
different color….how to blend the colors with my brush (and in this
instance, how to make the harmonic languages, which are somewhat
similar, but not entirely, melt into each other).

And always, I’m on the look-out for anything that might come across
as boring. If I have even the hint of non-interesting musical
materials, out it goes. I’m not willing to take a chance that anyone
could go to sleep.

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