Corn is as High as an Elephant's… at John Mackey's Blog

September 26, 2009

Corn is as High as an Elephant's…

I’m leaving early on Monday for my first trip of the school year. First stop: The University of Oklahoma. The band there is playing “Asphalt Cocktail” on October 1 (my birthday), and although I can’t be there for their performance, I’ll be there for their rehearsal on Monday.

Why can’t I be there for the performance? Because on Tuesday, I head from the University of Oklahoma to Oklahoma State. Is that a big rivalry? A few years ago, I had back-to-back visits at Ohio State and The University of Michigan. I made a point not to mention either school to the other. I should probably do the same next week. I’ll be at Oklahoma State — where they’re performing both Asphalt Cocktail and Aurora Awakes — until early on October 2. Their performance (along with 4 others, weirdly enough) is also on October 1. It seems like I’m traveling almost every year on my birthday.

I’m excited to hear OSU’s performance of Aurora Awakes, as I haven’t heard it since its premiere in May, and this will be the first time I’ll hear it with a college group. (There will be others. The piece has roughly 30 performances scheduled during this year, and those were programmed almost entirely from people listening to the MIDI file. I hope that when I post a recording of actual humans, all of those bands don’t abruptly cancel their performances because they decide that, yeah, it probably works better as computer music.)

A few days ago, I sent the first two movements of the Trombone Concerto to Joe Alessi. He said he’d have some free time starting in about a week, and he wanted to spend it learning his solo part, so I gave him the draft. If you’re curious to see the first two movements of the solo part, here is the PDF. On its own, without any of the accompaniment, the second “movement” is especially bare. (It starts at m. 302. It’s all about harmony and length of line, but without chords, about the only thing you’ll get if you play through it is the challenge of making measures 376-381 not sound like… well, ass.) I sent Joe the full score and the MIDI, but I’m not going to post those here. The next time anybody else hears this piece, it’ll be with Joe Alessi, and an ensemble of actual musicians.

Well, unless he also decides that the piece works better as computer music…

3 Comments

3 Comments to “Corn is as High as an Elephant's…”  

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  1. At 6:24 pm on September 27, 2009
    Josh Says:

    Yes, it’s a huge rivalry! I’m so glad that you’re coming to Oklahoma again. Both bands will be sure to give great performances of your works! While in Norman be sure to stop by the Hideaway and in Stillwater, Eskimo Joes!

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  3. At 3:32 pm on October 1, 2009
    JorDon Says:

    Mr. Mackey,
    I’m really eager to hear the OSU wind ensemble play your pieces tonight. I think you will be satisfied with the students and the conductor, Dr. Missal. He is really enjoyable to watch (so much energy, and so tall. ha.). The ensemble is full of passionate and talented musicians in all sections: brass, woodwind, percussion, etc…I truly think our music department is underrated because we don’t have the nicest facilities (offices in the basement practice rooms, leaky roof, etc.–aye, tho we do have a sweet lobby!). But the best art transcends adversity, and indeed reverberates out of the impoverished. haha. That sounds silly, but The Arts are underfunded in most American public universities. And despite that, OSU has an exquisite music program–because of the passionate, dedicated staff and students. So yeah, I’m stoked you’ve come to visit and let the ensemble perform your work. Anyhow, if I see ya at the performance, I’ve give ya poem or something. ha.
    -JorDon, CMB trumpet playa’
    p.s. – what does corn have to do with this blog entry? you must be thinking of Kansas…
    p.p.s. – what do you think of Sufjan Steven’s new album, “The BQE”(Brooklyn-Queens Expressway)?

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  5. At 8:31 pm on October 5, 2009
    Dan Says:

    Mr. Mackey,

    I very much like the opening to your trombone concerto. I always hoped to someday hear something akin to the intensity of “Damn” brought over to the trombone. Keep up the good work! I can’t wait for the piece’s recording to come out.

    -Dan, Trombonist

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