I’m starting a new orchestral piece, a 4-7-minute concert opener. I guess you’d call it an overture. My dictionary just told me “overture” means “an introduction to something more substantial.” I have no idea what of more substance this overture should lead to (that feels more existential than it probably should), but perhaps I’ll find out by writing.
And—as an aside—I should confess that writing for orchestra is one of the most thrilling, most exciting thought experiments for me. Nothing makes me smile more than trying to wrap my head around sounds like this.
My new habit is to begin each project with a meditation on what I want to learn from doing it. So far, I know I’d like to work on orchestrating long diminuendo and crescendo passages with deliberate expansion and contraction of pitch ranges.
I’d like to broaden my vocabulary with orchestrating accents via adding/subtracting instruments, register shifts, and color changes.
I’d like to create a thrilling rhythmic ride for the listener, which results from a full but playable use of the percussion (and good choreography).
I’d like to write an explosive orchestral swell. (I have an example from Christopher Rouse’s flute concerto fresh in my ears.)
And … I’d like to play with hocketing. For fun.
Is all of this too much to ask? I guess I’ll find out.