Notes from the Shore

Work, marriage, kids and music

A New Direction

Angels Screenshot 1Last winter I began a series of posts concerning the writing of my new Christmas project, Moments of Comfort and Joy. It sat on the back burner for most of the year as I’ve concentrated on other interests including more work for Carol Anne (which is now on hiatus), a rather comprehensive progressive rock demo of a previously acoustic song for a good friend, and another personal project I’m not quite ready to divulge.

I have to admit that I was troubled by how the Angels medley was shaping up. It was a little too much like the Peace Medley from my last project, and seemed a little meandering and, frankly, unapproachable. It was not fitting the mold of how I conceived this entire project. I figured I’d fix it at some point in the future and then let it sit – for, like, nine months.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was driving around rural Hampton Roads performing field reviews (a sizable portion of my job) when, out of the blue, a wild concept appeared in my head. I quickly shut off the radio and nursed the thought a bit. It was entirely different in feel from what I has started. The harmonies were a lot less complex, but the texture is thicker and richer.

I was able to get in the studio a day or two later and was able to recall the sense of what I was thinking about enough to start working it out. Now the only thing left of the original arrangement is the order that the carols will appear in the arrangement. I’m so excited about where it is going that everything else is set aside and it is holding all my attention. It also helps that it’s been raining here in Hampton Roads so much that there’s not much else to do.

The screen shot teaser to the left shows the instruments so far in the arrangement. I may ultimately replace the handbells, cello, and piano with live instruments. The organ is not a Hammond but a Baroque pipe organ set to a flute registration. It’s the sort of thing you would expect to hear during a particularly meditative moment at a traditional church. Finally, the instrument marked D’Amore is an Oboe D’Amore, which is kind of a big, slightly lower-register oboe.

One last thing – lesson learned from this experience: I’m going to try and be a bit more willing to make significant changes to work I’ve already done if it doesn’t appear to be working. I tend to fall prey to the Sunk Cost Fallacy (TL;DR – the tendency to continue with something that’s clearly not working just because so much time and effort has already been invested). I’m going to try and not fall into that trap in order that this project can both be the best it can be, and my best work yet – which I believe is possible.

All for now, hopefully more to come.

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