Employment! (of a sort)

I am now officially an employee of the University of Dundee. No, I haven’t moved to Scotland, and no, I haven’t abandoned my plan to take the next 3 months off – it’s very much a part-time, work-from-home deal – proofreading work. It’s sure not going to make me rich but, hey, it may just pay for the books I keep buying for the Richard III opera research!

Speaking of which, I was at the library today so I thought I’d see what they had on the shelf. Really disheartening, actually. Quite a decent number of books on the shelf, so far as I could see, and every single one of them described our hapless Plantagenet as a monster. Not a single revisionist version in there. Guess that means the world is crying out for some art to try to redress the balance.

The more I think about this project, the more I think the courtroom drama format is a good one – it will allow for both sides of the story to be told in a semi-dramatic situation (you can’t just set the reign of Richard III as a story because when you look at the facts it was peaceful and happy and therefore not hugely dramatic in spite of its interesting beginning, punchy end and spicy moments of treason – good judgment, fairness and the love of the people are just hard to convey), will work well for semi-staged productions (which I think is unfortunately something very important to consider today as a fully fledged performance is unlikely ever to happen) and, as I thought last night, it might very well then turn out to be something that could work as a performance in schools (if it’s not too long), which could be very interesting… just thoughts, but still… makes it all the more important to get the history right and make the characters believable (and to ensure the vocal writing means that the words can be understood).

In the realm of shorter-term projects, I’ve had a bit of an idea of how to tackle the one-minute unaccompanied violin piece I’m planning to write for the 15 Minutes of Fame project. The thing with unaccompanied is that, if you’re not careful, one could end up with just a tune and be a bit boring. The best unaccompanied pieces for single-line instrument tend to whisk about between registers to give the impression of multiple lines at once, so I’m thinking of actually writing it as 3 separate lines, and then working to fuse them together somehow. Should be a fun challenge.

And I started exploring the weird and wonderful world of Béla Bartók, which I have somehow missed on my musical adventures so far. Not sure how that happened, but a composer-collective friend said I should have a listen to B’s unaccompanied violin sonata, an, well… it pleaseth me muchly 🙂

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