Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ongoing Discussion [May 2011]

Now is the month of Maying, when merry lads are playing! Fa la la la la!
Each with his bonny lass, a-dancing on the grass, fa la la la la!

The Spring, clad all in gladness, doth laugh at Winter's sadness! Fa la la la la!
And to the bagpipes’ sound, the nymphs tread out the ground! Fa la la la la!

Fie! Then why sit we musing, youth’s sweet delight refusing? Fa la la la la!
Say, dainty nymphs and speak! Shall we play barley break? Fa la la la la!

I always wondered if Tolkien’s Elves were originally conceived of as being more along the lines of Sir Thomas Marley’s “dainty nymphs.” There’s an Elvish playfulness –perhaps a capriciousness? – in The Hobbit that’s not seen elsewhere in Tolkien’s writing. “Tra la la,” indeed!

This isn’t me dropping musical hints, by the way. I don’t know how the Elves will be portrayed in the film adaptation of The Hobbit, and I don’t know how Howard Shore will approach them musically. Don’t read into much into the above. Rather, Marley’s lyric, which includes both “Maying” and “fa la la,” perfectly encapsulates my mental state – or perhaps my ocular state: one eye forward, one behind.

I’m at a delicate cross-road just now. Part of my work is firmly in the world of The Lord of the Rings. There are upcoming performances, lectures, and permutations of the book to be shepherded into reality. The next six-to-twelve months look to be pretty Ring-packed. In fact, if you travel the right circles, I may be hard to miss for a while. You’ll see, you’ll see.

At the same time, we’ve begun very cursory discussions on The Music of The Hobbit Films … or whatever we decide to call it. What’ll be the same? What’ll be different? Switching back and forth between the two worlds is exciting, refreshing even, but it takes a little more concentration. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not digging ditches or breaking my back with an over-stuffed schedule. I'm not complaining. I’m just trying to clarify my thought process as much as possible … and trying to keep everything straight so that I don’t bungle anything too badly!

This winter’s spate of lectures was wonderful in that it helped me to work directly with audiences over an extended period of time. When you’re writing in an office all day, it’s easy to ignore that relationship. When the audience is in the room, you can see so clearly just how and to what they respond. Of course, every group is different, but it’s still an energizing and revealing process.

I feel a little bad the Luzern (and Wheaton) lectures were all uploaded to the blog in such a compressed time period – they were an awful lot to digest over a week. But May looks to be a pretty crazy month, and I wanted to post the files as soon as opportunity allowed. That’s the great thing about the digital age. Those lectures now await you at your leisure.

I can’t believe I still haven’t posted any reactions to Luzern’s Symphonic Film Music or Chamber Music performances. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that someday I’d hear the Se7en performed live. Or Ed Wood with a real Theremin! (Basil Bohni and I did a pre-concert lecture for this concert, and were joined by the Theremin player. I was able to finally speak the sentence, “Will you please play the Theremin for us now?” A life-long dream realized!) And the austere Bartokian harmonies of The Brood set aside the oft-sumptuous Seven Pieces … and The Departed … and The Fly … and, and, and!

By the way, rumor is they’d love to hold this festival again in 2013. If you haven’t already, start saving now. Nothing is official, and who knows what will happen, but if they do host, we all need to be there! Ludwig Wicki has shared some of his Howard Shore wishlist with me – some of the pieces he’d hope to conduct next time out. If he only gets half of them … wow! …

So it’s back to the coalface for now. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m hoping to have an announcement or two in just a few days – maybe a week or so. You should also be seeing some heavy duty press releases as summer rolls in – and more as it rolls along.

Oh, and I think I should have my contract for The Hobbit soon. It’s quite likely I’ll announce when that comes in!

See you on the boards,

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