WIP: Nostalgia Instrumentation

I've been thinking this week about the instrumentation for this work on nostalgia. When the idea first presented itself to me I'd thought of writing for a string ensemble. Probably as I was working on a string quartet at the time. I'm still attracted to the idea of using traditional strings, but I wonder if an ensemble consisting of more iconic instruments from the various musical movements from which I'll be drawing my source material.

I also wonder if, should I choose to use the guitar in the ensemble, if I should consider myself as the person to perform in the ensemble. The composer as member of the performing ensemble is pretty well established at this point in Western concert music, but I question whether or not I would be able to bring sufficient energy as a performer, conductor and composer. Much less art director, promoter, publicist, etc....

Right now, I'm mulling over the use of a live percussionist verses someone using a sampler or laptop (laptopist, samplist, ??). I love the modern drum kit, but I don't want the work to be perceived as pop or rock music. It will certainly have elements of both, but I'm not interested in contributing to the garbage heap of either genre, and certainly not interested in more "arty" forms of either. That perception may be unavoidable if there's a drum kit and a guitar.

I watched this interview with John Zorn last night. I've always found his focus on working in a community to be interesting. At one point he talks about a piece he'd written that wound up being orchestrated and performed in numerous ways before he found what he considered the proper instrumental combination. I wonder if I shouldn't just start writing and wait to see who actually wants to participate in the work. This could prove an interesting approach.

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