As we neared the end of recording (and I was figuratively crawling on hands and knees to try to reach the finish line), I realized that the album really needed to have one tune that was under 3 minutes, 30 seconds. That is a time limit that apparently defines the outer limit of attention for radio DJ’s and is an industry standard. One PR firm I spoke to had suggested including three “radio edits” of my pieces on the album, but I didn’t like the idea of being represented by something that gets your attention and then fades out. To make things worse, since Bev passed away last April, I found it extremely difficult to improvise in the studio (the only exception being “A Song of New Beginnings”: go figure.)
I had one little melody fragment that, like other discoveries in the studio improvising, was going to open up into a new “fragrance”, a new landscape. I hadn’t gone back to it yet, because it is so dark, but I decided that since it’s all I had, I would move it forward. And the rest of the piece quickly developed. It would have been nice to close the album on a bright note (for instance, I could have put “A Song….” at the end). But, despite it’s gravity, this little piece seemed perfect for the end. Thematically, it relates to several of the other pieces: I always like to have motifs being echoed back and forth through a piece or a larger opus. And then, just as the opening invocation piece had ended on a note rising to a high 5th or dominant of the scale with a note of promise, “Hard Time” ends with a figure descending to a low 5th/dominant note, and thus also not really closing off or ending the music. Contradicting my earlier statement (about having a distaste for symmetry), in this case, I do like the symmetry, maybe because it’s not a mirror reflection perfect symmetry, but a “handed” symmetry, more like a call-response.
Anyway, there you have it. Some more notes on all eight tunes on the CD. I hope they are of some interest. Let me know if you have any thoughts about these commentaries or any questions.