Violence In Her Mind

In the midst of packing up stuff for my move, i found an old paper score to a piece i wrote in grad school called Violence In Her Mind, a piece that i wrote for my cousin Minna who was at the time battling through severe depression. The piece was split into three movements. The first, “Denial”, was for a nine-piece ensemble of fl, cl, vln, vlc, db, pn, and 3 perc. The second, “Running”, was for a six-piece subset of that ensemble, fl, cl, vln, vlc, pn, and vb. The third, “Minna’s Theme”, was written for a subset of that, clarinet and piano.

I’m putting some thought into going back and trying to revise the piece, but i’m not sure exactly how practical that is. I still like the first movement and the third movement quite a bit, but the second movement needs a lot of work if not a complete rewrite. More importantly, the gradually shrinking instrumentation idea isn’t one that i like at all anymore logistically. The first and second movement i can adjust to be the same sort of ensemble (it’d probably be fl, cl, vln, vlc, pno, 3 perc), but i’m loathe to change the duet to a larger instrumentation because that movement is very intimate and should remain that way. I know it’s not terribly uncommon for some instruments to tacet in movements, but it would still feel odd to me for the instrumentation to change so severely and have the rest of the ensemble just sitting there and trying not to be a distraction to the musical moment.

Stage directions could help with that – i think the original idea i had for the movement was that during the piano intro, the instrumentalists would leave the hall one player at a time until just the pianist and clarinet remained. That idea is still appealing and may be worth exploring if i want to revive the piece from the dusty archives.

It’s tempting, but the reality is that i probably shouldn’t touch it for a while because of how much work the second movement would be. After i get done writing Cascadia, i want to write a concert band piece for Tulane, try to push for a commission from Double or Nothing, write something for Limninal Space, and write my octophonic audio piece, all on top of my day job and poker. Maybe i’ll look at it again two years from now and assess it in between all of my other projects – and whatever else life happens to be throwing me at the time.

Mendel Lee

I'm a composer, musician, and music educator residing in New Orleans, LA.

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