This August, Joshua Roman joins music director Cho-Liang Lin and resident musicians at SummerFest, the La Jolla Music Society’s annual month-long chamber music festival. At the opening night concert on August 7, he takes part in Tchaikovsky’s poetic string sextet Souvenir de Florence. Subsequent performances in La Jolla feature Brahms’s String Sextet in B Flat Major (August 8); Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor with soloists Philip Setzer, Kyoko Takezawa, Cho-Liang Lin, and Aisslinn Nosky (August 11); and Franck’s Piano Quintet in F Minor (August 14).
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Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Damn. This is hard! My respect for composers has gone through the roof since I first began scrawling on manuscript paper, and at no time has it been higher than the present. The focus and skill required to compose a work for soloist and orchestra are not easy to come by. Taking a few initial ideas – whether they come as a sound, a form, a gesture, a transitional mechanism – and turning them into a cohesive musical narrative is a process that can only be learned through experience.
There have got to be as many ways to do this as there are composers. I’ve gone through several myself, even on this one piece. To begin with, I had the idea to write from the piano. Supposedly, this would help me focus on the relationship between soloist and orchestra, rather than writing a solo line with incidental backup music behind it. Ironically, I realized several weeks into this method that all of the best moments were in the orchestra part, and the solo line was now secondary! Not to mention, it was taking forever due to my rudimentary keyboard skills.