I haven't written here in a while, so I thought I'd give an update on what I'm working on right now.
At present, I'm in the middle of writing a piece for intermediate-to-advanced groups. I enjoy a good "heist" movie like Oceans Eleven, The Italian Job, and the grandfather of them all, Rififi, so I thought it would be fun to write a faux soundtrack to a heist movie. Musically telling the story of an elite group sneaking into a building, evading security, cracking the safe, and getting out with the loot has yielded some good things and has given me the opportunity to include some fun special effects.
I have a "main" theme and a "secondary" theme written and now it's just a matter of arranging them to tell the story - building suspense in certain places and depicting the events of the heist.
I'm also at work on my second opera, Heart Mountain. My plan is to go back and forth between writing a number for the opera and writing a piece for school orchestras. that way, I'll have enough music to send to my publishers each year while still making steady progress on the opera. At present, I've finished the opera's short intro, two of the twelve arias, and the ensemble-finale. There will be four singers (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone) and the arias I've finished are for Soprano and Tenor. I'll write an Alto aria, then one for the Baritone, and another ensemble (perhaps the opening chorus, but I haven't decided for sure). After that, I'll be one third of the way done.
The opera is coming along slowly, but I have the time and want to make sure I have nothing but spectacular melodies throughout. in fact, I've worked out a method where I write all the music to a piece first, then write the lyrics to fit the rhythms and melodies. Writing music to fit the lyrics never worked for me - The melodies tend to fall flat at the expense of staying true to the words. the new system is working much better.
I'll write more about the lyrical process later.