Monday, December 19, 2011

Two Years Wasted

Oh, Internets.  Let my tell you a sad story of sadness.

As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, I've been working on a new opera. It's been two years of slow, meticulous work, coming up with over an hour of music and all the lyrics.  I'm really proud of what I've done and I think it might be one of the better things I've ever written.  The whole piece is 98% done - I just need to work out a few of the musical transitions between scenes and that will take about a week.

And then I heard just this morning that someone has written a musical with the exact same setting, themes, and a very similar plot that's going to be produced next year, with strong hopes of a Broadway run.

And I just died a little.

So I'm weighing my options. Part of me wants to put in that last week of work, like an exhausted and broken marathon runner getting carried over the finish line to achieve a sense of closure.  I'd then print it out, put it in a binder, and it would sit on a shelf next to my first opera, unproduced forever.  Another part of me just wants to burn it all and scream to the sky as loud as I can.  I've considered making drastic revisions to my piece, but I don't know where I'd start. The music is very specific to the setting and would be difficult to adapt.

The fact is, that the two pieces are going to be very different, but even though each was created without the knowledge of the other, comparisons will be made and I will likely lose any battle of opinions. 

Woe is me, Internets.  Weep for the weary artist.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sales Statement 2011 (Part 1)

I got my annual sales statement from Alfred Publishing recently! When I first started getting these, they were listings of how many copies each piece of published music was sold that year and, while that's the same basic principle for current statements, there are major changes from those early days. Now, each piece of music is available in multiple forms: Score and parts, score alone, parts alone, digital parts downloaded through SmartMusic, digital score downloaded through SmartMusic, print licensing, mechanical licensing, and photocopy licensing.  Then all of those are divided into domestic sales (inside the U.S.) and foreign sales (everywhere else), meaning that each of my published works has a potential for 16 revenue streams.

To be honest, though, each of those revenue streams accounts for very little on its own. My foreign sales are a fraction of a fraction of my domestic sales and only one honest director paid Alfred after making photocopies like he's supposed to do. But those few dollars here and there accumulate and, added to sales of scores and parts (which make up the bulk of the sales), they added up to a significant increase in overall sales from last year.  So if you bought something of mine this year, thank you!

Now comes the fun part: discovering which were my best sellers of the year.  Here are my top five best selling folios of scores and parts (domestic sales):

1. Avatar
2. Gauntlet & Sneaking Suspicion (tie)
3. Gargoyles
4. Las Mariposas Exoticas
5. Agincourt

Avatar was last year's number-one seller as well and I credited that to people mistaking my piece for the soundtrack to James Cameron's 2009 movie. I suppose this either means that people haven't caught on yet or they really like my piece.  Gauntlet and Gargoyles always seem to make the top five and Sneaking Suspicion did well, mostly because it's brand new.  Star of Valor and Storm Trail were also new and had respectable numbers, but didn't crack the top five. Agincourt stays strong, but this year's surprise is the resurgence of Mariposas. It's an older piece that usually stays in the middle of the pack, but has rallied for some reason this year.

Overall, it was a good year! I'll have more information and top five lists in a later post.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Breeze in the Keys Video

Check out this video of the string orchestra of l'Escola Municipal de Música de Calvià.  They open their show with"A Breeze In the Keys".

I'm not used to hearing it that fast, but for this piece a slightly faster tempo works. It also helps that they have spectacular musicianship and are able to make the piece sound effortless.  So where exactly is l'Escola Municipal de Música de Calvià?  Well, it's here:

In the western Mediterranean off the Spanish mainland.


I forgot most of my Spanish when I learned Italian, but gracias a Profesor László Füllöp!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maharaja Video

It looks like my new piece "Maharaja" is really taking off! I've already found a few concert videos on YouTube and I think this one is the best. It's just a little too fast, but the intonation and rhythms are flawless and check out the bass player's fancy German bow grip! I also like that the Violin II player is really getting into the groove of those finger snaps at 1:40.

Anyway, please to enjoy the Encore Strings of East Lansing, Michigan in their Fall 2011 concert: