My CD of The Planets has arrived. One friend has already received the copy he ordered directly from Meyer Media. You can hear some excerpts there, and I’ve left two movements up on my web site as teasers: Venus and Uranus. And I thought I’d brag a little about what I did in Uranus, one of my favorite movements.
Uranus, in astrology, is the planet of individuality and unexpected events. When Uranus hits your chart, strange and unpredicted things happen to you, indicating that your life has become so mired in habit that it no longer reflects who you are, and – uncomfortable as it may be – you’re going to have to get out of your ruts. So I wrote a piece rippling with unexpected events, some sudden nonsequitur every few measures, except that these little fragments reappear so often that you start getting used to them. Finally, there’s one of the weirdest passages I’ve ever written (click to hear it in isolation), a collage of one-measure and half-measure fragments from all these ideas making, in itself, no sense whatever:
But by now, I hope, you’ve heard all these fragments so many times that they don’t sound so strange anymore; you’ve internalized all this absurdity and are ready to live with it. The piece then breaks into the first passage I’ve written in decades in which the players improvise, a joyous moment of freedom (though over a B-flat sus chord).
You can hear the whole movement here. If you think it’s comical, I completely agree. I laughed my head off writing Uranus.