Monday, July 24, 2006

Prof. McJeebie's Wedding Music

The young composer Colin Holter maintains a blog at New Music Box about his experiences as a student at one of the Universities of Illinois. I should hope that he does not receive class credit for airing his dirty laundry without the approval of his professors.

In his latest post, “Prenuptial Agreement,” student Holter wonders what kind of music might be played at a composer’s wedding. There have been several responses to his query, but I thought I would publish my response on Classical Pontifications so as to not unjustly enrich the content of my competitor’s publication.

In the fall of 1968, I had just been named Temporary Professor of Composition and Arrangement at the Hotel Cadillac, and I decided it was time to settle down with the woman whom I had been teaching for almost twelve years. Her name was Piccola Sempré, and she was an avid arranger of my compositions. I’m sad to report that our marriage did not last very long. We were divorced after she deliberately spilled espresso on my TANDY Mainframe700 computer.

At any rate, for our wedding ceremony we hired the Hotel Cadillac’s contemporary music ensemble, Ictus Fictus, to play the music of my late mentor, the romantic modernist composer Dr. Prof. Held Projansky. We commissioned a new work from Dr. Prof. Projansky with the stipulation that it be incorporated into a medley of his earlier works. The medley included excerpts from his epic symphonic opus Abstractions in the Key of E Minor, his prankish yet disciplined etude Variations on an Earlier Theme of Dr. Prof. Held Projanksy, the overture from his oratorio Projansky Dreams: From the Concert Hall to the Opera House, and the newly commissioned work The Transfiguration: Sempré to McJeebie.

Dr. Prof. Projanksy’s wedding score was very modernist and abstract, and many of our guests remarked at how inaccessible and grumpy he was during the ceremony, but this grumpiness was primarily to do with indigestion from the champagne. It turned out that Dr. Prof. Projanksy was very happy with the performance, and it was a wonderful experience for me and my bride to have a medley of modern compositions performed throughout the ceremony.

The concert/ceremony made me proud to have studied with Dr. Prof. Projansky, but it did more than that: Dr. Prof. Projanksy’s music was truly educational for my bride. You see, Piccola had only arranged music. She knew virtually nothing about composition. Dr. Projansky inspired her to appreciate the effort and skill required to be a modern composer. His medley emphasized the importance of composition over arrangement.

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