How to Write a Symphony in 10 Steps

My longtime friend and colleague Daniel Dorff sent a link to a helpful webpage that offers guidance on writing a symphony. Lots of interesting insights, may eliminate the need for a theory textbook when classes resume this week.

Danny will be one of the composers having new pieces done on this coming Sunday’s Dolce Suono concert. My contribution will be this little flute duet.

[UPDATE: my WordPress stats tell me that a great many people come to this page as the result of what is probably a well-intentioned Google search, so I feel a need to point out the third item in the list of tags below.]

Ives’ Organic Birthday

My friend (and fine composer) Daniel Dorff has let met know about an upcoming event celebrating Charles Ives on the occasion of a new Theodore Presser Co. publication. Danny writes:

I’m writing to invite you to celebrate Charles Ives’s birthday, Saturday October 20, 2012 by joining the worldwide Ives Complete Organ Music Birthday Bash (ICOMBB), also celebrating the new publication of his COMPLETE ORGAN MUSIC. The book includes many unfamiliar Ives organ works, as well as critical editions of Variations on “America” in both the original 1892 version and the familiar 1949 E. Power Biggs edition.

To participate, simply ask your organist-friends to get a copy of the book when it comes out in mid-September, and schedule a performance of part or all of the book on Ives’s birthday. We plan to make lots of noise on this special day, so please forward this invitation to your friends, colleagues, and make internet announcements, to help the party go viral.

Please feel free to publicize your events and everyone else’s, upload to YouTube, and let us know concert info c/o and the complete list will be publicized to the media and available for all other organizations to share and announce.

There are no rules or protocols, just a global birthday party celebrating Ives and his organ music.

More info on the book since it’s not out yet – Charles Ives COMPLETE ORGAN MUSIC contains 62 pages of music and 16 pages of historical and critical notes. Organists already familiar with Variations on “America” will be able to learn the other works during the time between the book’s release and the birthday event. The publication will be available from the shopping cart at as soon as we receive it, and from your favorite dealer as soon as they order it (443-41003, $29.95).

You can go here to see sample pages from the book. It looks fascinating. I had no idea the familiar version of the Variations on “America” was an edition prepared by Biggs, and it will be interesting to compare it with the original. And who could resist a piece called Burlesque Harmonizations of “London Bridge”? (Probably not that kind of burlesque, but still…)

There are a number of options for the Variations on YouTube, but I especially liked this performance by young organist Tom Trenney: