...with a book—lines unwritten, lines rewritten, characters drawn, characters redrawn, characters abandoned, pages discarded, chapters filed, files embedded in other files for future reference....
You get the picture. This oeuvre from Hell has had fourteen titles and more plots, sub-plots, personalities, and incarnations than I can count. Every time I think I've attained a measure of authorial control over it, an unbidden voice chimes in with other ideas to let me know I haven't.
Yesterday was no different. But for some reason, in a moment of utter frustration and dissatisfaction, I suddenly remembered a similar struggle with another oeuvre from Hell: "With Verdure Clad" by Franz Joseph Haydn.
My voice teacher assigned the aria to me when I was a Freshman because he thought it was right for my voice. I played through it, liked it, and so I learned it, and practiced it, and practiced it, and practiced it...all year long. And then summer came and I quickly put it away.
I really thought I was finished with it, but at my first lesson after summer vacation, my teacher asked me to sing it, and continued to ask me to sing it every few weeks or so, until I graduated three years later.
It became a kind of running joke. I'd work on other pieces, get to the point where I could sing them fairly well, and then he'd say (always with a smirk), "Take out the Haydn." And I'd groan.
I never performed that aria. Not once. It wasn't that I grew to hate it; it just seemed that the more I knew about it, understood how it should be sung, the more I understood how much work I still had to do to get there, get control of the piece. As much progress as I made, it wasn't quite enough.
And I suppose that's the problem with this book of fourteen names and umpteen personalities.
How much more apt could it be that my undergraduate nemesis was from a work entitled, The Creation? As if my teacher could have known.... And how much more apt could it be that upon listening to it sung beautifully (as it is here, by Christina Landshamer), I see how much work I still have to do....
Causes Barbara Froman Supports
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Greater Chicago Food Depository
Lawyers for the Creative Arts