On February 25th, I will conduct the premiere of my Revenant: Concerto for Horn and Orchestra with David Jolley as soloist. The compositional road for Revenant was pretty rocky: I started working on it about a year ago, finished it in November, then realized I hadn’t written the piece I had wanted to write. What to do? I started over. So audiences at the premiere will actually be hearing my second horn concerto, although it won’t be billed as such.
Starting over is both painful and liberating. The painful part is having to ditch ideas you have become very close to. Russell Peck compares it to cutting off fingers. The liberating part is knowing exactly where things went wrong, and how to avoid the mishaps the second time around. I always find tasks easier the second time I do them, and this was no exception: the first version took seven months, the second just two weeks.
I will have more to say about Revenant, revisions, concertos and conducting in upcoming posts.