Articles by Stephen Gorbos
At the heart of the EarShot experience is dialogue: dialogue between a composer’s ideas, an ensemble of quality musicians, and several different sets of eyes and ears, all determined to make this a very solid experience. An orchestration lesson on steroids would be an appropriate summation.
It was striking how much the pieces changed over the 30-hour period between the two readings: everyone’s score was in sharper focus; the forms and overarching reach of each piece were much more comprehensible.
Digging back into a score to prepare parts is a bit like getting reacquainted with an old friend, like a college roommate or someone you met on an extended backpacking excursion. (Hey! Remember when we stayed up all night together, trying to decide how to orchestrate that crazy canon at Rehearsal I?)
Despite the baggage of a few centuries of repertoire, the politics of tradition, and the economics of reality, I think there is an inexhaustible potential in the orchestra. The choreography that goes into coordinating sound events is remarkably precarious, the possibilities for timbral nuances are staggering, and the challenge to convey some intimacy in a medium that can inherently be impersonal sets a composer up for an interesting ride on the roller coaster of creativity.