holiday sing

Idea for a New Piece

Sometimes I just improvise at the piano to come up with ideas that might turn into something.  Occasionally an idea sticks around, comes back to me several days later, and I'm not sure why (at the time).  But often times, ideas like that are the seeds for a new work.  This happened a few days ago - I came up with a simple little chord progression that sounded nice, but disregarded it and went back to work on something else. I didn't even write it down.  Then on Wednesday I was sitting at the piano and I found myself fiddling with this chord progression again. Now the ideas have been in my head almost non-stop for the past few days.  Even though it is in some ways distracting from a piece I'm trying to finish (Magnolia Star for wind ensemble), it's always exciting when this sort of inspiration happens, and I don't mind the distraction one bit. I think the ideas will work great for both an SATB choral piece and possibly a wind band transcription.  The essence of the idea is an 8 bar harmonic progression  in 3/4 time that would be repeated, each time adding a new layer of counterpoint, or a new voice, etc.  It will definitely start as a choral work, and I'm thinking the text might just be "Alleluia."  The idea reminds me in some ways of Mozart's Dona Nobis Pacem canon, which has a special place in my heart because it is sung community-sing style at the conclusion of the Eastman Holiday Sing each year in December.   Here is the 2010 performance directed by the great Mark Scatterday (even though you can't see him in the video):