Two things have impelled me to release the second movement, though I am still (and will forever be, I suspect) unsatisfied with the mix.
The first was the happy occasion of attending my first symphony concert in Ukiah. They did several rather unpopular works by Beethoven — the Lenore Overture #1 (Beethoven was so unhappy with this that he rewrote it three times, and #4 is the one normally performed with the opera it belongs to, as the Overture to Fidelio), the Ruins of Athens Overture, and the King Stephen Overture — and then the Bruch Violin Concerto, with Philip Santos up from San Francisco as the soloist.
It was not perfect. And that didn’t matter even a little bit. It was beautiful and inspiring, and Marta and I were thrilled. A valuable reminder to not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.
The other is that my niece’s water just broke this evening, and she’s delivering her first child as I write. It’s the first continuation of my father’s family line in their generation. Of his five siblings, only one had children, a boy and a girl (my cousins), and neither of them had children. Of the five surviving children between my sister and me, this is the first “grandchild” — though technically, she would be my great-niece (and yes, it’s a girl).
She is giving birth. So it’s time for me to give birth to this movement, which is (after all) a children’s movement. I’d like to dedicate it to my great-niece, though I’m not going to write her name here until I’ve double-checked the spelling, and the kids have other things on their minds right now. All in good time. [NB: it’s Kairi Eve Dunn, 7 lb 5 oz, born 10/11/2015 at 2:01 am in Casper, Wyoming]
The movement is subtitled “Variations on a Theme of Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo.” That’s technically incorrect — it is actually “Variations on a Theme of Nyah-Nyah-na-Nyah-Nyah,” but that just … doesn’t … quite work when you say it.
As it opens, I picture a little girl skipping down the sidewalk, or the road, in the early morning sun. You know she’s aware of a boy — a little brother, or perhaps a boy who is sweet on her — shadowing her, and they are sticking out their tongues and making faces when they think the other isn’t looking. And then….
Well, let the music speak from there.