To set the mood for this blog here are some pieces to keep in mind for next year's Halloween concerts:
Dream Song by Edward Gregson
I. Quite slow and dramatically - agitated
Teddy Bear's Massacre by Paul McGhee
Peterloo Overture by Malcolm Arnold
Most people will have read short stories by Edgar Allen Poe - The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and probably The Pit and the Pendulum. Fewer know or have read stories by a Rhode Island native inspired by Poe's work - H.P. Lovecraft.
One fascinating Lovecraft fact is that the majority of his life was spent with a close relative in a mental institution. He also had a fascination with world cultures, most often the Congo and Egyptian ones. Of the stories I've read so far mostly contain characters plagued by obsession and pushing mortality to obtain their desires. It's a much more subtle approach to "horror" than what most may find entertaining. The long-haul stories are the ones that stay with you though - you can see it coming but you aren't quite sure until there's no escape left.
One such story is Herbert West - Reanimator. Chapter by chapter the descent of a medical student with one goal in life is documented by his worried assistant. His experiments grow in daring and desperation as well as the fear that they will come back to find him.
If you're going to pick up Lovecraft's works I recommend the Penguin Edition shown to the right. Stacked with stories and with a biographical note in the front. It sat on my bookshelf for two years and I only pulled it out because it was October - I regret not reading it sooner!
While we're talking about things that go bump in the night haunted houses are a must. I went to one in Baltic, Connecticut with my girlfriend and a few friends and it was the first time in probably a decade I went to one. Why so long a wait? Because some crafters have determined that gross = scary. No, gross equals gross. As a creator on the Silent Hill Movie said in an interview "There's a difference between being disgusting and being disturbing; I want this to be disturbing". As a little kid I went to one that grossed me out and I was a wimp and decided not to go to any after that. Until now!
The Dark Manor was great! About 15-20 minutes of scares and it was quite the production. Probably about 50 actors, a few chainsaws, and some serious mechanics (I'm looking at you, hospital room) made for one heck of an experience. It also helped I was at the end of the group...although one actor decided to slowly creep their way towards us when we couldn't move forward. What stays with you isn't all the blood on the walls but the disorienting maze and the fact that you have no control over what's coming next. It just makes me wish I did Universal Studios's Halloween Horror Nights - those areas have some serious production value.
But what of the horror experiences far beyond the norm? What about one where you're allowed to be touched and not allowed to leave unless there is real mental/physical harm? Enter McKamey Manor, a notorious and borderline legal event that spawned out of San Diego. Google it if you want but it's some pretty brutal stuff.
I've announced some initial composition plans for "The Houglass" for trumpet and percussion but there's some exciting developments here as well. I've commissioned a graphic designer to create the front cover for the sheet music. It's a much different concept of a piece for me and I feel that a complementary visual aspect to the score will aid with later performances. It's well on its way and I'll post more as it develops.
That's all for now, Happy Halloween!