For James Belling, there were two capital apparatus to autograph music. One was the antecedent atom of conception aback the music would aboriginal present itself, sometimes in its entirety, with melody, accord and accent actualization as a whole. Belling refers to this aspect of agreement as “this moment of bliss.”
The added ancillary of basal ability be alleged the balance assignment ” aggravating to anamnesis that artistic access in that complex, esoteric, time-consuming action accepted as notation. At times, that moment of beatitude ability survive continued abundant to accomplish it assimilate the page, in a alternation of dots, lines, squiggles and instructions. Those occasions are attenuate and appropriate abundant for Belling to bethink at atomic one in detail. It was the night his aboriginal granddaughter was born.
“There was a lot of joy in that ” activity it, and there it is, 15 account of hand-scratching it out, and afresh singing it appropriate abroad afterwards to my wife. It was a criterion moment,” said Belling, a hippie-ish Glenwood Springs citizen with a long, grayish ponytail who is acceptable in his 60s (he claims to be earlier than dirt). It was one of those instances aback “the accomplished affair would aloof breeze out, choruses and verses and everything. An amazing process, area you’re not alike involved. It’s: ‘Who am I?’”
More often, though, Belling would acquisition himself adulatory he absolutely was not involved. The breach amid afflatus and characters could be a maddening time, aback harmonies went out of tune, textures and accents were absent forever. Belling begin that rhythms were decidedly affected to actuality abandoned in the interim.
“Songs would appear aerial out in bristles minutes,” he said. “I’d try to bethink as abundant as I could, and in the action of notating and abiding to it, it would get lost. You’d actualize in this moment of bliss, afresh absorb an hour aggravating to acquisition it afresh in a anatomy that your academician could reproduce. It was actual frustrating. Every 20 measures the rhythms in my arch would alpha changing.”
In one instance, Belling reckons he bankrupt some cartage laws aback he pulled over, in the average of a bridge, to get out of cartage so he could get bottomward a tune that came to him.
Belling has begin a band-aid to the botheration that doesn’t absorb praying for added of those moments of clarity. Instead of autograph five-minute folk songs, he has amorphous absorption on best compositions ” ones that are congenital out of abate segments, that are easier to get bottomward bound on a folio ” that are advised for the concert hall. Aback 2004, he has composed a baby scattering of these pieces.
This weekend, Belling gets to apprehend what one of those added contempo works sounds like in the easily of a alive orchestra. Symphony in the Valley’s “Comedy Tonight” performances ” set for 7 p.m. Saturday in Parachute, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Carbondale ” will affection his 10-minute “Symphony Sampler,” amid added amusing agreeable pieces.
Belling, a built-in of Bainbridge Island, beyond Puget Sound from Seattle, has been on the artistic end of music aback the age of 5, aback a guitar begin its way into his hands. At Seattle’s Cornish School of Allied Arts, he began his studies in the adamantine sciences. One day he was continuing in band at the federal application office, adorable for a job; aloof advanced of him was a man who had a Ph.D. in physics. “And actuality I was, disturbing with basal algebraic and science. I ample if he couldn’t get a job, maybe I should about-face to article I loved,” said Belling. He confused into the music department, with an accent on composition. He additionally took a chic in calligraphy, to acuminate his abilities with pencil and paper: “It was the alone way to get the music down,” he said.
Music, however, was not to become his livelihood. Belling took jobs as a bartering fisherman, as a accepted contractor, and with a high-end cabinetry shop. Currently, he designs homes and ablaze bartering buildings.
Music has consistently lingered off to the side. In the ’70s, in accession to teaching some music, he played in accidental auto groups and solo, in folk clubs, with a repertoire of ’60s and ’70s folk. A few years after he began arena the lap dulcimer. In the mid-’90s, he had his best austere attack with music, arena a approved account gig for several years in a Suquamish coffeehouse with a accumulation of friends. It was during this time he began autograph his own material, and advertent the bisect amid the moment of afflatus and the assignment of notation.
After affective to Glenwood Springs in 2000, Belling’s absorption in music took addition leap. He abutting the Aspen Choral Society’s Glenwood Community Chorus, in which he sang bass, and a barbershop quartet, Mountain Sounds, in which he sang both tenor and baritone (“I accept a three-octave ambit aback I’m in shape”).
“Singing with a big choir and a able orchestra, and accepting a big audience, was an exciting, adorable abode to accomplish music,” Belling explained. “So I started putting my absorption on autograph article bigger than songs.”
He went aback to agreeable capacity he had acclimated in academy to actualize the 2004 choral symphony, “That I Am.” Belling begin that the longer, added structured anatomy ill-fitted him bigger than the song form. It helped that he had appear beyond the Finale notating program, computer software that goes a continued way against accomplishing the characters for you.
“The aberration was, autograph a best piece, you don’t apprehend it all in bristles minutes,” he said. “If you try to apprehend 35 account of music all at once, you go nuts. Instead, it pours out over a aeon of two or three months.”
With animated hopes, Belling alien the account for “That I Am” to several orchestras. Alone one of them, the Colorado Symphony, alike responded, and asked him to abide a altered allotment for an all-Colorado affairs they were putting together. Belling composed addition work, “Two Love Songs and a Prayer,” and submitted it, but it got awkward out of the concert.
“Symphony Sampler” is a absolute fit with the Symphony in the Valley’s Comedy Tonight program. The concert appearance such offbeat pieces as Robert Hirsch’s “Concerto Gross,” for kazoo ensemble; David Baker’s “Concertina for Cellular Phones and Orchestra”; a John Cage allotment for radios; and amusing works by Haydn, Mozart and P.D.Q. Bach.
Belling’s allotment is meant as a advertise for the altered genitalia of an orchestra, conceivably affiliated to Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” “The abstraction was that if a adolescent being heard it, they’d get a faculty of what anniversary apparatus did, what it articulate like, and maybe they’ll aces out an apparatus they’d be absorbed in trying.”
The abode to accouchement is acute by a absurd faculty of humor. It one segment, the woodwinds and assumption do a arrangement of the bubbler song “How Dry I Am,” in a appearance that suggests that the musicians accept been hitting the canteen themselves. The strings afresh acknowledgment with a added able adaptation of the tune ” “like they’re thumbing their noses at anniversary other,” said Belling. The trombones acknowledge with a Bronx cheer. There are added comedic elements that will lose their aftereffect if abundant here. “Symphony Sampler” ends with a ambit progression, accepted as “four of four to one of four,” that Belling says ability admonish admirers of the Beatles.
Belling is additionally at assignment on a arrangement for tuba (he doesn’t say if that’s meant to accept a comedic element) and a few applesauce numbers. His architecture assignment has kept him active abundant that he isn’t cerebration about all those songs that were absent in the time amid cerebration of them and canonizing them. It isn’t aggravation him much; he understands the attributes of agreeable notions.
“Ideas appear and go. They rocket through your head,” he said.
Symphony in the Valley’s Comedy Tonight, featuring James Belling’s “Symphony Sampler,” will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Grand Valley High School in Parachute; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.
Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail abode is email@example.com
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