Checking in with Cody: Challenges

What are some of the challenges you experienced while writing the concertino?

This piece consists of several “firsts” for me. It’s my first double concerto, my first piece for guitar, my first original piece for wind ensemble (that is not a transcription), and my first work for high school musicians. I spent time studying double concertos to get a sense of how other composers handle the interaction of the soloists with each other, and the interaction between the soloists and the ensemble. I also spent a lot of time studying materials about writing for guitar and studying pieces from the guitar repertoire. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the time I spent in my own High School wind ensemble, considering the kind of piece I would have wanted to play, and also reminding myself of what we found musically challenging in high school, and what we found rewarding.

Some of the most interesting and difficult challenges in writing the concertino involved issues of balance, and not just in terms of volume or numbers of people playing. In addition to the acoustical issues of balancing a flute and guitar with a wind ensemble, I wanted to balance the material among the soloists and ensemble players as best I could so that everyone has something interesting to play. Additionally, I had to work with balancing the educational aspects of the piece with my own artistic voice, as I figured out how to use the students’ melodic and rhythmic contributions. I also strove to create opportunities for both soloistic and accompanimental playing in the ensemble and to give the soloists equal roles so that one soloist didn’t dominate the other.