Meredith Ryan Taylor and Dr. David Sargent, Music
Abinadi, at the time of this report, has not been completed. Originally the opera was intended to be finished with an orchestration requiring soloists, chorus and a small instrumental ensemble of not more than twenty players. Early on in the process of writing, Dr. Lawrence Vincent (head of BYU opera) expressed an interest in somehow staging the work, but was unsure that the funds would be available for an orchestra. In consideration of this and the prospect of having the work staged I decided to reduce the amount of instrumentalists to three- two pianists and a woodwind specialist (the cast and chorus have remained unchanged).
Early on the creative process I decided to use various scales, modes and tone collections in representatively symbolic ways, one scale representing an emotion, mood or motivation of the character using it. With this in mind I set about sketching the melodic lines that would constitute the body and unifying force in the opera.
About this time, my father passed away and I was forced through my family responsibilities to miss about two and a half weeks of school. Emotionally and academically I was very stressed and spent the rest of the semester trying to recoup my grades. I continued to work on the opera, but with very little progress being made. Then, I returned home to work the rest of the summer on the opera. Upon my return I found that my computer (which I had used to orchestrate sections of what I had completed using Finale) had been irreparably damaged when it was shipped. It was fortunate that I still had most of my sketches on manuscript paper, but the work I had done on the computer was lost.
After building and setting up a new computer to work on, I was ready to begin work again. I did so realizing how far behind I was and have since then put in many hundreds of hours on the work. The work has gone more slowly than I had anticipated and could have only been hurried along at the cost of making music I would have considered mediocre. As it is, I am proud of the work which I have completed, about half of the first act – 672 completed measures and 13,722 notes. This includes a completed prologue, a completed first scene, and completed portions of the second scene and first act finale.
This past week I was forced to go to the hospital and was diagnosed as having symptomatic gall stones. At this point, undergoing the threat of surgery for removal of the gall bladder, I thought it would be wise to type this final report and give an example of the music that I have completed. The work will continue, and I am hoping to complete the score by this upcoming December, 1999.
Musical extract from the opera- Abinadi