A Week in November - Sally Whitwell
Piano Solo - Digital Sheet Music

Item Number: 21894516
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Piano Solo - Level 5 - Digital Download

SKU: A0.873046

Composed by Sally Whitwell. Contemporary. Score. 11 pages. Sally Whitwell #6119391. Published by Sally Whitwell (A0.873046).

A Week in November… and what a week it was! It was the week of the US Presidential Election 2020. As I write these words, the absurdist tantrums of the Trump-Pence campaign versus the reasoned compassion of team Biden-Harris continues even well after the results have been called in the Democrats’ favour. There will not be the usual respectful concession speech and transition of power. I worry every day about how these next few months will be so very difficult, maybe even dangerous, for my American friends.

Those convoys of flag waving Trumpists gleefully, openly, encouraged by their ‘leader’, attempting to block the democratic process was horrifying to witness. Was America on the brink of civil war? It still doesn’t seem far fetched to think that as I sit in my studio on the other side of the world, feeling helpless. The only thing I felt that I could do for my friends over there was to offer them a way to feel safe and loved in the moment, a bit of musical mindfulness. 

It was in this spirit that I wrote the second movement of this work, subtitled A Pocket Full of Calm. My excellent pianist friends Erica Sipes (USA) and Sandra Mogensen (Canada) adopted my little tune, recorded it on their social media to share said moment in the moment as it were. I hope it helped. I mean, if I can bring to even just one person some sense of calm solidarity, I’m happy with that.

The fifth movement in the set, Victorious, resolute, but gracious, was a stream-of-consciousness creative response to the Biden Harris victory and the way they handled it so eloquently, so humbly, how they gave the world a sense of optimism once more. For a long while, I’d felt that I probably wouldn’t be welcome in America. As a mixed race, queer woman I was the antithesis of everything they valued. But now, people like me over there can feel human again. The relief!

As for the other days of that week in November, they are part of a continuing series of daily composition exercises I started back in October in an effort to end a lengthy period of pandemic-induced creative block. Using a combination of exercises from Music Composition Toolbox (Barbeler/Blom/Hindson) and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies I’ve been able to find my creativity again. Starting a composition ‘habit’ is the best thing I’ve done for my writing all year and is how I mean to continue for a long time.

Sally Whitwell

12 November 2020 

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