One of those “everyone records themselves” videos

After holding out for as long as possible, I finally gave in and did one of these composite videos with my group, Orchestra Seattle / Seattle Chamber Singers.

If you’re wondering why was I holding out, you are either insane, or you have no idea how many hours these things take? I myself would find it impossible to create an accurate accounting of my time. I lost track, along with my fool brain, while I was doing it.

[At least I wasn’t alone in this. All my colleagues have talked about how intense it is making one of these things, including the great Dr. Tiffany Lu; we talked about it on my podcast this week.]

I made a very savvy decision early on though: I chose one of my own pieces as the subject of the recording. This, I knew, would be the one thing to compel me to stick with the task to its completion.

Here, for posterity, is the email I wrote to the members of my ensemble when announcing the completed video:

Ciao tutti,
I know that I had originally slated tomorrow night for Zoom games, but I want to postpone those until Sunday evening at 7:00, because I’ve run out of time to make any games.

“Why?” you ask?

Because it turns out that video editing — the kind I’ve been doing to assemble the project that so many of you submitted recordings for — is, for someone who has precisely zero idea what he’s doing, a soul-sucking, RAM-busting enterprise that literally dissolves the stuff of which time is made.

But the video is “finished,” or at least has been uploaded, so instead, let’s assemble virtually to watch it together tomorrow night at its YouTube premiere tomorrow, Tuesday, December 22, at 7:30 pm. Here’s the link:

You all did such a great job performing and recording yourselves for this project, and I want to commend you for your labors and thank everyone who participated. I also especially want to thank those of you who didn’t participate, because with every additional video, I lost 5% of my sanity and 2% of my lifespan.

You might wonder if it will be worth watching this video. Will it, for example, be “good”? This is a great question. Having lost all perspective on the matter, I would say that the finished product exists outside the dialectic boundaries of “good” and “bad”. It is a-hermeneutic and anti-epistemological; it is a sequence of 1s and 0s that, on some metaphysical level, can be said to exist, and even that is an assertion I am hesitant to make.

But I also kind of think you’ll love it.

Maybe you’ve seen other groups’ videos, outsourced to professional editors, with their slick, sleek, perfectly-shaped boxes and faultlessly synced sound. This isn’t that. It’s quirky and colorful and weird. On the editing level, it’s akin to that experiment from the 1960s where members of the Navajo tribe who had never held a camera before were given professional film equipment and told to make a movie about their society. So just be prepared.

Anyway, I’m excited for you all to see it, and if, after seeing it, you have any constructive criticism or feedback, please know that I absolutely do not want it, and would even go so far as to argue that it is literally impossible to judge a digital “object” such as the one that you will have witnessed.

I’ll send a reminder tomorrow night. Until then, happy solstice!