an oil tanker taking off like a saturn rocket
Composer John Adams has a great post up on his blog about the last minute scramble to finish and score Harmonielehre for its premier with the San Francisco Symphony.
"Harmonielehre" was the victim of the worst case of writer’s block I ever endured—eighteen months, in fact—and when I finally found the "code" and started frantically composing I had only a couple of months to grind out hundreds of pages of dense orchestral scoring. Most pages had thirty-two staves, and I went through number five Turquoise drafting pencils at the rate of one a day, my arm aching like an overworked fastball pitcher.
The whole story's insane. If you don't know Harmonielehre, you should. A friend of mine once called it maximalist minimalism; here's a taste.