At this point ALCATRAZ is about 95% composed, in Logic. I'm trying to find the right harmonic signature for the "escape" sequence and finale, expressing both the victory of escape from the viewpoint of the prisoners, as well as the panic and fear of the guards and city of San Francisco upon discovering their escape. The June 1962 Alcatraz escape was an attempt by American criminals Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris to leave Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on Alcatraz Island using an inflatable raft. The FBI's investigation was unable to determine whether the three men successfully escaped or died in the attempt... I'm leaning in favor of the prisoners right now... kind of implying that I believe they survived the frigid waters and current. I want to end with a ? regarding their ultimate fate, as nobody knows if they made it to shore or if they succumbed to the sea.
Natalie and I toured the island in July of 2013, at the end of a two week trip to the California coast. We flew into Los Angeles and spent some time visiting our good friend Tim Brandt, then made our way down to San Clemente to stay with Mike & Rachel Bruchanski before we drove up the PCH through Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo, Big Sur and finally, San Francisco. The Alcatraz Island and the stories it told absolutely fascinated me. Over a year later, this piece is the result of mulling over those fascinations.
When I'm finished composing I will transcribe by phrase directly into Sibelius. This has been my general practice, to write in Logic where I can hear the voices with virtual instruments, expression, dynamics, etc. and then take dictation in Sibelius. Slow but accurate.
I feel like this piece is a suite from the score to the Alcatraz movie that Alfred Hitchcock never made, and Bernard Herrmann never scored... I fell into using the half-diminished chord extensively, it was one of Herrmann's favorites, and some of the cascading, descending seventh chords feel very much in that wheelhouse.