I do not know of many composers who work like this. I think many composers have different versions of pieces. For instance a concerto for INSTRUMENT X with orchestra, with concert band, with piano, etc. But, I do not know composers who recast a piece from the conceptual stages to make another work. This is not revision as that actively destroys and rebuilds the same work with perhaps no record of the work before the revision process. Revision implies there is something wrong with the original work and it must be edited to be considered satisfactory.
I've been thinking about this concept of works being in more than one form for some time. There are a few pieces which have taken this form already and I am planning to take it even further in some upcoming projects.
First, Music Box 9. I was writing this piece when I first came into contact with Matthew Barney's work in the first place. The number in my title refers to the number of movements but also was probably a direct reference to Drawing Restraint 9.
So the obvious pushback is: Isn't that just stealing from yourself, you unoriginal bastard?
I don't think so. I am still in this particular headspace and I am working through concepts that can be applied to many forms of expression. I don't think it is wrong to keep working with a concept to see what more it can become. Artists have made history doing this for a living. But, when a composer (especially now) writes two pieces that are similar, they are just lazy. There is certainly a spectrum here and I'm sure on one side, there are those self-stealing unoriginal bastards who are under a deadline or a multitude of other reasons. Warning Colors actually takes mimicry as its core concept which I was working through in another recent work for three bassoons, Desert Miniatures: Insects. So, recently, many of my adjacent pieces have been in a sort of communication with each other.
I am planning a large scale project that explores the idea of landscape in China. This would all fall in the electroacoustic realm with different formats intended for multiple audiences and venues. I would like to first make the long version of the piece that will probably last for 30+ minutes. I would like to make several different concert versions that can represent the project at a festival in the 6-10 minute range, each with their own reworking of the material and focus. As well all know, works that are over 10 minutes seldom receive performances other than a premier scheduled by the composer themselves (there is another rant that I am holding back here). Finally, I would like to make an art gallery-esque audio installation version.
Should we have to reinvent the wheel for every piece? One argument is that we might stagnate as artists if we are not continually searching for the unknown. Another idea is that exploring a single concept from multiple angles will encourage creativity. There are more sides to this.
I am very curious about thoughts on this issue from composers, artists, writers, dancers, and creative people in general. I would love to engage in discussion and as I am literally half way around the world, this is the only place it can happen.