That reminds me of one of the best and most treasured compliments I have ever gotten. After Lorna Eder (nee Little) and Gaylord Mowrey read through some of the piano reductions for Frank, Gail called me at home. She said "Frank will never tell you this himself, but I thought you'd like to know that he's prancing around the house raving about how great the piano reductions are. I've heard the tapes, and I have enough experience with his music by now to know if it's working, and the piano reductions work."
I never saw Frank give anyone strokes. If it was right, that was how it was supposed to be, so let's move on. He would get right down to what was wrong. You had to have your self-confidence intact to work for him.
Which reminds me of David's advice to only tell Frank you can do something if you know you can. When he asked me if I could do a piano reduction I didn't hesitate to say "Sure". Of course, I had never done one before. I don't play piano. I do not compose for the orchestra. I am interested in almost no orchestral music, and therefore almost never listen to it. I have no idea why I thought I could reduce his music to piano, except that I know I write well for the piano and I have a feeling for Frank's stuff. It turns out (maybe David told me this) that Frank was totally taken aback when he saw what I brought in. The first one I did was Penis Dimension I think. He had meant by "piano reduction" a rehearsal version for dancers and singers, a sketch with the main tunes and harmonies. I thought he wanted something that could stand on its own - a real concert piece. So I actually did much more than he had asked for. That's how the whole set of piano reductions came about, when he realized that a big orchestra piece could live on piano alone and still survive musically.