Articles Tagged with 2009

Images for flute, clarinet & piano

It was only after I had already begun to compose the music that an appropriate title for this work occurred to me. It was the nature of the music rather than something I had seen or even imagined that drew me to what I realized was the suggestiveness of the music as it was unfolding. The melodic lines of the instruments evoked the lines that an artist might draw on paper or canvas; in the harmonic relationships between these lines I sensed a kind of three-dimensional depth that artists are able to convey even on a flat surface; in the timbres of the instruments as they pass from register to register I imagined the tints and shades an artist might select in conveying reflected light; by how the musicians would articulate the tones they played I imagined a painter’s varied brush strokes. Not long after I had completed the composition of Images I learned that there were painters who were also aware of a relationship between what is seen and what is heard when I discovered the musical qualities inherent in the work of Paul Klee and then composed a piece I called Reflections that attempted to convey these.

If the music of Images suggests concrete images to some, it may convey more elusive qualities to others. It was never my intention to compose program music in the manner of many Romantics who sometimes even imitated the sounds of nature in their work. The artistic life of Images, as I have conceived it, rests principally in the minds of those equally at ease in both the world of sight and the world of sound. Yet it cannot be denied that one can understand and enjoy this music without being aware of any of the qualities that I have suggested might be present. That way may be to appreciate the ever-changing character of the music as it intensifies and relaxes during the course of the work thus reflecting the kind of emotional life that we experience in our daily lives.

Four Meditations sur

For violin and viola

My purpose in leaving the title of 4 Méditations sur incomplete was to invite the listener to reflect on whatever the music might suggest but not to try to discover what I, the composer, may have had in mind in composing it. The music can be heard as a meditation itself or it might refer only to the mental and emotional state of the listener who is actively listening to it. The characters of the four pieces are very diverse; indeed two of them are quite lively, suggesting that contemplation can be about anything and that its purpose is not merely to induce a state of “suspended animation.” Bernini understood very well that strong emotions might accompany meditation when he depicted St. Teresa of Avila in a state of ecstacy in his famous sculpture. I will consider my 4 Méditations successful if it encourages heightened awareness in those who listen to it but a failure if it causes them to fall asleep!