Saturday, November 25, 2017

Composer's Diary

Here lately I've had the great good fortune of having some of the music I've composed over the years performed for audiences larger than the usual handful of musical friends and family members. What has most surprised me about the audience reactions has been the number of people telling me how emotionally moving they found the music. In writing music, trying to evoke feelings in the audience is not something I'm consciously trying to do. My main concern is with coherence, that the music flows with some sort of organic unity, all the while maintaining the audience's interest.

What these audience comments about the emotional nature of the music makes me realize is that I must make the decisions as to where the music goes based on how it feels to me, not just what makes structural sense. The thing is, though, the main thing I'm feeling when writing music is what effort it takes to keep at it through numerous false turns and detours before something I'm happy with emerges. The audience, on the other hand, is blissfully unaware of all that, and gets to flow along with the music and have various emotions evoked by all the little choices I made along the way which ended up working.

One other reaction to my music that absolutely made my heart sing was from Charles, who plays oboe in Rapidan, conducts the Orange Community Band, is a fine composer himself, and who instantly nailed the Darius Milhaud influence on Timepiece when I gave him the link years ago to the Fringe Festival performance. At a rehearsal leading up to our playing the orchestral arrangement of Timepiece he came up to me and said he was really enjoying it because it was "fun to play." For a music therapist, it doesn't get much better than that.