Last week I spent a few days in Philadelphia producing new works on behalf of PARMA, and had some time during the days to practice and think about my upcoming concerto performance with the Portsmouth Symphony. I also spent quite a bit of time with some very talented and interesting composers, and the discussion got me refocused on compositions of my own.
I recently had a great talk with Mark O'Connor while I was visiting the O'Connor String Camp at Berklee College of Music. I asked him many questions about his concerto, but the thing he said that really stuck with me was this:
"I always tell young composers to be mindful of their first long form offering [composition]...because it could very well be the one you become most associated with or most known for..."
This was fascinating to me and made me think immediately of my first long form piece that I'm currently composing. I'm keeping its title under wraps for now, but it is a three movement work in which I am using the theme from "Eating The Moon," easily my best motif to date. The idea for this musical composition came to me in May after my TedxDirigo Talk, and it has been percolating ever since.
So, flash forward again to Philly. I have been feeling that this "big" piece was gaining a life of its own in my mind and was starting to bear down... starting to have its own momentum. I had some truly amazing conversations with British composer Andrew March, who said to me, "You know there's a point where a piece starts having its own inertia and you just can't stop it..." We talked about books and music and our pieces, and I could feel the "inertia" of my work pressing forward.
That night I focused on my piece, and really started to work out some structural elements. I shared my title with Andrew earlier and he suggested that I check several sites on the internet to verify the originality of the title, which I did, and the inertia ticked up again. Thankfully, I found no references online to the title I am imagining. I went so far as to start envisioning picture elements in my mind, which always inform a composition to an extent (for me anyway).
The next morning as I left my hotel room and was waiting by the elevator, I was blindsided by a mirror in the waiting area. (This is the closest image I could find - the actual mirror was very large and had very slender rings.) It was nearly identical to one of the images in my mind from the night before. The inertia ticks up again.
Then I was contacted by John Page, the conductor of the Portsmouth Symphony, who is also a friend. He had just returned from Ireland and was eager to meet and discuss the logistics of the concert in which I will be performing the Fiddle Concerto. I happened to go check the symphony's website for information on the orchestra, and just had to chuckle when I saw their logo.
The Universe is a funny place, indeed.