There is no mystery as to the subject matter of this album.It consists of moments of passion, moments with family and friends, moments alone in nature, etc.All rather straightforward memories which are easy to understand.But the underlying subject concerns my conviction that it is not the reasoning, subject matter, or entertainment value which drives our love of music, but those fleeting special cherished moments in music which supercharge our passion for the art form itself.
A student once asked me to help her with some of her first year college music theory homework.She was a talented cellist with whom my son performed in a string quartet.We went through her assignment, which covered some deciphering of figured bass, and I began to wonder why she had asked because she knew all about it. So I asked her. In a dramatic motion, she swept the book and homework off the table and said, “I don’t give a $#!+ about figured bass! What I want to know is why when I play through Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, it gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Those who are familiar with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet know exactly the spot she was talking about!If you are not familiar, you would probably recognize it anyway as it has been used for every Madison Avenue running embrace since TV was invented.It is very powerful when you hear it and it is even more powerful when you perform it.There is a lot of good music in Romeo and Juliet, but that moment is so perfect, the other music quickly becomes a distant memory.
My belief that music is driven by these special moments is one of the reasons I have been so drawn to improvisation.In improvisation, these moments simply happen sometimes and are one of the primary motivators for my creativity.I remember hearing the first orchestra work I had written being rehearsed by a good orchestra.At the climax, I was nearly lifted off of my seat!The exhilaration of that moment kept me going for a good three or four years!
It is like the experience of winning a large jackpot at a slot machine.It is the memory of winning that drives you through all the losing and provides the motivation to keep playing. It is the knowledge of this emotional incentive that drives the whole industry!Music seems to provide the same “hook.”
So here are a few cherished moments.There is some very nice music here as well.Four of the tracks, Moment of Resolve, Song of Intimacy, March of the Toddler, and Sharing Stories (renamed “Protest”) I have used in a work for string orchestra and harp, Serenade In Isolation (2020), written during the first few months of the Covid pandemic.Isolation lent even more meaning to those special memories.