QUARREL FANTASY was commissioned by flutist Lisa Tharp and bassoonist John Friedeman through their duo Arpeggio, with help from Meet The Composer Arizona and The Phoenix Public Library. They had scheduled a concert with a guest artist, clarinetist Robert Spring, and wanted a new work for all three of them.
At the time, I had been concerned about the dissolution of several relationships of my friends. It seemed that these relationships had been torpedoed by what I considered to be relatively trivial problems. It seemed to me that the members of these relationships had been taken by surprise by the damage that can be caused by seemingly offhanded and habitual self indulgence. The resulting pain spreads to not only them and their children, but also to all of their friends.
As I was writing this trio, I began to realize that I was expressing my feelings about these matters in the music and decided to pattern the work around a mythical self indulgent relationship. Unlike some other composers, I usually am not so self aware that I am able to plan my music in advance around my subconscious concerns. Instead, I use the compositional process itself to unearth my true feelings about things. Once I am able to get some of my thoughts into music, I am better able to recognize them for what they are and organize the work accordingly.
To accomplish this, I have come to derive some of my work from transcribed improvisations. In this case, I derived the work from a seven-minute improvised melodic line. I divided the line into three sections, which became the three movements. I used the line as source material for the music, but I also used it as a Rorschach Test or oracle to uncover what was really on my mind.