The Ninety-degree Turn Toward the Radical
It's a coincidence that, just as I launch my composer web site, my composition style seems to have taken a sharp turn toward something hopefully richer and more complex than in the past. I see two reasons behind the change in direction. First, after many years putting composing "on the back burner," favoring singing and conducting as primary activities, I have finally decided to pursue writing music fully and forcefully. Second, I have fallen pretty heavily under the influence of my hobby, astronomy, drawing increasing inspiration from principles of science and mathematics in that field. I'm interested in how to realize in musical terms such phenomena as the gravitational resonance among bodies orbiting around a common object or axis, fractal or algorithmic composition, a trip through a planetary system, or the musical equivalent of a journey through a wormhole. Lest you think that all of this stuff is cold, calculating, and devoid of feeling, consider the inspiration that comes from gazing at the Milky Way on a dark, clear night, or on meditating over the great questions of Cosmology: What is the origin of the universe? What is its development, mechanisms, and ultimate fate? It's entirely natural and mystical, on the grandest possible scale.
In the past, most of my writing has been "gebrauchtmusik" - the practical stuff written either to fulfil a commission, or for a specific purpose, usually for some ensemble limited in size, ability, or both. I was glad to write for these groups, and happy for the opportunity to craft something of hopeful quality that suited them. But I have a real sense I've moved on from that.
I find a lot of the new music I hear these days to be pretty nice, safe, and somewhat unadventurous. I suppose that's where the market is these days. I've never been one to chase the market, though. I may realize little income from writing at the edge, but I hope that, if what I have to say is worth something to some others out there, the dare will earn me a small but unique place among the stars...