At Play is a continuation of process for me in another respect, as well: It contains music that seeks to please the ear and not to disquiet the spirit, unlike much of the art music of the century just past. (And here I must insist that I do not mean to denigrate said music -- being, in fact, a long-term fan of the "give 'em hell" school of composition).
Whether this shift from my earlier music is being driven by a change in attitude as to what should be the social function of the art, or has been occasioned by a desire to mitigate, in whatever respect I might, the often dismal prospect we citizens of the world seem to be facing in the early years of the 21st Century, I cannot say. I suspect both are "at play" to one degree or another.
All of the above was written previous to the terrorist bombings in London of 7/7/2005. A few days before these events, I had completed composition of the first movement of the Sinfonia. I had intended that the Sinfonia would celebrate and extend the over-the-top spirit of the tango first movement. I now knew that I could not in good conscience continue in that vein.
Over the following days, waking dreams brought me images -- grainy, black and white images of some human drama emotionally related to the London disasters, but tangential to it. As I continued to work on the Sinfonia, I began to feel that the music was developing as an accompaniment to these images: It was becoming a score for a Silent Movie in my head. Once I had that title, the drama divided into four segments: Festival...The Parting...War March...The Letter. A sadly common, ageless human story.
One could argue that the tragic character of the completed Sinfonia places it uncomfortably on a CD titled At Play. Indeed, and the same might be said, in hindsight, of my choice, early in 2005, of the photo from my family history that I incorporated in the cover design for the new CD.
We have in this photo a group of children snapped on a Spring day in Waterloo, Iowa in 1941 -- all unaware that mere months later, the attack by Imperial Japan upon the American navel fleet in Pearl Harbor would drastically change their lives forever.
At Play? I can say that I retain this title for the CD in full knowledge of the range of meaning inherent in the phrase.
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1. Concerto for Harp, Piano & Strings I.
2. Concerto for Harp, Piano & Strings II.
3. Concerto for Harp, Piano & Strings III.
4. Trio for Flute, Bassoon & Piano - Aubade
5. Trio for Flute, Bassoon & Piano - Nocturnal Procession
6. Trio for Flute, Bassoon & Piano - Dance
7. Concertino for Wind Trio & Strings I.
8. Concertino for Wind Trio & Strings II
9. Concertino for Wind Trio & Strings III
10. Prelude in D Minor for Oboe, Harp & Piano
11. Fugue in D Minor for Oboe, Harp & Piano
12. Sinfonia for Strings & Percussion - Silent Movie- Festival
13. Sinfonia for Strings & Percussion - Silent Movie - The Parting
14. Sinfonia for Strings & Percussion - Silent Movie - War March
15. Sinfonia for Strings & Percussion - Silent Movie - The Letter