One of the ongoing challenges facing a composer is how to get from idea A to idea B. Some composers give a great deal of thought to this question – in fact, it’s fair to say that, for some composers, getting from A to B is the most interesting part of composing. For other composers, getting from A to B is of so little interest that they feel perfectly comfortable ignoring the question completely. Their preferred method of getting from A to B is to stop doing A and start doing B with exactly zero fuss.
The result – an abrupt change in direction – fascinates me. But, to be fair, it is only one of many things that fascinate me: I can’t imagine ignoring all the other possibilities.
Transitions are, for me, one of the most challenging things about life outside of music. Starting a new relationship, moving to a new home, losing a loved one – these shifts in life’s reliable patterns tax me to my core, and of course I am not alone in feeling that way. The temptation to ignore life’s transitions is powerful, but they cannot be willed away.
In the same manner, directional shifts in music can be unmooring, disturbing, disorienting. I like the fact that I have so many expressive variants at my disposal. Sometimes the rug needs to be jerked out from under the feet; sometimes a gentle embrace is more appropriate. Whatever the choice, life and art inform one another, learn from one another.