Life is full of small pleasures, and I do my best not to undervalue them.
For me, many of life’s pleasures are solitary. Writing music, for example. Or reading. Or just thinking about things.
Sometimes, though, events capture my attention, pull me out of my self and away from my solitary activities. Last spring was such a time. Like many others, I found national and world events disrupting my routines. That disruption was a good thing: it forced me to reexamine many of my assumptions and engage in actions that weren’t quite in my comfort zone.
But composing was still central and finding a way to address this experience through music was bound to happen – as with pretty much any composer, it’s really second nature, unavoidable. So, a year ago, I wrote a brass quintet called Disruption. It’s short – maybe six minutes – but it recreates the feeling I had of being jolted out of pleasure by something more important than pleasure.
Disruption will be premiered tomorrow night by the Watson Brass Quintet – details here.
I should add that popular music styles have seldom been in the foreground of my thinking, but one thing I’ve particularly admired about the popular music of my lifetime is its ability to express defiance. It’s a recurring attitude in much of the music of the past half-century, a challenge to authority, as if to say, “You can knock me down, but I will get back up, and I will be stronger.” I like that. Sometimes it’s disruptive — and often it needs to be.