(Written and performed by Reynold Philipsek)
Recently my 16 year old niece told me that her favorite song of mine was “Amber Dawn.” This surprised me on several levels. First of all, I am surprised that any of my nieces or nephews listen to my music, much less have a favorite piece. Secondly, “Amber Dawn” is a relatively obscure piece from an already somewhat obscure canon.
“Amber Dawn” was one of several pieces I have written and recorded in what I call a “film noir” style. The other music I have composed on this order are the songs “Philip Marlowe,” and “Hong Kong Harry.”
“Philip Marlowe” is an homage to Raymond Chandler’s famous detective of the same name. The character of Philip Marlowe was portrayed on film by Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, and also to surprisingly good effect by Dick Powell. “Hong Kong Harry” was a fabrication of my own and even uses the voice over narrative so typical of the genre in my recording of the piece in 1994.
For as long as I can remember I have been an ardent fan of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. These two American writers are, in my opinion, the inventors of the hard boiled detective film noir style.
Revisiting “Amber Dawn” set up the idea of this new piece called “Neon City.” The title derives from two of the most prevalent images I can think of when it comes to film noir, i.e., the neon signs for cheap hotels or dingy diners and the streets of the American city of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
It remains to be seen if my niece likes this music as well.
Click here to listen to this new piece: http://reynold.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Neon-City-mp3.mp3
We spend most of our lives becoming. We are all on the quest to “become” the best and most relevant version of ourselves. For me, this becoming has been best exemplified by the music I have written.
This music, in it’s purest and most concise form is the mirror reflection of my becoming. Part of it has been the result of the processing of life’s trials and tribulations.
I have slowly learned to let go which, in itself, is a slow if not lifelong ordeal. Part of letting go means courting dignity and grace in the face of disappointments. And disappointments are many in the life of most musicians because unreserved intention and even talent do not guarantee success.
I have no idea why I have been so driven and relentless in creating my little tone poems, but something deep inside myself assures me that it is the best use of what talent and instincts God and nature have provided me with. It’s the best way I can serve the greater good during my time in this quaint old vale of tears.
As my wife often reminds me, “all you can do is all you can do.” All of this, of course, is an effort to, in some small way, best express what Maurice Ravel called, “life’s mysterious thrill.”