Quixote — Written and performed by Reynold Philipsek, copyright 2017, available as a complimentary download on the Free MP3s page.
The 17th Century Spanish tale by Miguel de Cervantes of Don Quixote and his adventures has inspired many artists. Both Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam spent considerable time, money and energy shooting miles of film to no avail or a completed film on the subject.
For more than 15 years I have entertained the idea of writing an “episodic” piece about this prototypical “hidalgo.”
During my recent six weeks in Naples I finally began to write this music.
In keeping with the Spanish theme of the central character I have utilized two distinct Spanish dance rhythms- The “guajira” (a bar of 6/8 followed by a bar of 3/4) and a Tango/Habanera rhythm.
There are three resting pedal points which can be seen as transitional (scene changes). These three “pedals” are C, D and E. The piece could easily be extended further by continuing these pedals in whole tones 4 more steps (G flat, A flat, B flat) to once again return to C.
Another objective was to bend standard song forms and to create an extended piece of music that has not only prescribed themes and movements but places for improvisation. Though this version is done on solo acoustic guitar (with synth drone pedals) ideally I would like to play the piece this summer with both of my trios (East Side and Sidewalk Cafe). The drones could easily be handled on arco upright bass.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Don Quixote was a hidalgo who read so many chivalric romances that he loses his grip on reality and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs and bring justice to the world. Cervantes tells this tale with much humor and pathos.
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.”