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“Time” (Theme and Variations)
Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2019 copyright Zino-Rephi Music (BMI) all rights reserved
The tune for “Time” came to me quite spontaneously one day about 20 years ago. I recorded a short version of it for guitar, 2 cellos and 2 violins shortly after that.
The tune was unlike anything I had done before or even believed could be brewing in my subconscious. The tune did, however, put me in mind of something antique and yet timeless so I named it “Time.” I then proceeded to forget about the piece.
A couple of years ago I heard Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme by Corelli.” I was struck by the similarity between the Corelli theme and “Time.” They were far from exact matches and in different kets but still similar.
When casting around for a musical project on my yearly two-month winter retreat I decided to write a set of variations for “Time.”
Because the very nature of the “theme and variations” form is episodic, it became obvious to me that an entire lifetime of events and emotions could be hinted at in the composition. Some variations (episodes) could be light and playful and others dark and more dramatic, etc.
The idea of depicting an entire lifetime of “phases” in six and a half minutes of music appealed to me. So proceeding from that premise I spent my winter working daily on the piece.
When I returned in April of this year, I contacted director/producer Rene Erickson about making a YouTube video on the piece. We worked on the video from May until late July.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6KRxC8CGLA
If you have a moment, check out my documentary, A Life Well Played.
Here is the link: https://youtu.be/StVG2TaKqbw
Written and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek / Zino-Rephi Music (BMI)
All Rights Reserved
When I initially wrote and recorded the song, No Nothing, the lyric (as on this recording), began with, “my grandpa went to see the doctor.” When I perform this tune these days, the lyric is now, “I went to see the doctor.”
The song is obviously about the encroachment of age and the physical changes that attend aging. It’s very challenging to be funny in a song. Randy Newman is one of the few songwriters who can pull this off.
(Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek- Zino-Rephi Music copyright/ All Rights Reserved)
The definition of a “Pavane” is a 16th or 17th-century stately dance in duple meter.
I am going through a sort of neo-classical period. Since I did not grow up with classical music (my mom loved Hank Williams and the Everly Brothers), I have come to that music on my own terms and gradually.
I first discovered classical music in a very backward fashion, in so much that I listened to 20th-century composers first. Stravinsky, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Bartok were my entry points.
I have been moving back in time ever since, i.e. Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, etc.
I am only know getting “back to Bach.”
On this backward journey through history, it is only fitting that counterpoint has become more and more an essential ingredient for me. Contemporary pop music (even at its best) contains very little in that domain.
As a guitarist, counterpoint presents problems because of certain limitations of the instrument. This is especially true for the plectrum (pick) player like me.
I have tried to stay true to the Pavane form, using Faure as a good example.
My album “Picture This” afforded me a good opportunity to attempt a little foray into the counterpoint realm because the whole project was built on my overdubbing several guitar parts.
This is a very simplistic and brief example but simple and brief have become my guiding principles.
(Reynold Philipsek 7/2/2019)
I suppose you could say I have written these thoughts down at this time from a position of autumnal repose.
Since my first communion in second grade (age 8), I have been grappling with the eternal question as to whether this universe is governed by random or design. I am not saying I was some sort of precocious kid. It is merely a fact that this was the start of my lifelong contemplation and angst concerning the possibilities of whether the universe was random or design.
Mere contemplation on this rather vast subject didn’t give me many answers. It was through the experience of songwriting that I began to gain some confidence and insight.
I have written 237 songs that have been recorded, according to the BMG catalog. Many, if not most of these pieces of music have been the product of trial and error, much thought and hard work. However, some of these songs just occurred to me in
These songs came to me out of the blue. It was as if I was taking dictation. To my knowledge, I was not in any way, planning to write music like this when they just “happened.”
Often the style and form invariably seemed, at the time, to be very far removed from what I was contemplating.
One piece, in particular, comes to mind. This piece is called “Prelude.” It is a very short piece of music and in a way very simple and direct. “Prelude” has a very strong strain of “Slavic melancholy,” and the chord voicings are totally unlike anything I had ever done before. I simply sat down with my guitar, tuned the sixth string down to open D (something I rarely do), and the whole piece came out.
It’s fairly difficult to get an inflated ego or sense of accomplishment about an act you feel more of an observer of, or passive participant
These experiences helped me go beyond my protracted period of agnosticism and come to my own personal variation on “Pascal’s Wager.” In other words, I now incline toward a belief in some sort of spiritual existence beyond the shedding of the mortal coil.
As I said, not all of the songs I have come up with had this sort of genesis. But the songs that did have this sort of spontaneous birth have a special glow to them for me.
Those songs are:
Chartreuse, Through Rose Colored Glasses, Sasha and Dinu, Prelude, Holy Fright, Silesian Mist, Tempus Fugit, Butterfly, Sans Souci , Tango Blue, Mary and Time.