I have been thinking a lot lately about why some music attracts my interest and other music does not. Then I thought about the music of two of my contemporaries who for reasons that will soon become obvious will remain nameless. Both of these contemporaries are solid technical musicians and prolific composers. They are also both very well known.
Musician One creates very ornate and highly technical music which in many ways is beyond reproach. Yet his music doesn’t reach me and I have repeatedly attempted to like it more. I respect it and it can be pleasant to listen to but it does not connect with me.
Musician Two also is also highly proficient and even more prolific but his music often reaches me on deep level and has on more than one occasion inspired me.
So why this difference I asked myself?
I then sought out interviews both written and on YouTube with these two composer/players.
Here is what became obvious. Musician One was arrogant, quite conceited and, for me, the tell tale sign of self-absorption was when he occasionally referred to himself in the third person.
Musician One also disparaged musicians who were not his equal.
On the other hand, Musician Two had a sweetness of character and was profuse in his praise of others. He had a humor about himself as well. This comes through in his music which is often touching and poignant as well as light and joyful without being the least bit trite. On the contrary.
Obviously this sweetness of character and humility appeal to me. I strive for these same qualities myself but far be it from me to judge myself. That is impossible. I think these qualities I hold in high esteem extends beyond music and to authors, painters, clergy and these days politicians as well. This is a simple enough comparison but I never quite broke it down to the basic elements before. I have learned something here.
I am looking for an earnest humanity in all endeavors.
Here endeth the sermon.
by reynold d. philipsek
For the past two years (while I was engaged with the filming and distribution of the “A Life Well Played” documentary), I was also busy putting together an album of what I could accurately call a true distillation of my musical oeuvre.
This entailed not only the development of new pieces, but the remodeling of older music that could benefit from a new approach.
This is that album. It has become clear to me that my personal taste is defined not only by my idiosyncrasies and melodic and harmonic predilections, but my desire for concision based on brevity and clarity. I am, I suppose, a sort of minimalist which probably explains my admiration for Anton Webern. The melodic and harmonic side of my nature is influenced by Ravel and Monk. This may not be readily apparent but it is, none the less, the case.
The liner note on the CD sleeve gives a fuller description of the overall concept.
As I have said before, “I have suffered for this music; now it’s your turn.”
Reynold (summer of 2017)