Composition, my Personal Approach
Since I was a child I have been enchanted by the idea of writing symphonies, concertos, and quartets, like those of the masters whose music I most love. This goal has not changed to this day. It remains my standard of accomplishment as a composer.
In my music I aim to combine refinement and intensity, craftsmanship and imagination. Built around the long lines characteristic of works in the great European tradition, I try in my compositions to carry the listener along fascinating paths, with intriguing surprises, but always with a clear sense of direction and overall proportion.
Harmony is a very important expressive dimension for me; I try to make mine as strongly personal as possible. I dislike both the oppressive extreme chromaticism of the previous generation and the naive simplicity of the minimalist school; usually I like to hover between the diatonic and the chromatic worlds, drawing on traditional resources without limiting myself to them.
In orchestration, my preference runs to rich but transparent textures. I think it is especially important that an orchestral score be animated. Fragments of counterpoint creating frequent instrumental movement are essential to good orchestration, in my opinion
In aiming at emotional depth and variety, and the finest crafstmanship possible, I place myself in the historical line of the great European symphonists; In fact, I have written seven works in the genre to date. However the intimacy of chamber music is also very appealing to me, and I have also written works for solo voice, guitar, piano, and organ.
Here is a list of my works.
Some of my favorite composers are:
- Bach – especially the vocal and organ works: such incredible variety of forms, and the most profound thematic ideas.
- Chopin – for the wonderful fantasy of his piano figuration, and forms that sound almost improvised (but inevitably work perfectly).
- Brahms – richness of form and sheer beauty of counterpoint.
- Wagner – the richest orchestral polyphony, and harmony that maintains great intensity.
- Mahler – sophistication in the treatment of large forms, and sheer emotional force. Fantastic contrapuntal combinations of themes in different characters. Irony, managing to bring into synthesis what seems impossible.
- Nielsen and Sibelius – both idiosyncratic and personal symphonists — which is what I am, too!
- Schreker – Schreker’s fate as a Jewish composer at the hands of the Nazis was very sad, and they buried his reputation almost completely up till quite recently, but he’s finally becoming recognized. His music is beautiful. Try listening to his operas, especially Der ferne Klang , or Die Gezeichneten . For some reason, my harmonic style has always had a certain similarity to Schreker’s, which is surprising, since this was true long before I heard or saw a note of his music.
- Bartok and Dutilleux – two “originals” who don’t really belong to any school. The “night music” aspect in their work appeals to me.