Floccinaucinihilipilification...a new piece for piano, dedicated to the wonderful Petronel Malan. I'm writing this in tandem with music for Marc Yeats called, post hoc and with a surge of confidence in my compositional skills.
I started to write flocci a few days ago and I wanted to try to add more today. But instead, I analysed the twenty or so bars I'd already done. Not one note was out of place, not one interval suspect: Clearly, as I wrote this, my compositional focus was intact and productive.
I know I've yelled "Eureka" from the hilltops in other posts and I won't delete them simply because they no longer apply and they might make me look a little foolish.
But this time, I really am writing the kind of music I want to write. I suppose, if it needs a stylistic descriptor, then New Simplicity might be the one. An antidote to the immensely complicated music of Brian Ferneyhough, et al, whose music is often described as New Complexity.
I admire Brian (and many others) very much. I admire them as people and as composers and I've tried to walk in their established footsteps many times. But, stylistically, they are not for me. I don't wish them any ill-will and nobody should regard this short polemic as a criticism of them.
But I really have found my own voice at the age of 60. I never wanted to be an explorer - when I was a young man, I wanted my music to sound like Tchaikovsky. In my twenties, it was what I then knew of Peter Maxwell Davies. Next came Milton Babbit and Bernstein. I could go on: Dallapicola, Marc Yeats, Simone Volio have attracted me for some time. But, as I've said to students over many years, study their scores, by all means and even, as an intellectual and compositional exercise, try to imitate them. But in the end, from this cacophony of voices, you must find your own.
So, in the quiet will be my Opus 1. The first time I'm able to put down on paper my thoroughbred musical ideas, born of actually composing useless, derivative crap for so long. And post hoc will be my Opus 2.
After that, there will be no stopping me! At 60 I can still be an infant terrible. I still act like one, anyway.
I'll keep you posted... A Pulitzer Prize can't be far away now. And invitations to many countries. New commissions pouring out of my ears...