In the last few pieces that I’ve written, I’ve been obsessed with finding the “ghost in the machine” – that is, I’ll imagine some great big engine or device that is mechanically cranking out music, and over the course of the piece I’ll try to uncover the spirit within that machine and the core emotion that seems to be driving the whole process. This piece, Thank You for Waiting, is the first one in a while where I didn’t have any kind of conceptual mechanical device in mind. Nevertheless, I can’t help but notice some similarities to these older pieces. The music is initially set off by something one could easily imagine as a giant car horn or alarm, and over the next 14 minutes a melody unwinds, in various states of strength and decay, that seems relentless in its momentum. It is a melody that, in my mind, never lands or completes itself. The title of this piece, Thank You for Waiting, could easily serve as a note to any audience of my music, but here specifically it expresses my hope that the unsettled and unresolved nature of the musical material will be heard as a texture in and of itself, and that the “waiting” on the part of the listener will become its own reward. Additionally, as this piece was my doctoral dissertation in composition at the University of Southern California, the title is a very direct message to my wife, family and professors, all of whom did lots of waiting of their own while I finished this piece.
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