|A Canadian in New York (part 2 of 2)|
|6/29/2000 - The work was in four movements, dealing with different aspects of my experiences as a Canadian living in New York these past 11 years. The first, "The City", attempted to conjure up in more literal terms the sounds of the city, from the sounds of traffic hustle and bustle, to bebop and funk riffs, to gentle walks in the park. It was the most extended and perhaps ambitious movement and lasted some 30 minutes. The form was roughly sonata form with a contrasting slow movement and lots of development, including an opening Bartokian string quartet texture built on the perfect 4th motives to follow introduced by David's poetry ("Listen to the sounds of...the City...") and some free, swinging sections featuring Spaulding. And I was thrilled to have my first chance to truly conduct a large group - I sat at the piano with my back directly to the audience, and with the musicians surrounding me in a semi-circle so I could conduct at the moment "conductions" (borrowing a chapter from the techniques of Butch Morris and David Murray in which background figures, tempos, even solo forms are indicated, on the fly, by the conductor's direction). Movement II was based on "Suite New York" from my solo piano album "....so far", and was more romantic in scope and mood, ultimately building on an ostinato-like chord progression as the basis for the solos. Mov. III was an homage to El Barrio, featuring the great Bobby Sanabria, as well as poetry from David, and was built around a 7/4 latin-oriented groove, with some pizzicato, fugue-like strings serving as intro and interlude. And the work ended on a more relaxed note, with "Brooklyn Lullaby" - my homage to the laid-back, family-oriented, tree-lined streets of my new home.|
All in all, it was perhaps the greatest musical moment of my career (whether or not the audience agreed!- though the people who stayed til the end seemed very receptive to the work)- there is nothing, for example, to compare to the feeling of asking 14 musicians to play louder - LOUDER and actually hearing the enormity and intensity of the resulting sound (!) I truly hope that I can continue to develop in this direction by touring with this work hopefully in Canada, and by expanding this piece for full symphony orchestra, and by also creating new, hybrid works which explore new classical/jazz/"beyond" works down the line...