This work is a pastiche — an agglomeration of the musical sounds that have gathered in my mind over the course of my life.
As a very young boy, I loved listening to classical music radio stations, playing the full repertoire of the great composers from the 18th and 19th centuries.
At 10 years old, I was transfixed by hearing Toscanini conduct Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. I began collecting LPs and noticed how music directors performed and interpreted pieces differently.
In my teens, I was introduced to the various sounds of jazz and popular music — American composers like Gershwin, Copland, and others influenced by American folk music.
My musical journey eventually traveled well beyond the shores of America, to Africa, Australia, Brazil, throughout Europe, India, and Mongolia.
I was fascinated by the emotional impact of different instruments, including the human voice — from primitive instruments like the didgeridoo to Tuvan throat singing. In motion pictures, an instrument, timbre, or gesture can dramatically evoke different stories — from the theremin in psychological thrillers, to the brassiness of Miklós Rózsa, or the grandeur of John Williams.
I’ve named my symphony Reminiscence, as it captures so many of the musical influences that have shaped my life.
The first movement, entitled “Journey,” is a tribute to the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’s piece Little Train of the Caipira, as well as the mysterious folk songs of the French Auvergne region.
The second movement, “Pictures in an Album,” pays homage to Mussorgsky, with traces of Copland’s American sound.
The third movement, “Bach to Bach,” contains Miklós Rózsa’s strident brass sounds, as well as Bach’s fugues.
The last movement, “The Return,” picks up the original theme, a driving ostinato, which eventually dissipates with a ritardando.
— Peter Drew