Towards a Concerto of Deliverance
This next post contains recent emails following from John Mills-Cockell's having accepted the commission of Concerto of Deliverance. (The previous two-year interim involved my working on promoting John to be the composer for the music to the then initiated, now suspended again, Atlas Shrugged movie project. I also continued to promote his music to various people I met.)
MP - 22 May 2002
Followup to our phone-call:
I'll set the context for this project by quoting Ayn Rand's description of the Concerto of Deliverance in Atlas Shrugged. . .
I'll be sending other material as time goes, but I don't expect too much reading for you. I will
also send a music list (which includes your work) for you to review. My purpose in offering
these materials is to help you be aware of parts of the world...that might have relevance to your
study. In the end, the composition would be primarily ~your~ Concerto, expressing your unique
vision of "Deliverance": of Humanity, Heroism, and Hope. Only secondarily, might it be heard as
a concerto "based on the themes of Ayn Rand".
JMC - 23 May 2002
I recognized the passage you quoted from Ayn Rand immediately and recalled situations and ideas from Atlas Shrugged. It's an inspiring image and an ideal any composer might wish to achieve. There are degrees and stages in the evolution to that glorious state which are hinted at. The author suggests they are unimportant once we are safely past them. And then, there are only facts. The buddhists are fond of saying if we could only see things as they really are we'd all fall down laughing.
In my opinion, much of the power and beauty of art is about the moments of transition and struggle. The expression of a vision of the sublime is a rarified achievement indeed.
I've given thought to your proposal for a new piece. It is tantalizing to say the least and I am
greatly honoured that you have asked me to participate. You are creating a magnificent
opportunity for new creativity. It comes at the perfect moment as I am looking for a new project
that is personally meaningful. Although there are all kinds of questions about how, when, with
whom, etc, I think the thing is to identify the purpose. The closest I can come would be
Celebration: a positive expression that unites us all. Particular themes that are especially
important to me would be joy, compassion, peace. I would like to embody these in a dramatic
way that engages audiences emotionally and viscerally.
MP - 24 May 2002
You have many brilliant, insightful, and provocative ideas about the project that I want to study closely and comment back later. Your last message is rich with many inspiring ideas you have about art, music, and life. Thank you.
I have a suggestion. I've started (last summer) and still run this online forum that has a
unique group of intelligent, sensitive, and esthetically sophisticated people from all over the
world, who might want to take part in the discussion, and help provide other perspectives.
JMC - 28 May 2002
My feeling is that the definition of "The Concerto of Deliverance" might be enhanced and broadened by listening to other people's ideas on what meaning the title holds for them. I already expressed a few preliminary reactions to it in my previous note to you. As I think about it more, the concept becomes clearer, but I think it can be invaluable to gain insight of others as well. It's often surprising what other possible responses there might be. Things I might never have considered. Production resources may also present themselves from unexpected places.
That said, once we've defined the parameters of the project, I will develop ideas according
to my own instincts fairly quickly. One inevitably makes choices in order to begin: these could
possibly include 'style' and overall form (format). In other words, once we've started making
creative decisions it will become increasingly specific in its requirements and constraints, more
difficult to accept input from outside. However, within this framework there is always room for
particular changes and additions.
MP - 08 Jun 2002
...This was an outline of the proposal for the project as I want to initiate it. If the
composition can become part of a project of wider scope, as you envision it, that would be even
more grand, and I would be willing to participate in that later, as well. But the core work is what
I would want to start with, and what I am certain I can finance myself.
As to the what and how of the material that will be created in your composition, I want to leave
that entirely up to you. It is ~your~ music I want to commission; Rand's Deliverance theme is
only an aid to the focus.... I will be suggesting some brief textual readings, some viewings of
paintings and sculptures, and some listening to other musical compositions -- to help convey
aspects of the musical world that I'd like to hear. But I will not want to be "hovering" over your
work, and will only be there to be consulted if you need to.
MP - 10 Jun 2002
In this message, following my last one which was the opening proposal for the project, I am offering a very short list of [music] that might help convey some facets of the same esthetic world to which the Concerto of Deliverance belongs -- as I imagine it, anyway.
None of these offerings are intended to limit your own conceptions, but only as a way of sampling one worldview.
I know the task before you is monumental, but it is also a magnificent challenge that I
believe you can surpass.
Cello Concerto Op.106
Concerto of Deliverance