Towards a Concerto of Deliverance
Interlude: John spent the months of July and August camping, traveling, and visiting in British Columbia, all the while exploring his new Karma workstation that he took with him. (Karma http://www.karma-lab.com/index.html is an innovative, powerful keyboard instrument that John considers to be, historically like a new type of musical instrument.)
The following are from emails that resumed from September.
JMC - 15 Sep 2002
Just thought I should say hi. It's been a terrifically intense couple of weeks in the studio.
Nothing else but Concerto of Deliverance. I'm starting to have sixteen bars segments of melody,
harmony & rhythm. Most important, starting to get an idea of what it feels like.
JMC - 21 Sep 2002
Concerto of Deliverance proceeds. I now have a number of themes and I'm trying to figure
out the potential of each one in relationship to the others. It's a massive job and I'm having a lot
of fun with it, although it seems a long way to the finish.
JMC - 16 Oct 2002
I've got a lot of material now, which I'm treating as background sketches. Yesterday I think I
found a song and it may acquire lyrics, but I'm still at the stage where anything can happen.
JMC - 17 Oct 2002
Thought I'd let you know that I finally made a more-or-less complete song that will form part
of Concerto Of Deliverance. I think this means I'm entering, tentatively, a new phase of the
process. Not exactly sure which phase that would be, but it gives me one place to work from. A
certain feeling of relief.
JMC - 23 Oct 2002
Thanks for your faith in me. When I am overwhelmed with the enormity of what we've taken on, I appreciate your words.
Finally, I got to a point today where I think I see a sequence of fragments that actually constitute part of the whole piece.
There is still an enormous amount of work to be done before they are complete entities, and
I may change my mind, but it's the first time I felt I understood the impetus of some of the
material I've been working with. There are still some very basic decisions to be made. I felt
more sure a month ago about some aspects of the composition than I do now. However,
gradually, I think there is emerging a style that is unique to this piece. We'll see.
MP - 25 Oct 2002
You "felt more sure a month ago" -- like how one could feel sure the sun will rise, but the
dawning day does bring uncertainty until one moves through it to dusk. I'd say you are probably
JMC - 25 Oct 2002
Thanks very much for your friend's poem. The message is definitely related. I think it helps
me understand that the way I wish to express the 'deliverance' theme is through a simple,
imagined narrative (containing the elements I've mentioned before). Words of a song capture an
emotion stemming from the narrative. But more important, at least for now, is that the music
create its own authentic narrative. So where I started just semi-randomly sketching tunes,
sounds etc, I'm now beginning to choose & reject certain kinds of things (not sure what
though). There's no doubt there are themes yet to be written, but at the moment I'm trying to get
a handle on what I've got.
MP - 30 Oct 2002
The themes of deliverance are universal and profound, and the concerto would have many layers or strands of meaning expressing them: some tantalizingly encrypted with intrigue and mystique, others enchanted with lullabies of childlike simplicity and wonder. But the immediate perception of the entity should bring the first levels of primal comprehension and universal recognition, like a Dvorakian folk tune or a fine Elvis love ballad -- after which the more subtle, sophisticated, and sublime meanings of the deeper layers reveal themselves to those ears that could, or learn to, be attuned to them, and thus have their spirits be elevated, and hopefully ecstasized by them.
It's like encountering an architectonic structure, where the theme of the building is directly perceived at first glance, as a profile with an integrity of mass and space, after which the intricacies of the internal relations are discerned with a more reflective focus and walkthrough. (A cruder example is the many-layered onion, or the multi-segments of an orange.)
The above is but another rough description of one perspective I have of the concerto, and
like I said before, it's only that. I don't presume to know anything about music composition, nor
to give unqualified suggestions.
JMC - 30 Oct 2002
Thanks for your words about 'Deliverance'. They reaffirm the direction I've chosen, and they're an important reminder of first principles. The past month has been one of great productivity, although it really is still preliminary work at this stage. I know I am establishing a new style, although its characteristics remain unidentifiable.
The qualities you hope the piece might express are foremost in my mind. I am relieved to have that focus and it's helpful (essential, I suppose) to maintain it.
It is so beautiful here today it takes my breath away. The strait is like glass, frost in the
MP - 04 Nov 2002
With your blazing of new trails, forging into new realms, you're continually building up an anticipation and suspense in me that brightens my hope for the future. I'm deeply grateful that your courage is strong enough to persevere in creating this, likely your greatest work yet.
But: please don't take anything I voice about my perspective or expectation on any aspect of the Concerto be more than that of a devoted listener. I want to repeat that, even as the commissioner of the work, I don't want to unduly influence or hinder your free creativity. Nor do I want to imply that you need reminding of the what the primary qualities of the Concerto should be. I easily acknowledge my humility about this.
I admire the persistence, diligence, and meticulous care you're giving to the work, which will positively show through in the final accomplishment.
JMC - 13 Nov 2002
I can't believe how quickly time passeth. But today as I sit down to write this note I'm listening to bits of Deliverance score and know that it is taking shape. It is probably not what you had in mind, but I'm sure you expected it would be so. I'm pretty excited about it.
That's the good news. It's like I've never done anything like this before: taking so much time. Well I actually never have done anything quite like this before. I wonder about a few things. One would be how can I reduce the shock you may feel when you hear what I'm doing.
Many of the various things you've suggested to me have found their way into the piece and
so your input has been seminal. I would say I've got about 15 minutes of music at this point and
a clear sense in my heart, if not my mind, of where I'm going.
MP - 14 Nov 2002
On the one hand, being aware of your uniqueness and originality, I expect and want to be shocked. On the other hand, having little inkling in my mind about what your concerto will be like musically, I don't know what to expect. I've conveyed to you my grasp of the meaning and spirit of deliverance, and, given the kind of spirit that has shown through in your life's opus, I'm confident that your concerto will be a joyous surprise.
Concerto of Deliverance