Works of Chopin and Brahms had a profound influence on my early musical development. At first, as a pianist, I was challenged by their emotional depth and the technical intricacies. Later, as a composer, conductor and teacher, I marveled at their intellectual integrity. What would the two composers sound like if they were alive today? I pondered this while my philosophical stand on the oneness of today’s music with the great musical tradition of the past was taking shape and while my own musical language was finding comfort in the presence of all 12 notes mustered and shaped to suite the needs of the “tonality” of any given piece. Somewhere along the way, I started formulating my own theory of “directional relativity and gravity of sounds”, or in simpler terms “tonality”.
Years later, in 1989, I was approached by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to write a composition for solo piano, substantial in terms of duration and content. The word “variations” was slipped in for “guidance”. I gladly obliged, but not in a conventional fashion. I resolved to write a one movement, 15 minute rhapsody (closely corresponding to my own life at the time) and to base it on a well-known, original composition by Brahms.
Which composition? I leave that question unanswered.