“Did you feel you were taking a risk?”
This question came to me from Cy Giacomin, a composer of choral music, and singer with the Canadian Chamber Choir. He had just finished performing my “Compassio”, among other works, in this week’s fantastic concert with Vox Humana.
And what a good question!
Cy was asking if “Compassio” felt like a risky piece of music to me as I was writing it. And the answer is yes, for many reasons. Causes of insecurity included the piece being my first commission, the use of only one word, and even some of the part-writing techniques I used.
One perpetual obstacle I face as a composer is in trying to silence internal criticism. The struggle is between writing for applause and writing for me. It’s “Will they like me?” vs. “Who cares if they like me?” Neither of these attitudes are useful by themselves.
This is insecurity at its finest, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who is immune from it. (Most of the people I meet are not composers, and they suffer too.)
My solution: Say what you mean. Mean what you say. The rest will sort itself out.
Do you agree?
PS – I don’t have a good excuse for not writing a post last Friday. My friend Amy in Victoria pointed this out today. It’s good to know that my words are appreciated from time to time. Amy, this one’s for you. 🙂