Starting anew

Written: October 2, 2003

Starting a new piece is one of the hardest things to do. Before anything is written, everything is possible. When nothing’s on the page, your piece can be great if you just make the right choices. But with every note you compose, doors close. The rest of the piece becomes clearer, more distinct – what else it might have become is lost.

That said, however, I can think of a couple of pieces which ‘restart’, as it were. In a flute quartet by Sofia Gubaidulina, one of the movements begins with the same music from part of a previous movement and takes it in an entirely different direction.  Michael Gandolfi‘s four-movement Points of Departure builds an entire piece out of that idea, as each movement begins with part of the previous one, until the fourth movement ends…with the music that began the piece. It’s an extremely cool technique.