ChrisHalf400Flute 02



match300Inspiration is euphoric, addictive, and the brightest and most brilliant of flames.   Unfortunately, it is also a poison to both the mind and the body.  The composer, so afflicted by this bolt of lightning, can churn out his/her finest and deepest works rapidly and effortlessly.  The pieces simply write themselves.   The composer after such a high, may often be left to wonder how they were capable of such a creative act.   After these violent bursts of passion and drive have passed, I am often left puzzled as to how such a flawed, ordinary person such as myself could give birth to these magnificent musical compositions.  There used to be a fear and a terror in me that the inspiration would never return after a creative episode.  I no longer have such worries.  But now that I am in my mid 40's, I have become aware of the darker aspect of this state of euphoria.  Inspiration is the fire that consumes the individual.   Our minds and bodies as humans are not designed to handle the brilliance of these episodes; each consumes and permanently damages us little by little.  In the end, this great gift and responsibility will turn us to ash long before our time.  It is our penance, and the price we must pay as composers who are so gifted and endowed.  In many ways, I do not believe that we are fortunate; only burdened in the most horrifying of ways.   

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When I was an Emerging Composer in my late 20's and early 30's, I used to make regular blog posts about contemporary classical music topics.  As a young man, I was brash and eager to challenge and condemn both the musical establishment and what I perceived was the ivory tower of academia and its over intellectualization of Western Music.   Now, as a mid-career composer in my early 40's, my perspective and opinions have greatly mellowed.   Time, experience and insight have a way of changing an artist - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.   I have no academic post and do not desire one as I am convinced it would hamper my creative output.  I now also know that we as artists need to support one another, rather than worrying about who is the best and who is the worst, who is the first and who is the last.

It is natural for the young composer or musician to be competitive and sometimes even to criticize/put down others, believing that this may get them ahead somehow.  As a mid-career composer, I no longer have anything to prove to anyone including me.   I am not threatened by the successes of others, or those younger composers following in my footsteps.  Unlike the man I was in my 20's, I now feel an obligation to be encouraging and to help any aspiring composer who would seek my experience or guidance.   Getting older can indeed be a good thing.   And so, the answer to the original question is to Blog once more.

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