On The Gothic Classical Music
of David Walther
The pop-ups to the right are divided into the following sections: Chamber Music, Keyboard Music, Gothic Ballet, Orchestral Music, Tarot Symphonies, Vocal Music, Choral Music, Gothic Opera and Critical Editions. Furthermore, there are music theater pieces, written in the retro tin pan alley style under the name Purple Beard above and listed under "Jo The Bagger."
It is my belief that music is mostly about emotions. These emotions tell stories. Most of my pieces have myths and tales associated with them. Sometimes I keep them to myself, but usually I share them. Music has strong visual associations for me.
When I think of tones, I see colors: A: red; B: black; C: white; D: yellow; E; pale violet; F: black; and G: green. I don't know why this is... but it has always been so. I DO believe that it is associated with the Greek modes. I have known and read of other people with synesthesia; but I have never known of two people who AGREED on the particulars.
The tradition chronological method for listing compositions does not work for me. I started composing very young... I don't know how young. I list my "Unison Mass" that I wrote on the day that I turned 12 as the first piece, but before that I wrote "rock" songs. I once listed 250 of these, but I don't trust that number. I sang and played guitar for several "singing groups" with my various friends.
I found my "voice" at a very young age, so it is difficult to identify stylistic development in my work, also I never throw anything away. I have an ever shrinking stash of left over ideas that I use as the occasion arises. As a result a saved idea from decades earlier may resurface in a recent piece. Also, I am also unbelievably self-critical, as a result any piece may be withheld at any time.
I constantly tend to make new orchestrations and arrangements of pieces, to fit various occasions, or because I think a new arrangement adds insights into a work or further develops some thought. I don't know how one can work with singers and not have this kind of flexibility. As a result of all of these reasons, I use the method by which Haydn's music is categorized: by genre rather than chronology.
I. Orchestration: I have had to teach myself. I read many wonderful books and studied many wonderful scores. I believe that there are three basic styles of orchestration: concerto (or melody with accompaniment); functional (where the woodwind, brass and string sections divide three basic tasks in various combinations: melody, close harmony and wide harmony); and coloristic (the fanciful, ever flowing, inventive style as found in the works of composers like Debussy, Ravel, Holst and Stravinsky).
Form: My most helpful mentors were Vincent Persichetti and Calvin Hampton. Persichetti stressed listening for the psychological development of musical ideas, while Hampton stressed the importance of an inspired idea, with a contrast and a return. This simple formula is the basis of all of my work.
Recently, I have been doing lengthy explorations, a year or more, of other elements of music: dynamics, phrasing, tempos....
Finally, I have three general notes:
1. When I write: con Ped. for the piano, I mean "legato."
2. In instrumental music I tend to write a tenuto over all notes that are not tied or otherwise phrased. It thereby means to hold the note for the entire length. The exception lies in my vocal music, where legato is implied as the default method of performance. Here"tenuto" truly means held: rather than dynamic change as in a crescendo or diminuendo as in messo di voce. Further it would imply that it is not legato, but rather detached, and, perhaps, slightly stressed, though not to the point of accent.
3. I don't CARE a snap about fachs in vocal music. I don't even care about gender. If a singer wants to sing a piece let him or her sing it.
I am currently in a year long process of extended examination of dynamics and phrasing in my work. It is proving most helpful.