Yet another composition about composing, this time I’m asking the question “in the face of so many great composers, should a minor talent like me even bother?” It takes the form of an open letter to the Renaissance master Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, asking whether he composed knowing he would be revered as a musical master centuries later or whether he was content to simply make music for the immediate joy (and income) it brought him.
The thing I like about this song is that it stretches the boundaries of song form. It goes all over the place, but never loses its way. The problem is that it is an absolute bear to play. The poor cello and viola fill in for bass and guitar, with rhythmic double stops that form the backbone of the groove. The violins have solos and fiddle rhythms. And then everyone has to stop on a dime and nail delicate harmonics. It’s a wonder they didn’t walk out on me when I passed out the music!
Take a listen to a work in progress: Palestrina, MP3.
PS – If you’re wondering why I keep composing given the fact that I’m dwarfed by people like Palestrina, it is best summarized by Henry van Dyke: “The woods would be very silent if no bird sang except the best.”