(“Andante Moderato”)

by lylechan on October 23, 2017

Bid Time Return cover image

My dear friends the Acacia Quartet will give 4 performances of this new work over Oct and Nov 2017 in Sydney and Melbourne. You can see details here or in the Calendar.

Like nearly all my pieces that Acacia has premiered, it is an excerpt from my ongoing String Quartet and was sketched many years before and now only finished with their support and encouragement.

The title (“Andante Moderato”) – so innocuous and neutral – comes from Mahler.

I first learned Mahler’s name many years before I heard his music. As a young boy, captivated by Superman, I followed news about the handsome actor Christopher Reeve. I learned that he was to make a movie called Somewhere in Time, based on a novel by Richard Matheson. So I read the novel, originally named Bid Time Return – and thus was introduced to the music of Mahler. Or at least, descriptions of the music. In the novel, a man find a way to travel back in time to meet a woman he is besotted by, merely from looking at her photograph. Mahler’s ninth symphony makes the journey with him.

Just as I never did see the movie, I didn’t actually hear any Mahler until many years later, and it took me many more years to appreciate, even like, Mahler’s music. But the first time listening to any music is a special moment, especially if it’s music you will be returning to again and again. When I took my friend Colin to his first concert of Mahler’s 6th symphony, I realised I was hearing the piece afresh. Isn’t it interesting that when you play a familiar piece for a friend, it feels like you’re hearing it for the first time yourself. You listen with their ears. In the slow movement is a brief, glorious tune, appearing in full only once, arrived at by the culmination of hints and fragments. As I listened, I heard a version of the voluptuous melody that wasn’t fleeting, didn’t leave, but came to stay.

To be continued …

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