2:27pm PDT // While researching subtitles for my String Quartet I began to wonder if the subject matter would offend anyone. Titled “From Four Papers”, this work consists of four movements, each of which is “inspired” by a prolific scientist. The scientists I chose, however, are unique in their ability to convey the wonders of science to the general public. Two in particular have had a profound effect on my own appreciation of science, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan. I have chosen fragments from each of these “science ambassador’s” writings, hoping to capture in just a few words the general attitude of the given movement.
I have, however, also chosen Charles Darwin as the subject of my third movement, an excerpt from “Origin of the Species” in particular. My concern is that as a “new composer”, and since some people consider evolution a fabrication, I may have only compounded the already difficult task of acquiring musicians to perform the work. But, it did dawn on me that throughout history musicians have had to overlook the personal beliefs or strange behavior of the composer they are performing. A few cases come to mind 1) Richard Wagner’s well-known anti-Semitism 2) The attitude of the Vienna Philharmonic’s initial distain toward Mahler’s 9 symphonies under Bernstein’s baton. Though my work is not part of the standard repertory as say Wagner or Mahler (someday), perhaps those performers who would find evolution objectionable can put aside their disagreements with me and just perform the music, even if all it takes is a little encouragement from their wallet.