Click the artwork to download the symphony, program notes, and cover art.
Prologue | Overture | Loomings
Into The Lone Atlantic | Cetology | Moby Dick
The Forge | The Chase | Finale
Writing the program notes for pieces I’ve worked on for a long time has become something of a tradition for me at this point, even if it’s likely that virtually nobody will read them (or even finish the symphony for that matter). At any rate, if you are, in fact, reading this and listening all the way through, thank you. It means a great deal to me. When I first started this process of setting music to old novels, I read through The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, fell in love with it, and had to write the music to follow it up. That was in 2010. Six years later, that has grown into a sort of “once a year” project wherein I pick out a new novel, read through it, and write the music for it. Moby Dick represents the culmination of that ambition, to take a novel from cover to cover and write something that could be equally as epic (an hour and eleven minute runtime), and which would be something that I wouldn’t feel embarrassed to present in conjunction with the book.
When I started working on this project, I was 22. I’m 24 now. As the largest and longest piece I’ve written since graduating university in 2014 (and spending most of my time out of college working on this piece), Moby Dick represents a departure from my usual writing style and into a much darker sonic world for much of the piece. I read through Moby Dick twice in the span of three weeks in Uganda; once from cover to cover, and again while making notes everywhere throughout the book after I had made the decision to write a piece on it. The titles of the movements in the symphony are after significant passages or chapters throughout the book, and the music within each respective movement is an attempt to encapsulate the emotions of that particular passage or chapter.
So, to say that this was the longest I’ve worked on any piece would be an understatement. When the majority of the symphony was finished, the only piece that remained to be finalized was the Chase; I spent almost six months working on this singular movement. I agonized over the minutia of it, trying to find a balance between theme and form and I hope that in finishing it I’ve done it justice.
Over the last few months to years I’ve slowly realized that, for me, composing isn’t something that I want to do or should be doing because I think I’m good at it. I do it because emotionally, I need to write to feel complete and sane in the world. As I slowly move away from the prospect of writing music for a career (a story for another time…), I have realized the the beauty of writing music for me is not in the fact that I have to do it because it will put food on the table, but for the fact that I have to do it to be mentally and emotionally whole. I will never stop writing music. In that regard, I’ve put my heart into this work and I truly hope you enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed every step of writing it.