|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Well it has been a week since the premiere of The Long Now with the St. Olaf Band. It was a wonderful time and this week I get to complete my 2009 Band diptych with a residency and premiere at the University of Maryland-College Park. I was commissioned by the Gamma Xi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi to write a composition for the 2008-2009 University of Maryland Symphonic Band, Dr. L. Richmond Sparks, director; written in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Bands at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The composition I wrote is called The Gates of the Wonder-World Open and will be premiered at the Annual "Pops" Concert on Saturday May 2nd at the Dekelboum Concert Hall, with me conducting. Here's what I wrote about the piece for the concert program:
The title comes from Carl Sagan’s rewording of a sentence from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick: “By reason of these things, then, the whaling voyage was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open…” This sentence describes how, for Ishmael, the sea voyage is a gateway to the future, to new and unknown adventures. I’ve felt my time in college was also a gateway to that undiscovered country—the future; an unimaginable life that was waiting for me after my years on campus. The Gates of the Wonder-World Open looks back to those beginnings; a celebration of the youthful excitement and joyful anticipation embarking on the continuous discovery to one’s self.
I actually read Moby Dick for the first time last year and while I found it hard to get through (the pages and pages of cetological detail was especially difficult reading) excepting some wonderful and exciting passages, the above sentence spoke to me immediately. And when a few months later I was reading Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot and he uses the Moby Dick sentence as title to one of his chapters, I made note to "appropriate" it as a title of a composition some day. And that day came sooner than I expected. And while The Gates of the Wonder-World Open has nothing directly to do with either book, I felt the phrase conveyed what I wanted to achieve with the piece.
ORIGINALLY POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 10:02 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.