The Joy of Being a Composer
Being a composer can be rather challenging, as you already might find out reading Berlioz ”Memoirs”. Many of the skills of the nowadays composer have often very little to do with the musical field. I intend not to speak about these difficulties, but of the energy that keeps the composer active and creative. I would like to take into consideration four stages, each of them able to generate great suffering or biggest joy, depending on the composer’ s personal perspective: the creation process, the work with the performers, the distribution process and, finally, its impact on the audience.
Composer’ s greatest joy is, without any doubt, the undefinable moment of creation, when something fresh and alive emerges from the unknown. Far from feeling this moment as a burden, trying to capture with tremendous difficulty the initial moment of inspiration, I am thinking more in energetic terms: if there is a flow in expressing the musical ideas, I know that I’ m on the right track; if not, I have to come back to the moment when the natural flow was interrupted. This way, composing is a joyful process for me, regardless of the musical content of the piece, irrespective of the esthetical orientation.
Other significant moment is that related to the fortunate situation when the composer meets inspired performers, who deeply understand and express his musical ideas. Many meaningful situations are possible: an inspiring working session with the performer, in which I can see that the work has greatly benefited from the collaboration, or, without any previous contact, I can hear the musical ideas so clearly expressed, that I can actually feel that the initial energy that sustained the creation of the work is now so organically expressed by the performer. Of course, ideal situations are rarely present, but I think that a very rigid position of the composer regarding his piece is far less constructive (and much more painful for himself) than a more flexible one.
The next phase I’ ll bear in mind is the moment when I want to make known to the world the recording of my work. This is also a situation that can generate enormous frustration or can be a joyful one, depending on my actions. A crazy run after “Likes” on Facebook, Youtube or other medias, will not add much fun to the process, irrespective of how much attention my work would receive. The pure joy of sharing, without too much emphasis on the results of that sharing, will make everything become rather easy and natural. I can tell, by experience, that a violent promotion will provide less significant results than a more passive approach. By “passive” I don’ t mean not to do anything to distribute the work. On the contrary, today there are so many ways in which I can make my work available: my personal website, Youtube, Soundcloud, Composers Circle, Musicians Page and many other online music networks. My intention is to make my music accessible to the world, without loosing a lot of energy trying to impose it, forcing peoples to listen to it. I must say, it didn’ t feel comfortable at all distributing my works on Facebook or LinkedIn, but I feel much more at home on Hello Stage, which was devised as an online musical community, where exactly these kind of actions are required. If my music was released by a label, it will take care of the distribution process. If my music was not released on physical CD’s, there are many alternatives, one of the best I know is the iMusician distribution platform. This year I intend to release an album with works for solo violin, and I’ m thinking about using iMusician, which will spread the music in more that 200 international shops, including iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify. However, you have to be careful, once you have submitted your music to iMusicians, you can not withdraw it from the shops.
The last stage I’ ll take into consideration is the one known as usually generating very much suffering for the composers: the listener’ s opinion. If I expect that everybody who listens to my works unexpectedly falls in love with the music, then of course the hell will be quite close to me, because this will probably happen only in my imaginary world- and it is known that the musicians are very inventive beings. I also don’ t resonate too much with the very specialized music writing, in the sense of writing works for composition competitions-where the members of the jury have certain musical expectations, or for a particular Music Festival- where the organizers are imposing certain stylistic orientations. I also don’ t believe in the idea that the contemporary music is addressed to an elitist circle of “connoiseurs”; I am convinced that music is really an universal language, having the capacity of influencing the human consciousness; I believe that the whole process of education is a process of transcending limitations imposed on us by ourselves and by others. So, in listening to contemporary music the same quality is required as in every other aspect of a fulfilled life: the openness to the unknown.
Gabriel Malancioiu is a contemporary classical composer and HELLO STAGE member from Romania. Find out more about him and especially listen to his music on his HELLO STAGE Page: https://www.hellostage.com/Gabriel-Malancioiu.