The Music of Robert Capanna
Concert Program |PDF| Review in The Philadelphia Inquirer
"....constant state of dialogue...."
By Robert Capanna (excerpted from program notes, January 6, 2017)
I am very grateful to have been part of a lively and supportive music community in Philadelphia for my entire (40+ year!) professional career as a composer and musician. It has allowed me to pursue a less-than-typical career path while maintaining a fairly active and satisfying day to day existence as a composer, nurtured by the interest and support of fellow musicians and a pretty adventurous and dedicated audience. This wonderful collaboration between Network for New Music, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the PRISM Quartet is only the latest and greatest demonstration of that interest and support.
It seems to me that one of the essential questions every creative person has to ask himself is “who am I doing this for?” Obviously, a lot of us might presume that the answer is “myself”, and clearly, we are our own most basic audience. It’s hard to imagine a circumstance where you would make art that you didn’t like (although I suppose some artists on an aggressive career path might make art for reasons in addition to being satisfied with it.) Nonetheless, “myself” seems like a pretty small group, so I believe that the wider audience of performers and listeners plays a key role in shaping who we are and who we become as composers and artists. I’m not trying to share the blame—I’m just saying that my music wouldn’t be what it is without the feedback and input from this wider circle of colleagues and friends, even those with conflicting or contrary ideas about what makes good or bad music.
In fact, as I look back over my work, or even over the four works on this program, it seems to me that I am in a constant state of dialogue—with musical ideas, technical issues and expressive aspirations—both from piece to piece and between the work and those that hear it and perform it. It’s not like writing the same piece over and over (and I certainly hope it doesn’t sound like the same piece again and again!), but it is like using ideas that morph and grow from piece to piece and lead to new combinations and new paths of expression. The pieces on this program are not only musically related—they actually have grown from each other in a fairly organic and spontaneous way.