I’ve been thinking about what makes my music part of New Lyricism. Actually, despite what I’ve said everywhere else on this site, I’m not sure that a tonal basis is the main ingredient. For me at least, the main ingredient is the personal, the audience of one. Most often, that audience of one is a performer, but not always. I can’t just sit down and write a piece. Or even write a piece for myself. I have to have someone in mind, someone who’ll be playing it or sitting in the audience that first performance. It’s got to be music that we’ll both like, that exists in some shared aesthetic space between us. Music that neither of us knew was there, yet we both recognize when we hear it.
And afterward, when the performance is over, whether we shake hands backstage, or just catch a glimpse of one another across a sea of faces in the audience, we know something new about one another, something that somehow helps describe who we are as people, and what is important to us. It has much the same feel as a shared joke, or witnessing an act of generosity or heroism; we now know something about that person that we can’t really put into words. Without that, it’s not New or Old or any other kind of Lyricism.