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Music is a Beautiful Disease

1999 • 15 minutes • Instrumental theatre for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion



The title of this piece came to me in a dream, a dream in which I was sitting at a performance of someone else's work with the title 'Music is a Beautiful Disease'. As with all middle-of-the-night creative thoughts, I got up and wrote it down to evaluate in the morning. At first the odd juxaposition of the words 'beautiful' and 'disease' caused me to doubt its potential use, as did the uncomfortable feeling that perhaps I really had heard of a piece of this name. In time, it grew on me and made some sense: after all, like a disease, music and all great art has the ability to disturb and to change our inner core. A great artistic experience spreads throughout our beings infectiously.

In keeping with the title's origins, the piece is rather dreamlike, moving freely through seemingly opposed ideas in a way which often defies our usual sense of 'logic'. Dreamlike theatrical extensions of some of the visual aspects of our concert music tradition punctuate this. My intention is to create an atmosphere which is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time, which both embraces and defies our 'normal' sense of reality, slipping into and out of a dreamlike state frequently.

The work was commissioned by the Standing Wave ensemble through the assistance of the Canada Council.

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