Filum Vitae

For Wind Ensemble

When asked why he didn’t write a mass, the composer Eric Whitacre, responded with “the text doesn’t speak to me – I’m not a Christian (though, I’m not an athiest either) and so that collection of words doesn’t resonate with me.”

I think that’s how the quote goes.

Case and point, it’s hard to write music about ideas that don’t resonate with you; reciprocally, it’s easy to write about music that feel vigourously passionate about.

One night in cool night in July, I couldn’t sleep because I was gripped with a BBC series called “The Story of Science” by Michael Mosley.  Each episode focuses on a question that humanity has asked the world around it: “Where did we come from?” “What is the world made of? and perhaps most importantly, “who am I?”

There was a moment in the series when Europe became obsessed with African culture (around the time of the World’s Fair) and, for the first time, a orangutan was coming to London.  But when the public came to see the ape (named  Jenny), they saw something in her that they didn’t expect: Themselves.

This impressed Charles Darwin, noting in his log that the zookeeper offered Jenny an apple, then pulled it back, offered, then withdrew.  Eventually, Jenny threw herself onto her back and kicked and screamed, “crying like a child.”

That was the evidence for Darwin- “maybe they feel like we feel.”  And isn’t that just so beautiful?

Filum Vitae is Latin for “The Thread of Life,” and it chronicles the emotional connection between humans and other complex life.  We all need love, comfort, care and food among other things.  We are all threads in a great tapestry and, while there is strength in diversity, we need to remember that we’re more similar than we are different.  We aren’t the coach of the team, we’re another player on it, but we’re privileged to benefits of being on such a team – emotional connection, love, passion…

We are part of the many and there are fewer things more beautiful than that – the tapestry of being is made by the threads of life.

Filum Vitae

(Extra Special: Here is a recording that I conducted with the Lord Selkirk Regional Senior Concert Band)

3 thoughts on “Filum Vitae

  1. Kenley,

    Solid concert band chart! I like how no section seems to be without its own sweeping line in the first section (I love when the low brass goes deep), the sort of urgency of the bridge, and the natural transitions all around… the piece flows very well from beginning to end. Perhaps most importantly, the story and vision behind the title is certainly justified in the music. I look forward to your next work!

  2. Thanks, man! So happy that you checked it out! I really appreciate it! Your comments are also wonderfully nice too. I’ve got some choral stuff in the cue, so we’ll see what happens with that. Hopefully, it will be published. We’ll see, you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, right? 🙂

  3. Random question for you: Any idea what festival level this is getting? The shops seem to be pegging it as a 3.5-4.0… We’d like to do it. Thanks!

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