Poème is of a set of three improvisations that I created in December, 2000 in my home studio when Mary Ellen and I were living near Atlanta, Ga. Improvisation is an important part of the art of musical composition. This music was improvised.
Today, improvisation is associated with the tradition of jazz, but many of the great composers of the past (like Beethoven, Franck, and Bach) were masters of improvisation in addtion to being masters of written composition.
I am the kind of composer who "hears" music. I consider this a gift. I don't use my mind to think up music; I don't figure it out. I hear it. I always love the music that I am hearing, while I either play it on an instrument as I hear it ("improvising"), or I write it down.
I began improvising during the 1960s, when I first began playing jazz guitar. I started improvising on the piano four or five years later. In November, 1974, I had a very powerful dream one night where I was shown that I was going to create a new kind of music. I heard myself playing this new music. From that dream, I began a new kind of improvisation. And always I could feel the presence of the angelic rehm surrounding me, transferring the music to me. Therefore, this term "improvising" is a real misnomer for me. I am playing what I am am being given from a higher authority. Composers in the past whom we respect today have spoken of this process. It's real!
The longest improvisation on the Poem album is Paix (French for Peace). Lasting over 34 minutes, this improvisation rises out of simplicity itself, the melody developing slowly from just two notes. It then gradually evolves into a pentatonic (five note) theme. The entire 34-minute piano composition, with a background of strings and choir, is a meditative ride upon atmospheric clouds of peace and it is minimalism itself.
The second improvisation is called Tendresse (French for Tenderness). Feelings of tenderness are expressed in this improvisation that features piano with strings. The slow, romantic beauty of this piece captures a kind of improvisation I had discovered when I had improvised "Heart Flame" for Aeoliah's 1981 album Inner Sanctum. Comparing the two pieces shows an evolution of almost 20 years, however.
The third improvisation is called Tranquillité (French for Tranquility). This very slow improvisation is a floating, gliding ride in inner and outer planetary space.