ABOUT THE MUSIC- A CONDUCTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
“Music is a language.” It is an expression I’ve heard Philip Sawyers use countless times.
Philosophers and musicians have argued for centuries about whether music is a universal language or a personal one. It seems tha t it can obviously be either or both, and that there is a huge continuum of language between those musical gestures that are truly universal and those which are almost as personal as a fingerprint. One of the things I find most compelling about Philip’s music is the extent to which it embodies the extremes of both the universal and the personal.
As Philip’s output grows and our understanding of his work evolves, we can begin to see that there are musical threads which spill over from one work to the next. In this respect, he is part of a venerable tradition. Sometimes these recurring themes and mo tifs have profound personal significance, sometimes they are simply, as Philip once said to me of a particular rhythmic motif which appears in the vast majority of his pieces at least once, “very useful.”