In recent times, a number of people have compared my music to Philip Glass. Specifically, they have compared my first truly minimalist piano work, the Berceuses suite, to Philip Glass.
I love Philip Glass and to be compared to him is a great compliment, but I am not writing this post in order to brag. Nor am I writing this post to correct those who have made the comparison, although the Berceuses are only superficially similar to Glass.
Rather, I’m writing this in order to clear up the distinction between knowingly taking inspiration from something (which I do often, and consciously) and writing something that sounds like something else (which most composers can’t help doing, because true originality is nearly impossible).
Art does not exist in a vacuum. My compositions are full of motifs I heard somewhere that lodged in my brain and reorganise themselves over months or years, until they are unrecognisable to anyone but me. But these are not the influences people think they hear in my music.
I like Philip Glass’s music, and always have. But I don’t write the kind of music I write because I like Philip Glass. I write the kind of music I write because it is the music my soul needs to write. And I like Philip Glass because it is the music my soul needs to hear.
It feels as though my need for Glass’s music long preceded hearing it. This is true of all the music I love, and the reason for it is one of the great mysteries of the universe. But what I do know, deep down, is that if I’d never heard those composers, I would still be writing the same music.