Performed by Diana Loomer

Instrumentation: Any polyphonic instrument with a two-octave range

Program Notes:

Timpani is hands down my least favorite percussion instrument, at least to play. Perhaps it is because of my awful sense of pitch, or because the timpani parts younger players are exposed to, particularly in band repertoire, are not always the most stimulating. Needless to say, the fact that I composed a timpani solo is shocking to me.

However, in discussions with Diana Loomer about this commission, she talked about how she did not actually want me to write a timpani solo in line with what had been previously done for the instrument. Diana instead wanted to capitalize on the melodic qualities of the timpani, a characteristic for which these instruments are seldom utilized. Hopefully I’ve achieved this.

The title comes from a quote by the artist Drew Struzan, most widely known for his movie poster artwork for numerous franchises such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, and Back to The Future, just to name a few. In talking about his original artwork, Drew said…

“To sum it up, I would call it art for art’s sake. It’s not for advertising movies. It’s not to explain some philosophy. This exists for itself, in itself, because it has value as itself. And you have to look at it with those eyes and with that heart to really understand what it’s trying to give you and say to you. I willfully try to paint open-endedly, which is to say I’m not telling you what to think. I’m setting up a circumstance that asks you questions. They’ll turn out to be your own questions and your own answers.”

Itself does not have some other purpose than to exist as it is: a series of notes that resonated with me during the moments when it was created. There is no deeper concept, no underlying meaning, no message I am trying to convey. “This exists for itself, in itself, because it has value as itself.”

Itself was commissioned by Diana Loomer for her doctoral lecture recital at the University of Texas – Austin.