My First Record Outside the Classical Category

CD#12 “Begin Sweet World”

                     Dark, dark night.
                     The trees. The river.
                     One more day;
                     For so slow goes the day.
                     Before the end
                        the world goes round
                             once more.
                     The world begins the day.
|                    The night has gone.
                     The day for the end of the world
                        once more begins.
                     Once more begins the sun
                     Slow, so slow.
                     Go on, world, live.
                     Begin, sweet sun.
                     Begin, sweet world.
                     The people live and die.
                         people die alive
             Lynette Joass, age 12, New Zealand*

I made this, my first departure from the accepted norms of classical music, almost as if I was in a dream. I loved every piece of music I was recording and at the same time thought this might very well destroy my career and reputation.  What “serious” classical artist would venture to make such a thing— fitting into no category, no bin, no place in music history?  Performing Debussy’s La fille aux cheveux de lin with electronic sounds infiltrating its purity?  Placing Bach and Fauré next to Thelonious Monk and Bill Douglas?

     What were all these disparate pieces doing on the same record? What was going on? What was I thinking?

     Well, turn over the miniature replica of the LP album to the back and read the names to whom the music is dedicated:

RS CD #12 Begin Sweet World back

     John Pearson, master photographer, whose vision literally made me leave notes and leap into the light.
     Tom Shepard, president of RCA Red Seal, whose willingness let me fly with the greatest of ease.
     Meggie and Peter John, using the music as children to leave earth and enter their dreams.
     Mom, who finally had music which needed no explanation for enjoyment and understanding.
     Dad, to play the blues in his memory with Eddie.
     Bill, who translated my moods into modes.
     Jeremy, who brought his new ears and young age to guide me, reassure me, and provide, along with the genius of
     Larry Swist’s sound engineering, the space where I could trust myself.

*from the book "Begin Sweet World" by John Pearson, published by Doubleday with an introduction by Anaïs Nin. This was the inspiration for my first record outside the classical category and the photos served as inspiration for Bill Douglas's music and for the eventual collaboration on the concert stage of live improvisations to projections of John's photos on giant screens.
© Richard Stoltzman June 2, 2017

Eddie Gomez appears courtesy of Stretch / GRP Records
Recording: New York, Suffern, BearTracks Recording Studio, July 1985
Producer: Jeremy Wall
Recording Engineer: Larry Swist
Publishers: Ziji Music [1/2/4/9/11/12]; Thelonious Music [3]; Galadriel Music [5]
℗ 1986 Sony Music Entertainment