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The Adventures of Darwin & Dr Watson Theme Music (2010)

for orchestra
2+Picc.2+EH.2+Bass.2+Contra / / Timp.4Perc / Pf / Hp / Str
duration: 2 minutes


I’ve known Andrew Lynch almost half my life, but for some reason, it took nearly 25 years and a physical separation of 3000 miles to bring about our first collaboration. I say: better late than never. The hardest part of starting a new piece (for me and, I suspect, many other composers) is staring at a blank sheet of manuscript paper or computer screen, trying to create with few constraints or parameters. Fortunately for me, Andrew Lynch had strong, clear ideas about the music he wanted for “The Adventures of Darwin & Dr Watson.” With his great character descriptions & Erin‘s beautiful illustrations in my brain, the actual composing was easy. My goal was to suggest the beagles’ gait, the sense of adventure always waiting around the corner, and the feeling that, in the end, things will always work out.

This piece shares four traits with all my work of the past 25 years: it’s tonal, it features a constant rhythmic pulse, it uses repetition on many levels, and it tries to build a complex whole from a very small amount of musical material. As is often the case with my work, its form is not something I consciously planned out ahead of time. This can sometimes lead to surprising results: in this case, I think I may have created the shortest sonata-allegro movement in musical history.

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