“Spectral Myths” (1999) for brass quintet was completed on December 22, 1999 and premiered shortly thereafter by fellow musicians at the University of Victoria School of Music where I was attending at the time.
The title of the piece is evocative of the supernatural: “Spectral”, of course, refers to something that is “of or like a ghost” while “myths” typically means that “it’s a popular concept, but not really true.” I believed this then (that ghosts – or more precisely, the spirits of dead people floating around – don’t exist) and still do today. However, I do find it ironic that not long after composing this piece I had an “encounter” in the basement suite where I was residing at the time. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that the visiting “spectre” quite capably convinced me that it was no myth. Although, I was not persuaded to believe it was a “dead person”, but rather a just “a spirit” (and not the friendly kind).
For the record, I believe that dead people are just that – dead. Not in heaven (yet), not in hell, and not floating around my neighbourhood (or yours). A careful study of the Bible on this topic led me to that conclusion. Spirits, on the other hand, do appear to be real according to the Bible. And there are good and bad kinds, most commonly referred to as “angels” and “demons”. The latter seem to cause quite a lot of trouble down here, including impersonating dead people (hence the popular concept of “ghosts”), possessing people, and other nasty stuff. So, suffice it to say, I’m glad my encounter with one of these spirits was brief and hasn’t been repeated since.
So there you have it – I do believe in supernatural beings (God being the most supernatural of them all). And I suppose this composition could be considered a reflection of that belief, minus the floating dead people.