…my consciousness

Written: 2013

Price: full set $145; score $40

Commissioned By: The Girl

Duration: ca. 7:30

Grade Level: 4


At its heart, Daniel Montoya, Jr.’s …my consciousness is a love song, albeit one that is unconventionally conceived and, like the composer, is not without its own quirkily humorous charm. It was written for and dedicated to his wife, who is known enigmatically in social media circles simply as “The Girl,” who asked him early on in their relationship to write a piece of music that would encapsulate their story. The challenge was significant, and it took Montoya years to finally build up the courage to commit to the project, which he titled based on The Girl’s acknowledgement that they were finally becoming a serious couple in saying “You’ve entered my consciousness.”

The work is partially anecdotal in nature, programmatically reflecting the tale of the first time the pair met. The composer says of that fateful meeting:

“The first time The Girl and I ever met, I was wearing a black rocker t-shirt with silver writing.  The shirt said AD/HD in the style of the AC/DC logo.  At some point during the conversation she asked if I liked AC/DC because of the shirt.  I pointed out her error and her response was, ‘…that’s marketing for you.’”

The opening gesture of the work, after an initial twinkling of mallet percussion, relates this exchange musically in an eight-note melody solo flute: A–C–D–C–A–D–H–D (B-flat is spelled as in the Germanic system as “H”). This sits atop extended diatonic harmonies that reflect the same pitches, listing by aimlessly in a naïve, floating passage of time. This is immediate answered by a gentle oboe solo mimicked by an expanding brass chorale, sighing dreamily downward toward a cadence in the home key of F major.

These are the primary materials of the work, and they metamorphose over the course of the rest of the work. The flute and oboe solos become thoroughly meshed into one entity, rather than the independent statements of the separate motives, almost as if the lovers have become, over time, more and more inseparable and indebted to each other. The melody sweeps forward, picking up speed and passionately intensifying in volume to what seems like a climax, but before it can fully resolve, a respite comes in the form of a sparser texture and a return of the earlier lovesick sighing, this time in alto saxophone, perhaps as a nostalgic remembrance of the beginning. This short section, questioning in its nature, contains unsure dissonances, but a lengthy euphonium solo sets the motion back on track to its assuredness, cresting to a grand apex before receding quietly back to the original fragmented motives, with one final “correcting” statement of A–D–H–D that is left incomplete, because—after all—the story isn’t finished yet…

Montoya mentions that the piece relies on Elton John’s “Your Song” as a fundamental inspiration, although it doesn’t make any active quotation or contain any lyrics. Still, the lyrics, modified here, shape the spirit and genesis of the work:

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a travelling show
I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one’s for you
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

…my consciousness is Montoya’s eleventh work for symphonic winds and is dedicated to Jenn.


Program note by Jake Wallace
Please credit Jake Wallace when reproducing or excerpting this program note