from:  'Twas the Night Before New Year's Eve (12/30/05)

Notes for

and it makes me wonder... (2003)
by W. L. Altman

(These notes were written by Altman for Rusty's performance of this work on a Third Chair Chamber Players concert in April of 2003)

The title, and it makes me wonder... is a silly joke, a portentous phrase taken from a piece of music that became an embarrassment to discriminating guitarists and Rock & Roll aficionados.  In spite of the ridicule heaped upon Stairway to Heaven, I have attempted to create from its sounds (along with sounds from various other Zeppelin tunes - there will be a test after the performance!) a study of the electric guitar's sound palette, set as accompaniment to an adventurous solo for the "classical" guitar.  Some amplification of the soloist is necessary in order to allow the dynamic range necessary for the electric guitar sounds.

After the fact, I have gone back to the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven to see if some serendipitous connection could be found between them and and it makes me wonder....  Alas, it ain't exactly poetry!  Nonetheless, it is interesting that the unsophisticated imagery of these two young rock prophets (Plant/Page) raise age-old questions which still do "make me wonder". I am writing these notes mere hours before the deadline for G.W. Bush's ultimatum to S. Hussein elapses.  Here are some lines that jump out at me:

Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on
yes there are many roads to choose from.

Yes there's always time to see reason, to change roads.  Unfortunately the fists of G.W. and S.H. are tightly clenching the wheel.

The following words actually help me to escape utter despair:

And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter
And it makes me wonder ...

I hope, piper or no, that we can stand so long, that we can see reason, that the dream of democracy WILL dawn - for the U.S.A. as well as all the world.  Then will the forest echo with laughter, along with the purple mountain, the arid desert and the fruited plain."