A Phantom Ride
moto perpetuo for solo viola and string orchestra
A "phantom ride" is a cinematographic scene in which a camera is affixed to the front of a moving object, typically a train or car. In his book, The Phantom Ride: Early Cinema and The Train, Brian Phelan describes the use of the phantom ride in films as “a standard cinematic device for putting audiences into the heart of the action,…not just as a way to create an immediate sense of momentum and excitement, but also to put us in the right frame of mind for the film to come, to lure us into the disembodied dream-state of film itself.”
After watching some silent films from the early twentieth century, I set out to compose music that would suggest the thrill I felt while watching, for instance, a cable car weaving through San Francisco’s Market Street in 1906 or a trip on the Metropolitan Railway in 1910. This work is dedicated to the musicians of The San José Chamber Orchestra, from whom I always seem to draw inspiration.