Idea to Life (Success Stories)
alto sax, el gtr, perc, el pno/syn
The Living Earth Show
Adrian Knight Music

︎︎︎Detailed Inventory

Alto saxophone
Electric guitar
Rhodes Piano (doubling synth)

3 bells
3 bowls (singing)
3 Thai gongs
4 Crotales
2 Almglocken

2 Splash cymbals (9”, 11”)
Large susp cym
China cym
Sizz cym
Very large tam-tam
Concert bass drum


‘Idea to Life (Success Stories)’ was commissioned by The Living Earth Show (Andy Meyerson, Travis Andrews). It was composed between June 2018 and September 2019. Having spent some years exploring longer continuous forms I was excited to return to some kind of multi-movement form, and the result is this collection of 12 pieces. It was important to me that each movement be able to function as a standalone movement, even if I prefer that they’re performed as a set.

The writing process was particularly pleasant, not least because this piece now marks the culmination of almost a decade of collaboration between myself and The Living Earth Show, and it is safe to say that this association has been one of the most rewarding and fruitful experiences in my musical life. I would like to thank Sam Adams for introducing me to the newly formed ensemble in 2011-12. (Andy and Travis are very near and dear to me and I wish we lived on the same coast so we could see more of each other.) There is now what amounts to an unplanned (but nonetheless coherent) tetralogy in The Living Earth Show repertoire, each work (in an equally unplanned non-chronological fashion) adding an instrument: Humble Servant (solo percussion, 2013), Family Man (electric guitar, percussion, 2012), Damn the Flood (electric guitar, percussion, synthesizer — and a ‘ghost’ version of David Lackner appearing in prerecorded form, 2017), and now Idea to Life (Success Stories) with David actually appearing physically — live and in person! In other words, I had a lot of experience to build on when conceiving of this piece, though I hope I haven’t repeated myself too much. Speaking of David, he is like a brother to me. We’ve been making music together constantly for over 5 years now, but this is the first big ‘notes-on-paper’ piece that I’ve written for him, and even though he plays tenor, soprano, EWI and the piano in a totally flawless and original way the alto was always at the center of his practice, so I decided to let it be at the center in this composition, too.

The idea behind the piece is quite simple: I wanted to make a piece celebrating the remarkable things that humans have created out of the same matter we (the universe) are made of. Viewed with the so called ‘overview effect’ in mind (and absent any moral considerations), even brazenly bombastic creations such as the Symphony/Harmony of the Seas cruise ships become beautiful and miraculous, but no more or less miraculous than anything created by what we call nature. It is perhaps in our nature to set ourselves apart from the rest of the clumped together matter on our planet; who can deny the strangeness of it all, and who can deny the sense of claustrophobia when considering self-evident truths like the Anthropic Principle which states that “if the universe had not been suitable for life, we wouldn’t be asking why it is so finely adjusted” (Stephen Hawking, Life in the Universe lecture). We are, of course, denied access to any outside perspective that might shed a light on what it all means (including its opposite, the meaningless) so we stay busy building boats and airplanes, pyramids and skyscrapers, ever mixing the abundant elements around us into whatever our minds dream up. The cement truck is always working! By no means are we special — the entire universe is also transforming the elements into various shapes and forms. But the art of bringing an idea to life is ours for the time being (perhaps we will meet our match in the future).

I’m dedicating this particular set of air ‘choreographies’ to my dear friends Dave, Andy and Travis whose parts are all so much harder than mine — thank you!

︎︎︎Score Excerpts

Copyright © by Adrian Knight 2022.