Prometheus is a three movement musical work.
I had several goals in mind when I started writing it. In the mid 1990s I was learning about classical music and writing my own orchestral and symphonic pieces. I had the idea of combining my electric guitar with traditional orchestral instrumentation in a classical style.
The results were unsatisfactory every time I tried to it. I was able to make rock and pop style songs that used or featured orchestral instruments. But I was unable to work the electric guitar into a classical style piece.
I realized that I'd have to take the approach of other guitarists, like McLaughlin, Demiola, Malmsteen and Vai and approach it like a concerto. This approach made sonic space for the guitar, so it didn't compete with or interfere with the orchestral resources. And it didn't always work when they did it.
Eventually, I got Garritan personal orchestra software, which was very good samples of orchestral instruments. I wrote a few melodies and started scoring orchestration. I started to record guitar along with it. It was unsatisfying. Often, it was frustrating. I compensated by making it a full fledged concerto form for electric guitar.
I started writing and planning virtuoso cadenzas and places to solo and shred with orchestral chord padding and punches. The further I got into the project, the more unsatisfying it got. So, I'd add another solo! I'd hit a dead end.
In the middle of this I realized I had a bnuch of good ideas, guitar licks and chops I should just use on another project. The compositional ideas are where a lot of the material on the Classical Guitar Sonatas CD came from. The licks and chops went into the Concert Electric Guitar CD.
The electric guitar concerto went on the back burner.
But I kept writing melodies and themes for it. Instead of going overboard with guitar solos and grandstanding cadenzas I decided to focus on long, flowing, romantic melodies. Melodies that were traditionally tonal, but also had angular and modal twists that I love; that are unmistakeably my individualistic style. I wrote and rewrote the melodies on score paper. I played them over and again on piano and as unaccompanied guitar pieces. I changed them a hundred times as I gradually molded them into the most solid, sturdy, beautiful, timeless melodies I could possibly create.
After working on and playing them for so long as multi-voiced pieces on solo guitar and piano, I also decided to focus on guitar harmonies.
That focus on long melodies and harmonies lead to an important breakthrough. I finally realized I should completely drop the orchestral instrumentation. I could orchestrate with the electric guitar. I decided the only instruments used would be electric guitar, bass and drums. I would create a multi-timbred symphony of electric guitars.
I've recorded demo ideas for it using many guitars and amps. But when it came time to really record it for posterity I decided every take of every track would be done with only one guitar and one amp: my red Fender Stratocaster and a Reason Amplifiers Bambino Combo. I used a Boss Overdrive for some of the lead lines to make them sing and punch more. I occasionally used a Dunlop Crybaby Wah for a lead line or chord swells to make them sound like horns or windwoods.
I started arranging themes with this approach explicitly in mind. I started to plan overall forms. I still liked the idea of a concerto, three movement overall form: bold intro, sad and slow middle, glorious ending. Since I'd already said what I wanted to say about shredding in the Concert Electric Gutiar CD, I'd gotten that out of my system. I kept the focus on melodies, forms, overall composition and squeezing every timbre necessary out of one guitar and one amp.
After the overall forms started shaping up, then I realized I needed a working title. So far, it had been "Electric Guitar Concerto 1". We went to NYC on vacation in the spring of 2012. I saw the Rockefeller Plaza art deco statues of the Titans Promethus and Atlas. I realized the music for my "concerto" was a good fit for my feelings about the Prometheus myth: fire-bringer, exiled, released.
This is not a musical telling of the stories, characters, plots of Shelley or Aeschylus. This is a musical piece that can represents the emotions I experience when reflecting on the Prometheus myth: the hero that represents the ascent of Man via reason, science, art; getting punished for his good deed; longing for justice and freedom; finally freeing himself and returning to his rightful place of being honored as a hero.
Some of these melodies date back to the 1990s. Most of them were slowly and carefully developed over the course of the last decade. Each guitar line was recorded and re-recorded at least 100 times, in order to get each take, note, phrase and timbre exactly right. Each entire movement was done as a demo, then deleted and redone from scratch three times. It was more difficult and demanding work than I've ever done for any other project. It was the most fun I ever had playing the guitar.
I hope you enjoy my Prometheus.