When I came to Budapest in the summer of 2000, I brought along a catalog containing a substantial repertoire of serious, experimental music - the experimental tradition being one less of shared style than of attitude -, some sound installations, uncounted pieces of juvenalia and incidental music - most of which had unambiguous relationships to real, historical repertoire - and a newly-completed opera for handpuppets, in which  historical musical topoi were the direct objects of my experiments.  In general, I am unconvinced of the value of worklists in the estimation of a composer:  it's the individual work with which the listener is confronted to which (s)he attends, and the utility, character, and value of an individual work can often be radically at odds with the other works in a composer's catalog.  Too often, a composer of an extraordinary piece of music will be discounted as "uneven" on the basis of the balance of her catalog, to my mind both a findamental misperception and an unfairness.   Nevertheless, worklists often serves in the real world as track records with which judgements and prognoses of value or talent are made and with which commissions, stipends, and academic stools are granted.  Track records are invaluable for preparing a bet on thorough-breds, choosing a stock broker, or re-electing a Senator, but new music is neither horse racing, nor securities trading, nor electoral politics.  As a marketplace, it is insignificant; and the combinations of taste, talent, imagination, and material circumstances that are brought into an individual work of music are - at their best - unpredictable.    I have a strong distaste for the market-competitive flavor surrounding the common uses of a worklist and fear, in many cases, that under these conditions, composerly identities tend to ossify in the image defined by the worklist. This is not productive of new musical experiences.   

One of the central projects of these years in Hungary has been a search for a way of characterizing my work, or more precisely, how I think- and go- about my work. The object is to get away from the rigid and linear worklist concept and move towards a description that is both more flexible and accurate.   The map below is one product of that search, and as such a product very much in process. As time goes on, I want to tinker some more with the structure and content, and to expand it, with definitions of my oft-idiosyncratic terminology and links to real sounds promised.

Daniel Wolf
November 2004

My music