Whatever David Gilmour’s thoughts were during the creative process, Pink Floyd’s instrumental composition “Terminal Frost” (1988) is expressive — in its musical narrative — of the arc of a man’s life over its natural stages.
The piece begins tentatively, evoking the delicate trials of childhood with each instrument testing its power. Virile youth bursts on recklessly at 2:00 and its harmonies crescendo at 2:45 with the saxophone solo. Those are a man’s best years, the intersection of peak strength and emergent maturity. Some give up at twenty. Donald Trump’s peak years are right now, at seventy.
By 3:10, reflections toward wisdom begin but there is much more left to be done. Reaching his contemplative years, a man asks himself: did I give the important things everything I had? And what more can I do? After 4:20 the amplitude ebbs, yet the instruments are as familiar as they were at the beginning. Then the strains settle toward contemplation and peace, until shortly ahead of judgment only soft echoes remain.