Saturday, November 8, 2014

Vocal music

See List of Compositions for a complete list of vocal music.

Musician (1990) is a setting of the poem of the same name by Louise Bogan. It was originally written for string orchestra with celesta, and this arrangement for voice, violin and piano was made for Judy Bettina. The violinist is Curtis Macomber, god-of-the-violin. (Dagnabbit, I don't think it breathes right)

I wrote Three Encores for Judy Bettina and Jim Goldsworthy in 1991. The first one is a simple vocalise. Sorry about the silly title.

The second one, below, is a scat piece which is, in its own weird way, an homage to Milton Babbitt's Phonemena.

The third one is a vocalist that takes a long, hot bath inside the world of Berg.

For Wittgenstein (1994) is the fifth song (of five) in the cycle Nothing But the Wind, written for Susan Narucki. The poem is by Joseph Duemer and was written specially for the cycle.

Georgic (2000) was written for Jim and Judy on a poem by Phillis Levin.

Three Songs on Poems of Louise Bogan was written in 1989 for Judy Bettina.

Concerti with chamber orchestra

Cerberus (1991-92) was written for Beth Wiemann, and is a triple concerto folding in another clarinet and bass clarinet occasionally turning into a mondo soloist. This is Beff with the Empyrean Ensemble. The movements are meant to be played attacca, so get your mouse ready ...

Locking Horns (2001) was commissioned by Sequitur for Daniel Grabois. Some of the movements are played attacca (IV & V) and some are not. The soloist plays only one note in the first movement (he got to leave the recording session early). Each movement begins with the same sequence of notes, and the harmony and melody at each movement's climax is the same. Because it was something I thought of.

Wind ensemble

Ten of a Kind (2000) was commissioned by "The President's Own" US Marine Band. The autogenerated YouTube movies below represent the commercial recording of the piece done in May, 2001. It's in four movements, in the order presented below.

Sibling Revelry (2004) is an arrangement of four "vernacular" piano études. It is a recent release by the Marine Band, who posted the recordings on YouTube. These are the four movements in order, followed by the original piano versions.

Cantina (2007) was commissioned by the Barlow Foundation when I won the Barlow Prize. The Marine Band recorded it in 2009 and editing finished in 2010, and the date of release, if any, is unknown. It has been posted on their website at least once.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Symphony #5

I want to write a full-length ballet. One of these days. So I thought I might use my position with the New England Philharmonic to try out some ideas for dance music. Thus, the boilerplate which follows:

Dance Episodes (Symphony No. 5) was written in the summer of 2013 and commissioned by the New England Philharmonic. I had intimated to the conductor, Dick Pittman, that I would like to try and write a few little short vignettes of maybe 3-4 minutes each for premiere by the orchestra in its 2013-14 season, and that the piece, to be called Dance Episodes, would be 10-12 minutes. But I liked the way the first movement was going and it needed a lot more space to grow, so it expanded, largely on its own but with my help, to eight minutes. The other movements got longer, too, and by the end of the summer I had a symphony of four movements rather than vignettes, and 24 minutes instead of 10-12. There was not enough rehearsal time scheduled for the whole piece, so the orchestra did just the first movement on its May 3, 2014 concert, and will premiere the whole thing on October 27 of 2014.

Here's the recording I got of the first movement, Zephyrs. Rather a fine performance with a few jitters toward the beginning. I started with the intention of letting things air out, have space, and breathe. About halfway through writing it, I no longer called it Lotsa Flutes, but Zephyrs. So it's airy. The piece is copyright © by CF Peters and is presented here with their permission.

The casual listener will note how the composer uses technique to mask a certain surfeit of content.

Now added later is the premiere performance by the NE Phil on October 25, 2014. The first movement here is the May performance, which doesn't have the strange noises in the recording that the October performance does. The third movement is pretty.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Préludes Book 5

Préludes Book V was begun in April 2014 and finished in March 2015. The title theme is that all titles are insects or animals translated into Italian.

#41 Mosca A nervous étude with a lot of tremolos and fast licks signifying a housefly.

#42 Scoiattolo To Amy Briggs. As a prélude with a number that is a multiple of 14, it uses music from the piano concerto I wrote for Amy, this from its third movement. The title means Squirrel, and the MIDI is sure a crapfest.

#43 Riccio A literal transcription of that hedgehog jazz Vine and straightforward "jazzi" development of the materials.

#44 Zanzara a fast and mercurial piece that was stolen from a song cycle that was being written at the time. The word means mosquito. Crappy midi below.

#45 Moscerino a fast and high antsy piece in the manner of gnats. Crappy midi below.

#46 Alce Americano an Americana stately bichordal chorale with big chords. It means American elk, which is the only way to say moose in Italian. I wrote it at Beff's suggestion, so that in this book I could  have moose and squirrel préludes.

#47 Uccello, with a lot of fast repetitive licks, bird chipping gestures, and chords whose notes are dampened one at a time, in a specifically notated rhythm.

#48 Ghepardo, in two large sections that start with pedal E's. For Sarah Bob, and named after her son's favorite animal, the cheetah. Crappy midi below.

#49 Ragno, a left-hand only prélude for Geoffrey Burleson. Here's the poopy MIDI.

#50 Gatto, a cool and slightly mercurial prélude framed by left-hand broken octaves. Here's a Finale MIDI without the swinging that is requested.

Friday, September 13, 2013


I wrote three flutudes for Mary Fukushima-Kirkendoll in 2008-9 — on tongue rams and simple beatboxing, on tongue pizzicati and keyslaps, and on harmonics. They are © by CF Peters.

This movie is a runthrough of the first flutude, Ram Tough, before a concert at the Firehouse Space in April 2012, with Mary playing. It certainly does rock. It can be played on flute or alto flute, and Mary uses alto flute so that the tongue rams part your hair rather than just sending a little breeze your way.

And here Mary is again, playing it on alto flute at the University of Oklahoma in November, 2013.

These are the first two flutudes. Recording is from the premiere.

Mary recorded Ram Tough on alto flute. Stay tuned. Then stop.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Préludes Book 4

The préludes in Book IV are all named after yoga poses. The préludes in the book copyright © by CF Peters, Edition 67829d.

Child's (#31) is named after child's pose and was written as a present to Amy Briggs in celebration of her new Schoenhut toy piano — something she will be using to work up Books VIII and IX of the 'tudes for recording. It is the one of this book that I can play. It's okay to play it on a 3-octave toy piano, harpsichord, celesta, piano, or any combination of those. Here's a SoundCloud thingie of it using a cheesefest of a celesta patch.

Extended Puppy (#32). Written for Blair McMillen to premiere at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in February 2014. The scheming for this one was by Sebastian Currier, who managed an honorarium to write it. Here's the crappisch Finale MIDI. Informal run-through in Princeton is here.

Cobra (#33) is a dialogue between two-hand tremolos and very fast lines in octaves that rise and terminate on long notes (probably signifying how you get into cobra pose or something like that).

King Pigeon (#34). To Tina Tallon. It's a piano piece I'll never be able to play named after a yoga pose I'll never be able to do. It is a true fact that pigeons love parallel fourths.

Tree (#35). What to do occurred to me while I was actually doing tree pose. It's an uneven ostinato around G with sprouts coming out of it, in a manner of speaking. I asked Amy Briggs to choose which pitch would be the tonic, and she chose G for Green. Finale sucks at doing the subtle accelerandos and rallentandos I notated, but so what?

Happy Baby (#36). For toy piano or piano or any keyboard instrument or electronic keyboard instrument or banjos or steel drum, etc. But especially for toy piano. This is really how it feels to do the pose, and what it's like listening to a happy baby play a toy piano.

Cow and Cat (#37) with lotsa upbeat grace note figures.

Scorpion (#38). The only scorpion I ever saw in person was a small black one that stayed in the same position in the Civitella Ranieri castle for a several hours before it just disappeared. Hence the unyielding ostinato. The rest is, well, the pose, and cheesy movie scorpions. Stabbing chords, etc., you know.

Corpse (#39). This is the rest pose at the end of a lot of yoga routines, on your back. Accordingly, your back has the tonic note D. And it's the only one in Book IV that I can play.

Downward Facing Dog (#40) is based on a series of downward moving lines, and "barking" chords.