Monday, August 27, 2012

Choral

Sonnet 22 (1976). Yes, I wrote it when I was 18 and the text is Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This is not a movie, but it does represent the all the choral music I've ever written. I've added mucho reverb because that seems to be the thing that kids do nowadays; and you can tell the 18-year-old author really liked Hindemith's Six Chansons. It's the Brandeis U Chamber Singers conducted by Jim Olesen, in the spring of 2008.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Solo instrumental

When the Bow Breaks (2000) for solo violin, in four movements:

I. Introduction
II. Passacaglia
III. Chorale Around the Open Strings
IV. I Dreamed I Was Chasing My Own Tail

The performance was by Drew Williams at Ravinia on a concert of the Fresh Inc. Festival in June, 2012. He kills it. My piece steals from the Stravinsky Violin Concerto by starting each movement with the same tag — the passacaglia movement's theme is the lower notes of that tag. Published by CF Peters, Edition 67871.



And here is Drew doing a preview performance at Carthage College just a little before (I: 0:25; II: 2:52; III: 5:10; IV: 8:09).



Drew is memorizing the piece now (Nov 2012), and blogging about it.

Luccicare for 'cello solo. Written for Rhonda Rider in June, 2010 for her Grand Canyon project, in which composers found musical inspiration in specific themes suggested by the Grand Canyon. I chose water. This is the recording she made on MSR Classics.



Here's Herine Coetzee Koschak's performance of it in March, 2014.




Flutudes (2008,9) for Mary Fukushima. Here is the premiere of the first two. I don't have a recording of the third one. Mary has recorded them, with Ram Tough on alto flute. Yowza!

They also have their own entry here.




Elegy is an arrangement of the solo piano piece Sara (2002) made by Carson Cooman. It is published by CF Peters, Edition 68131a. This performance is by Alexander Lane.



The Squeaky Wheel (1998) was written so Beff could have a piece to demonstrate her E-flat clarinet (she had pieces for her other clarinets) to groups of students. I said no, until I thought of the title. This is Beff.





Junctures (1978) is juvenilia, but is a real hoot. This is the premiere performance by Julie Soloway on the Aeolian-Skinner organ of the Church of the Advent in Boston, the hardware for which is was written.



Solo hand drum pieces played by Michael Lipsey are here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Préludes Book II

Préludes Book II was started in November, 2011 and finished in August, 2012. The book is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 68329b. All the préludes in Book II are titled Mind the Gap because why not?

So far only #15 has been performed. Until others have been performed and recorded, all of them except #17 are represented here by Finale MIDI. #17 is represented by John Mackey's Disklavier.

#11 Mind the Gap (Swift, not too heavy). The opening came from a lick I improvised while teaching a composition lesson.



#12 Mind the Gap (Fast and wild). In a way, a response to, and drastic recomposition of my own Sliding Scales by slowing down and speeding back up in the middle instead of just getting harder and harder.



#13 Mind the Gap (Poco ubriaco). Ubriaco is Italian for drunk. 'Nuf said. If you like drunk fugatos, you should probably look elsewhere, but there's one in this piece, too.



#14 Mind the Gap (Vivo). To Amy Briggs. A recasting and reframing of the stride piano material from the cadenza of my second piano concerto.



#15 Mind the Gap (Dirty and intense; cattivoculo; mikronomically). For Geoffrey Burleson.  Taking off on the beginning of the finale of my own Mikronomicon.



#16 Mind the Gap (Sostenuto). A pair of fughettas on material that speeds up.



#17 (a prime number) Mind the Gap (Cazzo presto). To John Mackey. Video made by John on his disklavier. During the performance, you'll see John playing with his cat Loki in the reflections.



#18 Mind the Gap (Crisply and stridely). For Sarah Bob. A recomposing and recasting of some material from my own Stolen Moments, whose pianist Sarah was in BMOP's recording of the piece.



#19 Mind the Gap (Of two minds). To Augusta Read Thomas. The intrusive repeated-note motive turned out to be very much like a fanfare motive in a Gusty piece, so I dedicated the piece to her.



#20 Mind the Gap (With precision, grodiness, and wild eyes). Yet another variant of the Davy broken octaves thing.





Instrumental ensemble music

Natura Morta (2015) for piano quartet was commissioned by Network for New Music. This is the premiere from April 17, 2016.



Compass (2010) was commissioned by a consortium of ten saxophone quartets, led especially by Taimur Sullivan of the Prism Quartet, who premiered it in New York and Philadelphia in June, 2011. It was entirely written at Yaddo in November, 2010. This is a performance by the h2 quartet at Cortona Sessions in June, 2012.



Same great performance, same audio, different video feed.




Here is Prism doing the first movement at the Philadelphia Settlement School in April, 2017.




Talking Points (Right Wing Echo Chamber) was written in the summer of 2010 and commissioned by the Orchestra of the League of Composers. It was written for Fred Sherry, the cello soloist in this video. This is the only multi-camera movie of music of mine I've encountered, and alas, the side camera shots aren't synced with the music.



Talking Points (Right Wing Echo Chamber) - David Rakowski from Manhattan New Music Project on Vimeo.

Mikronomicon was written in May to August of 2009 and commissioned by Boston Musica Viva. It is a micro-piano concerto written specifically for Geoff Burleson, so the jazzy of the first movement and the funky of the last are all about him and his playing. The title is a hybrid of microconcerto and necronomicon — obviously Beff and I were channeling Army of Darkness when we were coming up with a title for the piece.



I wrote Exact Change in December 2011 for Mary Fukushima and Jeff Loeffert (also known as the Loeffert-Fukushima Duo). I hemmed and hawed for a while, not thinking I could do much with the combination of flute and soprano sax, but they are both such fabulous musicians, it turns out that there was nothing to have been worrying about. The two movements are called Heads and Tails, and the sequence of performance determined by a coin flip. Exact Change is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 68386.







Here are both movements filmed separately in an awesome performance by James Barger and Helen Blackburn in April, 2015.






Here are Heather Jost and Lauren Armstrong playing it on a junior recital at Lawrence University in 2013.




Here is the recording, auto-generated by YouTube.





Hyperblue is the first of my three piano trios, commissioned by the Fromm Foundation for the Itzkoff-Shapiro-Rider Trio. I wrote it in 1991-93 -- which is to say I wrote a bunch, threw it all out, wrote some more, didn't know what to do next, and finished it in a whirlwind when a March 1993 premiere was set. The movements are played attacca, but you know.









Attitude Problem was written for the Triple Helix Trio in 1995-96. This trio was formed out when Gerry Itzkoff left town and Bayla Keyes replaced him on violin in the trio for whom Hyperblue was written. Again, the movements are played without pause. The first movement got a severe haircut after the premiere.








Sesso e Violenza for two flutes, piano, percussion, and string trio was written in 1995-96 at the American Academy in Rome and was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation for ensemble 21. The title simply states that I think of low flute as sexy and high flute as violent. As was so often the case at this time, the movements are to be performed attacca.





Two Can Play That Game (1995) for bass clarinet and marimba was written for Peter Josheff and a duo he was about to form. I wrote it at the American Academy in Rome, my first fun piece to write since finishing a 'cello concerto that I now dislike. This is Amy Advocat and Matt Sharock, who seem to have no upper limit, at the Somerville Theater. © by CF Peters, of course.





Gli Uccelli di Bogliasco (2006) for flute/piccolo and two pianos. This is not a movie, but Mike Kirkendoll put the recording of the premiere on his SoundCloud page, so here it is. Mary Fukushima plays flute and piccolo, and the pianists are Mike and Nathanael May.




Also not a movie, the first movement of a flute and piano piece called Firecat from 1994 (the title is from a Wallace Stevens poem Earthy Anecdote). Mike and Mary Fukushima (the duo of DuoSolo) learned it, and it sure is hard and sure does have a lot of notes.



Cell'Out is a piece for four 'celli, written for Rhonda Rider and her constellation, that outgrew its moorings. Here is the second movement played by eleven 'cellos (one of them Rhonda) at Music from Salem.



Disparate Measures (2006) is a piano quintet written for the Stony Brook Contemporary Players. Totally written at Yaddo, and the first movement responds to the Great Blue Herons I saw flying close to the windows of my studio daily. The other two movements don't.



Take Jazz Chords, Make Strange (1998) was written for the Lydian String Quartet, and to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Brandeis University. Since I wrote it for free, I added clarinet so Beff could play it, get paid, and at least some fundage flow into the family coffers. It is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67823.




Here is another performance of Take Jazz Chords, Make Strange from the early 21st century.



Inside Story (2005) is my third piano trio, and was written for Curt Macomber's trio at his festival in Vermont with Norm Fischer and Jeanne Kierman. I wrote the first movement just as we got new kittens, so their playing and jumping around is portrayed therein. This performance is Speculum Musicæ.



AhChim AnGae (2009) was written for the Pacific Rim Music Festival, and is for haegeum (Korean fiddle) and string trio. This is the performance at Brandeis with members of the Del Sol Quartet. The title is Korean for "morning fog".



Diverti (1991) for clarinet and piano. The "perky" movement, called Per Che, was written for Beff and Geoff to play at Spencer high school. The movements that precede it, Pourquoi and Warum, were added to round out the set. All the movements are built around the motto B-E-F-F, which opens the piece. Published by CF Peters, Edition 67542. This is Beff with Sandra Sprecher.



Stolen Moments (2008) commissioned by Merkin Hall as a response to jazz. Original performers were the Lark Chamber Artists, Zephyros Winds and Tony de Mare. This is the University of Indiana New Music Ensemble in October, 2014 conducted by David Dzubay.



Dances in the Dark (1996, 1998). Suite from a children's ballet. This is NYNME.

Étude-Fantasies

Étude-Fantasies was commissioned by the Music Teachers Association of California. The terms were for an intermediate level piece, suitable for piano students aged 10 to 13. It is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 68307.

I was brought to the MTAC's convention in Los Angeles in 2010 to coach the piano students who had learned the piece, and also to speak to composers. Three duos of young pianists raging in age from 8 to 16 had learned the Étude-Fantasies, and I talked while they played and people watched. Two of the duos, together with my antics, made it on to YouTube, thus.





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Études Book X

Book X is the only one of the étude books to be the last one. No matter how hard they try (and they aren't), none of the other ones will ever be last. Although, temporarily, at one time all of them were. It was started in June 2009 in Maynard, Massachusetts, and finished in June, 2010 in Burlington, Vermont. As they say in submarines, woo hoo!

Book X is, unsurprisingly, published and © by CF Peters.


#91 Whole Lotta Shakin' (on tremolos)

#92 You Blew It (étude with melodica) At Geoffrey Burleson. Alexander Lane supplied the title.




#93 Polkritude (polka étude) To Jim Ricci. Jim blogged about wanting to write a modernist polka. So I did, too.



This is a demo of Polkritude that Amy made before our June 2014 recording sessions. The sound leaves a lot to be desired. But she does take the repeats, and Mary doesn't.



#94 Knocksville (knocking and hitting étude) At Harold Meltzer.

#95 Flit (on uneven repeated notes and swirls) For I-Chen Yeh.



#96 Double Cross (cross accents) The name came from Adam Marks as the winner of a title sweepstakes on Facebook. Here's Finale MIDI.




#97 Quietude (dominant seventh chords) To Augusta Read Thomas. Here's Amy Briggs doing it at the AAAL in a recording session.




Here is Kathy Lee performing it at Indiana University.



This is Kara Huber performing it in Toronto.




#98 Mosso (fast arpeggios in both hands) To Geoffrey Burleson. And taking off on Chopin's "ocean wave" étude.

#99 Mano War (irregular hand alternation) MIDI below. 




#100a Erdnußbutter on chromatic scales.
#100b Cioccolato on crescendo/diminuendo repeated chords.

#100 Two Great Tastes — Erdnußbutter and Cioccolato played at the same time.

Études Book IX

Book IX was started in October, 2007 and finished in March, 2009. It is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928i.


#81 Kai'n Variation (diatonic scale fragments) For Kai Schumacher. Kai asked a bunch of composers worldwide to write variations on a theme he wrote himself, and performed them all as a set. His theme begins this video.



#82 F This (one note) to Marilyn Nonken and Ken Ueno. One of Marilyn's students had asked her if anyone of note had written a one-note piano piece, she asked me, I said Ken would know, and Ken's response was that there wouldn't be one until I wrote it. So ... I did.



#83 M'Aidez (escaping arpeggios) For Nathanael May. The title is a pun on his name.



#84 What's Hairpinning (dynamic swells and simple polyrhythms)



#85 Diminishing Return (fading repeated notes) This one was written in Italy at Civitella Ranieri when I had no ideas, at first, for the big piece I'd hoped to write there. Another of my favorites.



This is Amy Briggs's performance in a recording session at the AAAL.




Here is Kathy Lee playing it in a dress rehearsal at Indiana University.



Here is Kathy's performance from that night.



#86 Prog Springs Eternal (prog rock) To Rick Moody and Geoffrey Burleson. This was a challenge from Rick Moody that had us both scratching our heads until I talked with Geoff about it, after which I had a clear idea of what I could do.



#87 Berceuse (five-finger étude for piano, toy piano, or piano and toy piano) To Rick Moody, Amy Osborn, and Hazel Jane.





Here's Karl Larson's performance of it from a recording session at Bowling Green State, with piano in the left hand and toy piano in the right.




#88 Toyed Together (étude with toy piano) Here's Amy playing through it, at her house.




#89 This Means Warble (on two-note warbling figures) MIDI below. Inspired by the chippy sounds of winter birds. Which I noticed one cold January afternoon as I was cleaning bird poop from my front porch, as a winter bird had made its home in the front porch light. This is the recording of it on Bridge.




#90 Solid Goldie (étude on G-C-H in search of a lullaby). For Marilyn Nonken and Goldie Celeste. Goldie is Marilyn's first daughter, and has the initials G-C-H; it quotes the Brahms lullaby because why not?



This is Amy Briggs performing it at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in a recording session.

Études Book VIII

Begun in February, 2006 and finished June, 2007 at Yaddo. Published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928h.


#71 Chase (étude for piano with celesta) For Donald Berman and commissioned by the Argosy Foundation.  This is Amy Briggs, wearing a GoPro camera, playing it for a take in a recording session at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.




This is Don playing it.



#72 Dorian Blue (on two-hand flourishes) For Donald Berman and commissioned by the Argosy Foundation. This is Don playing.



And this is Amy Briggs reading through it (a provisional performance) at her place.



#73 Heavy Hitter (fortissimo) For Michael Kirkendoll. It takes off on some of the licks from the cadenza of my Piano Concerto, and it was Mike's idea!



#74 Not (talking pianist étude). For Adam Marks and using a text written by Rick Moody. This is Amy doing it during a recording session at the AAAL, and obviously having fun. Rick Moody was in the audience.



#75 Twilight (melodic thirds) and quoting the Zwielicht song from Schumann's Op. 39. It's a strange piece, and this is a demo recording Amy made before she recorded it in June 2014.




#76 Clave (on the clave rhythm) For Geoffrey Burleson.



#77 Ecco Eco (echo étude) For Corey Hamm. Here Amy plays it at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



#78 Upon Reflection (slow mirror étude) to Michael Kirkendoll. The two hands exactly mirror each other. This is a demo that Amy made before she recorded the piece in June 2014.




#79 Narcissitude (fast mirror étude) to Michael Kirkendoll. For most of the piece, the left hand is the exact mirror inversion of the right hand, and one sixteenth note later. Here's Amy at the AAAL again.



This is Kathy Lee playing it at a dress rehearsal at Indiana University. For this one, I filmed the inside rather than the Kathy.




This is Kathy's performance that night.



#80 Fireworks (arpeggio étude) and blatantly stealing from Debussy's prelude feux d'artifice.



Here's Karl's SoundCloud from a 2012 performance at Bowling Green State.

Études Book VII

Started in May, 2004 in Maynard, Massachusetts and finished in January, 2006 at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928g.


#61 Ménage a droit (right hand) To Amy Briggs. The title is from Rick Moody. It is a fair question whether or not the page turner in the video is actually needed.



#62 Name That Turn (turns) The title came from Hillary Zipper.



#63 Killer B's (B pedal)





#64 A Third in the Hand (arpeggiated thirds)



#65 Rick's Mood (major triads) To Rick Moody. The result of a double challenge: he had to write a rhyming poem and I had to write a piece using only major triads.



#66 Less Is (minimalist étude on chord-building). To Rick Moody.



This is Amy's Bridge recording of it.



#67 Ain't Got No Right (left hand only). This is Geoff Burleson's performance of it at the 2015 Tribeca New Music festival.



This is Amy Briggs's recording on Bridge.



#68 Absofunkinlutely (funk) To Rick Moody, whose idea it was. After a climax, there is a bar that can be repeated 3 to 7 times. Amy takes it to the max.



Here Kara Huber plays it at the World Piano Competition in June, 2014, and she takes it to the max, too. Nice framing music.



Here's Kara Huber again, a year later, in a private recording session in Toronto.



#69 Palm de Terre (clusters)



#70 Stutter Stab (sharp dynamic contrasts). A personal favorite.

Études Book VI

Begun in Maynard, Massachusetts in January, 2003 and finished in Maynard in July. Published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928f.


#51 Zipper Tango (tango-étude on grace notes) For Amy Briggs. Amy asked both Beff and me to write tangos for her tango project. We bought two CDs of tangos and listened to them, and did our thang. Of the hundred 'tudes, this one might have been the hardest to write.



#52 Moody's Blues (rock and roll) to Rick Moody. Stuck on a piece, I asked Rick for an étude idea. This is what I wrote.









There's no movie of Mike Kirkendoll's performance of Moody's Blues, but he put it onto his SoundCloud page, so I share herewith.



#53 Cell Division (treble arpeggios) a response to the sounds my even-then-ancient cell phone made when turned off and on.



#54 Pedal to the Metal (pedaling) To Rick Moody, whose idea it was.



#55 Eight Misbehavin' (slow octave étude) For Amy Osborn. After the opening of the slow movement of the Brahms E-flat clarinet sonata.



This is Kara Huber doing it in Toronto.



#56 Crazy Eights (octaves and black key/white key separations)



#57 Chord Shark (slow étude on thick chords) for Corey Hamm. After Brahms Op. 116 Nr. 6.



#58 Wound Tight (fast chords) for Corey Hamm.



#59 Zeccatella (staccato-legato) for Amy Briggs. Amy suggested the idea, and I got a tick embedded in me at Yaddo while I was writing it. Geoff Burleson named it, using the Italian word for tick, as in a dance from one infected with a tick bite.



#60 Accents of Malice (accents) Beff named this one. I had a severe summer cold when writing it, and my coughing jags make it into the piece. Amy's cat Ranjith has a cameo role in the video.

Études Book V

This was my first big compositional project for the fall of my first full year sabbatical at Brandeis. Accordingly, I wrote all ten consecutively, and only came up for air once (or at least I'm told I did). I started the Book in late August of 2002 and finished it in late October.

This is the only commissioned book. It was commissioned by the Fromm Foundation, which helped offset some of the salary I was foregoing in order to take the whole year off. It's published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928e.

#41 Bop It (piano bop) for Geoffrey Burleson. Once Geoff found out I'd written a stride 'tude, he wanted a bop one.



#42 Madam I'm Adam (palindromes) A compositional challenge I'd wanted to try for years.



#43 Wiggle Room (fast notes moving in parallel) for Amy Briggs. Amy suggested writing one taking off on the texture of the C minor prelude of the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier.







#44 Triaddled (triads and polytriads)



#45 Pink Tab (accelerando-ritenuto) I had dreamed the title Pink Tab for a piece, and here's where I used it. The title seems to be a drug reference, and who says it's not?



#46 Durchrauscht die luft (sevenths) The title is a phrase from one of the Liebeslieder Waltzes, meaning darting through the air.



#47 Fra diabolis (tritones) With this one I had composed études on all possible intervals. At least the ones that customarily fit under the hand.



#48 What Half-Diminishes One (Half-Diminishes All) (half-diminished seventh chords) To Eric Chafe.



#49 Saltimmano (finger pedaling) at Amy Briggs's suggestion. The title is a variation on the saltimbocca dish in Italy, meaning "jumps in mouth". This means jumps in hand.



#50 No Stranger to Our Planet (register shifts)

Études Book IV

Book IV of the études was started in Maynard, Massachusetts in December, 2000 and finished in Maynard in July of 2002. The Book is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928d.

#31 Usurpation (on a slow trill) written to commemorate my colleague Marty Boykan's 70th birthday, and it quotes two passages from his second piano sonata.



#32 Boogie Ninths (on ninths) probably one of the hardest ones. This is from the Bridge CD in an auto-generated YouTube video.



#33 Sliding Scales (scales) for Marilyn Nonken









#34 Chorale Fantasy (on an embedded melody) a kind of hide-and-seek piece where the "melody" isn't always at the top, and is notated in larger noteheads.





#35 Luceole (rising seconds and thirds) for Amy Briggs. The title means "fireflies" in Italian, which were copious at the MacDowell Colony when I was writing it.



#36 Purple (on a chord — Amy's favorite) for Amy Briggs. This is the first 'tude with metric modulations.





#37 Taking the Fifths (on fifths) for Amy Briggs. This is one of my personal favorites, which makes one of us.



This is a live performance in 2009 by Gregory de Turck.



This is a performance by Emily Chapman in 2010.



#38 Silent But Deadly (pianissimo) to Shehan B. Dissanayake (whose name has the same acronym). The title was Amy's idea.



#39 Sixth Appeal (sixths)



#40 Strident (stride piano) for Amy Briggs. Thus did genre become fair game as the subject of a 'tude. We were having heat advisories when I was writing this piece, thus I imagined I was writing it in New Orleans. Which makes no sense, because stride is a New York style.

Études Book III

Begun August, 1999 in Bangor, Maine. Finished January 2000 at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928c.


#21 Twelve-Step Program (chromatic scales and wedges). Title from Jay Eckardt. Written memory of Earl Kim.



This is Sung-Soo Cho's recording of it on Albany Records.




#22 Schnozzage (using the nose) The nose part can also be played by an extremely well-trained pet.



This is Amy's recording of it on Bridge.



#23 You Dirty Rag (melody in the left thumb)



#24 Horned In (horn fifths) for David Horne.




#25 Fists of Fury (using fifths) for Marilyn Nonken.

















#26 Once Bitten (mordents)



#27 Halftone (black key-white key étude)




#28 You've Got Scale (scales and arpeggios) for Teresa McCollough. Here Youkyoung Kim plays it.




This is Amy Briggs playing it in Chicago, in the dark ages of analog video.



#29 Roll Your Own (rolled chords) for Jason Eckardt, whose title idea it was.





#30 A Gliss is Just a Gliss (glissandi). This is Amy Briggs in 2001.




This is Kara Huber in 2015!



This is Sung-Soo Cho's recording on Albany Records.