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.

This is a performance of the whole piece in a single YouTube movie.

And here it is broken up by movements.

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. Here's Geoffy playing it at Symphony Space.

#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. It's about a spider. Here's Geoff's premiere of it at the Tribeca Music Festival (where they think it is called Rango).

#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.