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#NewTuneThursday: “I Am Water” from Music for The Book of I

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

“I Am Water” represents the final scene in the novel, the moment when Teaston finally accesses peace by joining the prior Faces in Foam in the Water…

Throughout the movement you’ll hear passing snippets of previous themes, most impactfully that of Her Majesty (from The Elusive Everyman…)

I am in love with how rich and haunting this work is!! Enjoy the recording below!

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“I Am Water” can be performed by an intermediate ensemble. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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#NewTuneThursday: Faces in Foam

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

Today’s tune is our next track from “Music for The Book of I” — Faces in Foam, which is actually the opening track for the whole “Book of I” experience.

The woman sits at the edge of the cliff looking out to the sea…a daughter of North Africa perhaps. Her cheeks reflect olive light. She looks at me, carving her face in my memory…the step towards the rocky edge…I listen to the lines forming her face…I return to the melody still dancing in the air…
Lucio…had a delicate face…sharp angles, oblong eyes, and a classic Greek nose. I saw his face before the rocks disfigured him…he has the face of the forgotten… I try to paint him… I take a Renaissance approach, depicting him in a diaphanous light, like an angel…
I know those faces are…around me… They joined the sea because they had no other choice. Their faces are washed of past concerns. …If I…attempt to render them as ex-living people in my canvas, the white foam is quick to reclaim them. That is why all my canvases turn white–the frothy sea swallows them.

I knew several things when I started writing this track: I wanted to feature “the Olive Woman” with a pseudo-African or -Egyptian feel; I wanted to also feature the little, angelic, Greek boy Lucio; and tying it all together with the rest of the album, I wanted to create a Herrmann-esque wave of crashing drama that called forward to the central track, “I Know What Death Sounds Like.”

I love the “African” drive of the first part of the work. But I very much love the latter part–Lucio’s part. I tried to create an open, early Greek aesthetic with the intertwining lines of muted and plucked strings. And then, “Lucio himself” sings (in this recording it’s the wonderful voice of countertenor Caleb Barnes); it’s a haunting setting of the Alma Redemptoris Mater:

Sweet Mother of the Redeemer, the passage to the heavens,

The gate of the spirits of the dead, and the star of the sea, aid the falling.

Mother of Him who cares for the people, have pity on us sinners.

This final cry by Lucio just sums up the whole work beautifully as the “Faces” Teaston encounters get swallowed by the “Foam”… and we move forward into the rest of the story

Listen on Amazon Music
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This haunting work can be performed by an intermediate-advanced string orchestra with soloists and some percussion. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…

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#NewTuneThursday: Now Winter Nights Enlarge

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

Today’s tune continues the Christmasy-slash-Holidays edition of these four Thursdays in December.

I have to say I really love today’s tune! It’s sassy, medieval-feeling, and conveys the imagery of youthful revelry during holiday celebrations.

This work for SSA a cappella trio and hand percussion (rainstick, tambourine, and finger cymbals) is an exotic treatment of the 16th century poem of the same name by Thomas Campion. Moderately extended vocal techniques and microtones grant an almost Eastern or Indonesian flavor to the imagery of bacchanal youth during Wintertime Festivities.

Enjoy listening to it below….
Lyrics

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.

Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.

All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.

The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

“Now Winter Nights Enlarge” can be performed by an experienced ensemble with advanced ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our major holiday work of next week…

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Performing for the 4th Annual Chamber Festival

I’ve had the pleasure of performing in the ASTA Chamber Festival since its first year, in 2011, and it’s always been a delight.

This year I’ll get to perform with a student and regular “viola-ringer” of The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, as well as my good friend, Keith Buerger, joining us on percussion! We’ll be doing an arrangement of mine of Millennial Fair‘s version of Bart‘s musical theme from the game, “Xenogears.”

Come support us, and other great chamber music, at the ASTA Chamber Festival on January 11th. We’ll be going on stage shortly after 4pm, so don’t miss our awesome performance of “Balto”!