In the course of teaching my “History of Technology in Music” class at Cal Poly Pomona, I was alerted to the fact that the music department actually has an old Musicwriter typewriter lying around!! Many thanks to our department technician who retrieved it for me!
Now enjoy a small walk down History Lane and check out this cool bit of mid-20th century music tech!
(PS: if you like the background music, it’s track #3 on this album.)
This original work…creatively weaves the beloved Amazing Grace melody in and out of a second original tune titled “In the Forest,” evoking a meditative and melancholy sense of wandering and reflection, as if hidden from the outside world.
This string quartet was composed in 2011 at the request of Danielle Rosaria Cummins. The piece (as only “In the Forest”) existed originally as an unfinished sketch for solo piano, started some years prior. When I was requested to compose a quick-and-dirty string quartet arrangement of the traditional Amazing Grace for a formal fundraising banquet being held in two days, I decided to take this old sketch of “In the Forest” and turn it into this present string quartet.
Enjoy the performance of this haunting little work below!
Today’s tune is our first foray into the works created for “Music for The Book of I“… Presenting “Solitude’s Hypocrisy”!
Back in 2014, I was approached by author Jorge Armenteros to create a 50-minute album of “musical response” works to be released with the debut of his novel, The Book of I.
The Book of I is the story of Teaston, a painter struggling with schizophrenia, who finds himself at the edge of a cliff, at the edge of his life. Set in the seaside village of Cassis, in the south of France, the novel explores our fragmented human nature through the distorted lens that Teaston provides.
I had a huge blast working on this whole project! Jorge specifically loves the violin and wanted music centered on the haunting sounds of strings. So most of the music I created is for various combinations of string ensemble.
Today’s particular tune, however, was intended to be simple, raw, and heart-breaking. It remains one of my favorite tunes… “Solitude’s Hypocrisy” is a reflection of our main character’s turmoil that he finally succumbs to near the end of the novel… In it, Jorge Armenteros writes:
The ever-shifting world throws me into a lonely corner when I need someone. And when I crave solitude, my skull lets everybody into my mind… when I could almost touch Phillipy, he jumped…Even Camila, walking away from me when I need her most.
Reading this, I knew I had to incorporate the themes belonging to both Phillipy and Camila, which I had already composed. And, of course, both characters’ themes had to strike a much darker and more sombre tone in this combined “reprise” of sorts.
And, as it happened, Jorge had requested that I have one of the album’s tracks ready slightly ahead of schedule, so that he could play it at a reading he was giving — I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to present this intimate and heart-felt little work; I realized that constructing it for one violin and one guitar would perfectly fit the bill!
In the recently re-released “Existential Edition”, the recording of “Solitude’s Hypocrisy” holds a special place in my heart. Here, I was able to play the tune with my first composition teacher, Peter Yates. I just love the clear sincerity and “edge” present in our somewhat impromptu performance. 🙂
Enjoy this special recording of “Solitude’s Hypocrisy”!
Composed for Ryan M. Luévano and the Neue World Orchestra Project, the 2002 string quartet “Greek Dance” has found new life as a driving work for string orchestra!!! I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to revisit this old little gem of a work! 🙂
Enjoy the digital demo below, and check out NWOP’s first concert on March 10 to hear the debut performance!
For your convenience and artistic variety, the original Celtic tune “Gleann Na Aes Sídhe (Glen of the Faeries)” is now available for solo fiddle and piano! Get the duo sheet music here, and enjoy the demo video below!
Let’s ring the bells for today’s new tune, since the New Year is just around the corner!
“Resplendence” is a five-and-a-half minute long work for 3.5 octave handbell choir. Composed in 2014, I used the opportunity to experiment with various sorts of combinatoriality (I really dig playing with aggregates!). I found that bells are a great way to experiment with such serialism because, like with a piano, the pitches are definite; the players can’t tweak them. And the resonant quality of the bells gives off such a glorious shower of shimmering sound!
Unfortunately no group has tackled this piece yet (but that may change in the coming year…) and, also unfortunately, no midi sound package I have access to contains all 3.5 octaves or bells. So in this recording, you’ll hear some piano with the bells… Use your imagination and envision the full handbell choir covering all those notes…
**And seriously, if you know of an advanced handbell group that might be interested in playing this piece for the first time (A World Premier!) hit me up! 🙂
Enjoy listening to the demo below…
“Resplendence” can be performed by an experienced ensemble with advanced ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our new work of next week…
This little song for mezzo-soprano, string quartet, and piano was written back in 2002. I recall originally composing its melody and words by hand while on one of my music tours (“Pittsburgh Melody” was another such song, written while we were, quite literally, driving through Pittsburgh…).
In 2003 I took a chance and entered “Face in the Moonlight” into that year’s BMI John Lennon Song Writing Contest and surprised and thrilled to find that it was selected as a State Finalist Winner! It was certainly a boost of encouragement to me. 🙂 Likewise, some years later, a friend of mine who was acting as a missionary in Israel wrote me a note to let me know that she had introduced her congregation to this song, and that it had become a favorite.
I hope you also find enjoyment, listening to this charming tune. 🙂
“Face in the Moonlight” can be performed by anyone with intermediate ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our featured work next week…
This week’s tune is a bit of a “blast from the past.” Back in 1998, one of the earliest “commissions” I did was a short string trio (violin, viola, and cello) for a colleague’s students. Back in those days, I composed everything I did by hand, with only staff paper and pencil. This little trio was called, “The Dove,” and it had been performed by a couple student groups over the years.
Later, in 2001, I wrote out (also by hand) a darling little piano tune I called, “The Old Music Box.” I was so in love with it that I’d play it any chance that I got to be near a piano — these were definitely the years of my Yanni and George Winston phase. XD
As time went on, I decided to couple the two works together, utilizing all of the instruments involved to reinforce and add color to the whole thing. Thus, “Falada” was born!
Together, this work for piano and string trio evokes the mood of a storyteller weaving ancient tales that remind the listener of humankind’s shared history.
This charming melody can be played by anyone with intermediate ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our featured work next week…