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Behind the Scenes: Rehearsing “The Old Beggar-Woman”

Soprano Lauren Jorgenson and I got to get some rehearsal time in this morning, working on The Old Beggar-Woman from my upcoming Bros. Grimm Song Cycle ! Not too shabby so far…

The lesson here… when you see an old woman catch on fire, for god’s sake, put out the flames! ??

Come to our Modern Musicale on April 7 to hear us perform it!

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The Music Nerds! #6 – Setting Weird Lyrics

Enjoy this latest educational video, describing my thought processes on how I approach setting asymmetrical text to music as I work on finishing my Bros. Grimm Song Cycle!

Don’t forget you can check out the other videos in this series here!

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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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#NewTuneThursday: Fair Katrinelje

Welcome to #NewTuneThursday!

I have a definite fondness for this week’s tune. “Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie” was originally composed in 2008, during my years of graduate study. It was part of a general, semester project, with the requirement that we each compose an original work for soprano, flute, cello, and piano. I’ve always had a thin for Stravinsky, and I had recently run across a darling little work of his for soprano and piano, called “The Owl and the Pussycat.” So, combining the idea of that song with my love for the Bros. Grimm and other such tales, “Fair Katrinelje” was born!

Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie is a comedic dialogue. Our hero, Pif-Paf-Poltrie, is out to seek the hand of his beloved, the Fair Katrinelje, in marriage. Being the gentleman that he is, he approaches in turn each member of his beloved’s family to ask their permission. Father Hollenthe, Mother Malcho, Brother High-and-Mighty, and Sister Käsetraut all respond in turn similarly –
essentially, “If it’s all right with everyone else, it’s all right with me.”

Later on, I had an opportunity to set another Bros. Grimm tale, “The Old Beggar-Woman,”  for soprano and violin. So, my ultimate goal (which I hope to accomplish very soon) is to include these two songs in a longer song cycle, featuring 5 more tales set to music that features the soprano and is accompanied by rotating accompaniment of piano, cello, flute, and violin (think, “Quartet for the End of Time“…)

This amazing work can be played by anyone with advanced ability. Get the sheet music here! And stay tuned for our featured work next week…

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Introducing… “Of Roses and Lilies”

At last, the epic song for Soprano, Women’s Chorus, Soprano Recorder, English Horn, Piano, and String Orchestra is COMPLETE! And joins the ranks of the four new pieces I’ve completed this year alone, interestingly enough…. :mrgreen:

A little history: This work was actually first written approximately back in 2002 or 2004 or so. It was originally only for soprano, piano, and two-part women’s chorus. But it hadn’t sat well with me, as it just didn’t quite communicate all the powerful potential that it could… So, after “doodling” around with it for a bit in the interim, I finally settled on the instrumental forces listed above, and from then on I ran ahead with full momentum and excitement, seeing it through to its glorious finish!

Enjoy the rough demo recording below, and look forward to future performances and proper recordings of it in the near future! 😉

Read the Lyrics here!

Title Page_Roses-Lilies

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Hooray! Got more done on “Of Roses and Lilies” today!!

I worked out the (typically complicated) chord structure/progressions and the finished piano part for the middle “bridge-like” section (that comes next after where the present demo recording ends)…. Thus, with the framework now finished, I can finish orchestrating that section next… Then that means, I’m at least 2/3rds of the way done with the piece!!!!

It’s taking on a BEAUTIFUL shape!! I can’t wait to share it when I’m done!!!!

Title Page_Roses-Lilies

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Had a really productive evening; got the creative

Had a really productive evening; got the creative juices flowing again (now that we’re all finally settled into our new place and everything)!

I started organizing and solidifying my work toward finishing an old score of mine with lots of potential: “Of Roses and Lilies” … It’s been given a new breath of fresh air tonight, with a re-conceptualization of its forces: soprano solo, with SSA chorus, piano, string orchestra, english horn, and soprano recorder!!! It’ll be epic and sweet! Can’t wait to see it unfold at last! 🙂Title Page_Roses-Lilies