Posts by Composer-In-Residence:

    What’s the secret?

    March 21st, 2015

    No Comments "

    Wind Ensemble

    March 10th, 2015

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    “The Musical Ensemble of the Future” from Michael Colgrass’s blog “A Composer’s Adventures”

    I have admired Michael Colgrass’s music since I was a junior in high school in 1976. I had discovered a recording in the local library of his orchestra work as quiet as and also heard it on the radio not long after. I also xeroxed the score to his woodwind quintet while at summer music camp at University of Illinois. Coincidently, when I performed Westside Story in high school I discovered Colgrass’s signature in the percussion book while nosing around.

    I was involved in wind ensembles as early as 15 as a clarinetist. The last time I performed in a wind ensemble was about ten years ago performing Stravinsky’s Symphony for Winds. When I was a young composer of 18 in 1978 I composed a 12 minute piece titled Rainbow for a wind ensemble with a large percussion section at Northern Illinois University. It was a challenging piece but the performer’s hard work brought about a good performance and an even better recording that opened many doors for me. However, I didn’t find an interest by other wind ensembles back then. Perhaps the situation has changed. I’ll explore.

    Here’s a brief clip of a more transparent section of Rainbow from 1978 when I was 18:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    No Comments "

    The Score to Air

    October 30th, 2014

    Air is a work for fixed media and optional live improvisation by a solo instrumentalist with a duration of 60 minutes. The piece is for a 60-minute yoga practice. Here is the score. It basically shows the timings and durations of events, meter, pitches and cues. It is a map for both the soloist and yogi.

    air_score

    (Click on image for a larger size.)

    A playing of Air without a soloist is absolutely acceptable.

    No Comments "

    Hymn to the Vanished, a Comparison

    August 10th, 2014

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    This track is the original version for string orchestra performed by SONYC (String Orchestra of  New York City).

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

     

    This is the complete recording of the clarinet and piano version:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    First off, the clarinet version uses a faster tempo, otherwise, by the time the clarinet finished a phrase the soft piano chords would have faded away as we discovered in rehearsal. The faster tempo also helps with endurance. Even at this tempo, endurance became an issue around the 6:20 mark. Another sonic difference due to replacing a body of strings with a piano is the piano makes the work rhythmic. In the original, the only rhythmic element is the double bass’ two-note figure that is always present but in the distance. By combining the sustained chords with the two-note figure, the piano part becomes more rhythmic than harmonic, and I feel Jeff Abell’s comment on Facebook about the new version being “…a bit like Messiaen’s “Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus,” without the Catholicism.”  addresses the resulting new texture. It isn’t, therefore, the numerous melodic tri-tones that reminds one of the Messiaen piece but the now very present  two-note motive. What I miss in the clarinet version that peaks through the hazy sustained chords of the original is the references to bluesy chords (there are also melodic lines that reference blue notes)  and Ivesian type string chords. But as I mentioned in my previous post, the trade off is intimacy for resonance.

    No Comments "

    Hymn to the Vanished

    August 7th, 2014

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    Back in February I premiered a new version (clarinet and piano) of an older work from 2001 I composed titled Hymn to the Vanished (string orchestra) at Adelphi University where I am the clarinet instructor. I only recently received the recording of the concert in the mail. The original work was my response to the September 11th tragedies and was composed a few weeks afterwards. Soon after, the work received performances by both the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and S.O.N.Y.C. (String Orchestra of New York City) at Brooklyn College and Weill Recital Hall respectively.

    Obviously I needed to make changes to the piece. Texturally the work is simple, the first violins played the melodic line now played by the clarinet sans some stratospheric notes, the double basses play a two-note figure throughout and the rest of the strings continuously sustain chords. The piano part consists of combining the chords and the two-note double bass figure with a minimal amount of adjustments to the original. The new version lacks the resonance of the original but gains an intimacy a string orchestra cannot capture.

    This is a clip of the new version, myself on clarinet and Jad Bernardo, piano:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    No Comments "

    Observation: what is new (music)?

    August 6th, 2014

    All sorts of asses ‘love’ poetry. Why not? It confirms them in the assininity of their deepest beliefs. It underlies the racial laziness, the unwillingness to think, the satisfaction of feeling oneself part of the race and of having all posterity behind one in proneness and stupidity. This is what is inherent in most ‘love’ of poetry.

    A smooth, lying meter that nostalgically carries them back to sleep is what they want. That’s why for a living, changing people only the new poetry is truly safe, truly worth reading. And that is why it is opposed by the best people—the intellectually deepest bogged—as if it were the devil himself.

    —William Carlos Williams, “Note: The American Language and the New Poetry, so called” (1931?)

    Replace “poetry” with “music” and 1931 with 2014.

    The situation in music is now even worse, Mr. Williams. American Music that is truly worth listening to has been gradually silenced but it is out there. This unheard music is neither academic nor audience-needy but it is off the radar—literally outside of the box. What is being paraded around as American music in all types of music spaces around the country and recordings, by all forms of ensembles is an audience-needy music described as hip, cool and other such words usually saved for the marketing of populist musics (products) that cradles a supposedly intelligent audience back to sleep; exactly what a somnambulant audience has been clamoring for over many decades (with easily accommodating ensembles and organizations including universities and schools of music) that demands music not to be taken seriously, with a plethora of composers waiting in the wings to fulfill this nightmare.

    No Comments "

More informations

%d bloggers like this: