Program Notes

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Miniatures for Brass Quartet

The Miniatures for Brass Quartet, 4th Movement, was the 1st Place winner of the United Nations Prize, 1995, for a fanfare for the 50th Anniversary of the U.N., a competition administered by the Bay Composers' Forum. The work is available on the CD, Gradus ad Parnassum on Discovery Records, and on the CD, Concerto for Piano and other chamber works, on Arizona University Recordings.


Euphonia 2344

Euphonia 2344 draws its story from episodes described by Berlioz in "The Twenty-fifth Evening" of this fanciful set of satires on mid-19th century musical life and times, Evenings with the Orchestra. In Euphonia 2344 the orchestra is synthetic; i.e., the timbres are modeled as computer music realizations of hybrid orchestral instruments, creating the fanciful effect of what Berlioz, in 1853, might have imagined the sound of a futuristic orchestra in 2344: a giant "orchestra piano," a huge gong, a viola- harpsichord, and various hybrid, voice-like instruments. In Scene 2, here performed, Mina, in her Paris apartment, utterly bored by the dullness of her many male admirers, seeks new excitement and fame in Euphonia, where she boasts she will be chosen to sing in the world famous Gluck Festival. She mocks a letter from Xilef, her fiance, ridiculing him for his absence, "Why did he have to go away? Contempt's the price he'll have to pay!" Pleading with her daughter to stay in Paris, Mama sings of the amenities and opportunities that Paris holds for such a "talented and witty" daughter but grudgingly consents to accompany her daughter to Euphonia. Mina plots, "The great composer Shetland will adore me, take me under his wing." Dismayed by her mistress's behavior, Fanny the maid realizes, "She's jilting Xilef! Oh, he will die! He'll kill himself!" The three declare, for different reasons, that "love and art are equal madness." Alone, Mina expresses her passion for Shetland and his "so elegantly tender" music.


Possente Spirito

Possente Spirito" was written for an Italian Opera class that I attended in Milan. I thought it fit to end where we began, with the legend of Orpheus. The text is by A. Striggio from the opera Orfeo by Monteverdi.

The part of Orfeo is intended to sound like a castrato. The two voice parts (either females or male falsettists) were conceived as vocal fractions with an instrumental quality to them. The oboe acts as a connecting unit betwen the purely instrumental sonorities of the guitar and the purely vocal sonorities of Orfeo, and the guitar is representitive of Orfeo's lyre, which he uses to influence Pluto. The piece is dedicated with much admiration to my composition professor in Milan, Dr. Roberto Andreoni.


Fantasia on Ubi Caritas for viol consort

The Fantasia on Ubi Caritias is centered around the chant Ubi Caritas, a portion of which is played at the opening of the piece. Though there is not a specific program to the work, I find hope and comfort in the words of the text.


Ethan Frome (Act Two, Scene 3) (1997)

The two-act opera Ethan Frome was composed between January, 1994, and September, 1997, for the centennial of the School of Music at West Virginia University. It was staged there in November, 1997, with a cast of faculty and students and a production created by the Divisions of Music and Theatre/Dance. The genesis of the opera goes back to 1966 however, when the idea of making an opera from Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome was suggested to composer John Beall by a college friend. It took the centennial, a contest for new operas, and the creative brilliance of librettist Jack Held to actually get the project going. The novel, told in flashback with a large number of characters, culminates in a celebrated suicidal sled ride. These story features were simplified by Held to six characters and a time setting of 1910 for all but the final scene which is set in 1930. Scene 3 of Act Two has the title character, Ethan Frome, and his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver, in a sleigh on their way to town. Mattie is being sent away by Ethan's hypochodriac wife Zeena because she wants to hire a girl to care for her instead of depending on a weak and inept young cousin (Mattie), and because she senses the growing love between Mattie and Ethan. Ethan and Mattie recall their few moments of happiness together. Mattie assures Ethan that she will somehow survive, and then shows him the letter he had written to Zeena but had cast aside, declaring the hopelessness of the marriage. At last they declare their love openly. Despite their situation, Mattie reminds Ethan of the sled-coasting he had promised her, and they agree to do it now even if it means missing the train. They spot a sled by the church and hurry off anticipating a brief moment of fun.


Presentation of Jesus' Daughter, a Video Opera and demonstration of the BodySynth--an Alternate Controller to convert movement to MIDI

Jesus' Daughter uses virtual music and video environments in which the movements of the solo dancer controls virtual video environments while she is often visually interjected into this projected virtual world. The Virtual Dancer navigates through the virtual environment of her mind and is projected onto five gigantic sails constructed of special super absorbent fabric that also evolve and change into abstract shapes. There is not only traditional operatic singing, but also contemporary and vernacular vocalism in a rap-like manner both by the singer and the dancer. The video version of this work was edited together over an entire year in a production studio using 5 3d machines for mixing a-b rolls.

Jesus' Daughter depicts a family's struggle to come to terms with the actions of a violent and sexually abusive father, a prominent preacher, who considers himself "godlike," above reproach and who denies the abuse has ever taken place. As tragic as this seems, it is one of the few aspects of private life that is equally shared by Americans of all races, classes, family structures, and ethnic backgrounds.


Synthecisms No. 3 for saxophone, electronics and pre-recorded tape

Synthecisms No. 3 (for Saxophone, Electronics and Pre-recorded Tape) was written for saxophonist Joseph Murphy for a performance at the World Saxophone Congress, Tokyo, Japan - August, 1988. The tape part was realized from material generated at Bregman Electronic Studio at Dartmouth College, and the Institut voor Psychoacustica en Elektronische Muziek (IPEM/BRT) in Gent Belgium. In addition to a number of university performances, Synthecisms No. 3 has received a number of festival performances and broadcasts including the International Electronic Music Plus Festival, Atlanta - April, 1988, the 1992 Oberlin College TIMARA concert series, and the 1993 National Conference of the Electroacoustic Music Society (SEAMUS). Recent broadcasts of the work include Radio Moscow, VPRO Radio, Hilversum, Netherlands, and WKRC, New York. In December, 1993 Joseph Murphy recorded Synthecisms No. 3 for CD on the OPUS ONE label. The score is published by the American Composers Alliance in New York.


Rants II

A Rant is a poem-line narrative that got its name from its author, Text-Sound composer and poet, Jeanne Pool. Often motivated by the foibles of her friends and herself, these jarring creations display a compelling blend of tongue-twisting cyclic chatter which, when combined with a disarmingly fun-like spirit make them irresistible objects for musical seeing. "You Drive Me Crazy" is from a set of four pieces called Rants II which were written for Donald Aird of the Berkeley Chamber Singers and his son, the violinist Brooke Aird.



Miserere mei, Deus (1997), was composed for the men of the Choir of All Saints Church, New York City, where I sing on Sundays. It was premiered by that ensemble under the direction of David Hurd on Ash Wednesday of 1997. The text, from Psalm 51, is for the most part sung simultaneously in English (by the choir) and Latin (by the tenor soloist). What strikes me now about the piece is the fact that to me the Latin portions, i. e. those in the "dead" language, seem to be set to more overtly intense and expressive music than those in English; in fact, in several sections of the piece, including the very end of it, the choral part is actually drawn into singing the Latin text, almost in spite of itself. In retrospect, perhaps this symbolizes a desire to move from the mundane and vernacular to a higher plane by means of what Stravinsky, because of its greater age and more venerable status, would have called a more "sacred" language.

Cantate Domino was composed in thanksgiving for David Hurd's twelve years as Director of music at All Saints Church in New York City. It is a very short, lively and good-humored piece based on the first three verses of Psalm 96.


Opus Alchymicum: transmutational sonorities #1 and #5 for string quartet

This work was commissioned by Mr.Katsuma Nakajima, Director of the Concert for World Peace Series. It premiered last year in Tokyo.

Alchymia (Alchemy), an early form of chemistry with philosophical and magical associations carried a mystic aura. Philosophers' Stone, an imaginary substance from an alchemic laboratory, played an important role in a method of power known as transmutation which results in the seemingly miraculous change of a thing into something better. The transmutational process of alchemy was supposedly possible in the conversion of base metals into gold and silver.

I conceived this very process as a sound image in motion framed in my own landscape of time. I tried to construct the sound complexes, surfaces of rhythmical configurations, intuitive sonorities like a particle of some forgotten modality's parallel time. I wanted to create a closed musical world of sonorousness transmutation: the synthesis of variations made from Silence (Space) towards Sound (Sonority), using Time as Philosophers' Stone.

The integral version of this work consists of 5 transmutated sonorities. Each part (sonority), however, could be performed separately or in any combination.

This performance is the American premiere of the work.


Ave Maria

The Ave Maria has been sung, chanted, and prayed in churches, cathedrals, and cloisters since the Middle Ages. The prayer is found in St. Gregory's Liber Antiphonarius from the year 604, and its present form is found in the writings of Savonarola from the end of the 15th century. The Ave Maria continues in liturgical use, penitential prayers, and musical settings to the present day. The chant (found in the Liber Usualis) permeates the texture of this setting for 12 solo voices or triple divisi SATB choir. This Ave Maria was composed at the request of Carmen Tellez for the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble.


Air-Flight for four flutes (1997)

Air-Flight (1997) for four flutes was commissioned by the Howlin' Winds Flute Ensemble and premiered by that group in Farmington, Maine on February 13, 1998. The piece was subsequently performed two weeks later on the SCI Region IV Conference at the University of Texas-Arlington. In two movements, the piece is based on an ordered 12 note set whose first six pitches (and most of the harmonies) are subsets of the octatonic scale. The rhythmic language is derives from American Popular Music.


Passing Chimes

Program notes not available.


Seascape: Overture to Moby Dick

Seascape: Overture to Moby Dick is a tone poem comprising the prelude and orchestral epilogue from a two act opera based on Melville's novel. It is cast in a highly impressionistic style and the composer hopes the listener will imagine the quiet, somewhat ominous presence of the immensity of the ocean. Perhaps also sense the slow motion of the great whale through the murky waters as slight ripples grow into larger and stronger waves. The cries of seabirds brighten the somber mood as the waves roll and crest. The Pequod catches the wind in her sails and is off on the great adventure. The wind and waves build in intensity, developing into a powerful storm (perhaps a foretelling of the ship's ultimate destruction and the tragic fate of her crew?). As the fearsome gale subsides, calm returns and with it the eternal serenity of the majestic sea.



Along with the development of pitch sets in each movement of this work, a definite attention was given to the use of transparent textures, almost in the style of Mozart. In addition, the first movement, "Riding the Easy Five Mile Sluice," was planned according to a formula of combining notes that was inspired by James Gleick's book Chaos. In the book, analysis of types of turbulence showed the predominantly predictable nature and yet sometime chaotic moments of, for instance, the motion of water through a pipe or of wind currents in a tunnel. It also stated that ". . . the attracting pull of four points . . . creates basins of attractions. . . . But each particle does not move independently - its motion depends very much on the motion of its neighbors - and in a smooth flow, the degrees of freedom can be few." These formulae of motion through space seemed quite applicable to the sound-motion of music. Interestingly, as the music was developing, it reminded me of water flowing gently but always continuously down a mountain sluice, turning, sometimes very quickly, in new directions as the sluice turns (sometimes sharply) to skirt natural obstructions. The pitch materials, however, seemed to create an unearthly atmosphere. Thus, the movement began to sound to me like a water ride in a celestial amusement park. In this supernatural setting, the jinn (mythological spirits that influence mankind for good and evil) would sing their simple "Jinn Song" accompanied by flute and guitar, while the "Hard Knock Jam," with its percussive hammering and persistent beat, would be music rollicking in a cabaret set.


Sole Injection for amplified violin and computer-generated tape (1996)

Sole Injection for amplified violin and computer-generated tape was written during the summer of 1996 and commissioned by Carbondale Community Arts for performance at Arts in Celebration. This composition is the fifth in a series of works by the composer which uses the magic square of the sun as a compositional model. A magic square consists of a series of numbers arranged so that the sum of each row, column, and diagonal is the same amount. Eleven different routes through the square (the middle nine each having a duration of 55.5 seconds) are mapped onto a musical structure based upon the magic square. The unique position of each number within the square is paralleled in the score by a particular musical style, rhythm, density, and orchestration. The musical energy created by this structure is designed to produce a physical as well as aural experience for the listener. The tape was produced using GACSS (Genetic Algorithms in Composition and Sound Synthesis ) which is an original computer music software package developed by Benjamin Grosser.


A Song and a Dance for flute and piano (1997)

I had been planning on writing a piece for solo flute for many years and had at one point many years ago even written a few measures, so when I was asked to write a piece for flute and piano, some of the ideas from the solo piece naturally found their way into this one. The work uses two intervals I'm not accustomed to working with, major seconds and major thirds.

A Song and a Dance is, as the title suggests, divided into two sections. The first section dwells mainly in the lower regions of the two instruments. The instruments share an on-going pattern of alternating whole steps, which accompany a brooding melodic line of long tones. The second section is quite a bit livelier, with disjunct patterns made up of large leaps, and quick runs in thirds. This section focuses mainly on the upper regions of each instrument's range.

Ka Nin

Par-ci, par-la (1996)

This compositions is a social comment on the diversified cultures of Canada. The French title reflects the composers' interest in Quebec's heritage. The works, Par-ci, par-la (here and there), which are quite musical in themselves, will be sung by the brass players in this one movement work. On a personal level, this work also reflects the composer's search for his own identity. Being born in Hong Kong as a British subject of Chinese origin, Chan has spent two-thirds of his life in Canada. The composer laments the fact that when China takes over Hong Kong in 1997, his birthplace will treat him as a foreigner. The music expresses this inner conflict throughout. The spatial location of the musicians in relation to the audience enhances visually and aurally this personal musical statement. Written in 1996, this work was commissioned by Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal with a grant from Canada Council.


Prairie Autumn

Prairie Autumn seeks to express the ardor of youth breaking into song as it strains against a flat, dusky landscape. The music is a setting of a poem by Willa Cather. It was premiered in 1993 as part of the opera Eric Hermannson's Soul where it introduces the lead female character, a world-weary woman from the East whose spirits are roused by the vast, open land of the Nebraska prairie.



Antigone is based on the tragic drama written by Sophocles. It is set in Ancient Greece and deals with the tragic death of Antigone for violating the King's decree that her brother, who was viewed as a traitor, not be buried. The opera is written in an accessible tonal style.


Zoological Lexicon (1991)

The Zoological Lexicon, or 17 Bestial Vignettes from the Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce was written in 1991. The pieces are based on definitions of mythical or not so mythic creatures from Bierce's darkly humorous collection. Four movements will be performed at the conference, "Dragon" [A leading Attraction in the Menagerie of the Antique Imagination. It seems to have escaped.], "Kine" [Cows. If Kine is the plural of Cow, And the plural of Sow is Swine, Then Pumpkins may hang from a Vow, And Coronets rest upon Brine.], "Fairy" [A Creature, variously Fashioned and Endowed, that formerly inhabited the Meadows and Forests. It was Noctural in it's Habits, and somewhat Addicted to Dancing and the Theft of Children. The Fairies are now believed by Naturalists to be extinct although many have been seen, the sight so greatly Staggering the Witness as to make his account incoherent!], and "Patriot" [One to whom the interest of a Part seem Superior to those of the Whole. The Dupe of Statesmen and the Tool of Conquerors.]. Clark employs compositional intent in the same manner as Bierce uses his definitions, to darkly poke fun at some sacred cows, and to resolve the dizzying melange of patriotic tunes into the haunting spiritual Follow the Drinking Gourd, a guide song from the Underground Railroad. Rather than a depiction of a noble Arthurian beast this dragon is a quite specific sketch of Tolkien's sleeping Smaug. Bierce's fairies are menacing and frightening, not quicksilver Mendelssohnian sprites. They are also more likely to be observed after a few rounds at the bar.


Love Song for soprano, oboe, and piano

Scored for soprano, oboe and piano, Love Song was composed for the Chamberworks Ensemble and premiered in February, 1996 in Philadelphia. The text is written by Patrick Kelly, from his collection of works entitled, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Patrick Kelly. Rhythmically exciting, evocative and lyrical, Love Song explores the surreal, the laconic, and the urban twists of love. Musicians enjoy performing this piece, as it challenges the player's dramatic sense by incorporating some improvisational freedom within the structure of the work.


That Which Binds Us for soprano and flute

That Which Binds Us is a setting of four poems by Jane Hirshfield from her collection, Of Gravity and Angels. These are love poems of extraordinary poignancy and depth. The images are both powerfully evocative and musically compelling. Silence moves, lovers become one geography, darkness is gathered and drunk, the intensity of a manzanita seed waiting for fire (necessary for propagation) is vividly rendered. Upon reading these works, I immediately felt the impact of the music within. In my reading of the poems, the lure lies "between the lines," as it were, in "unspeakable" emotions and passions. These feelings are complex yet basic to our humanity, and in that manner simple. Upon reflection, I felt that the combination of soprano voice and a single, complementary instrument--the flute--would best reflect the inner strengths of the poems and yield the truest realization of the music as I felt it.

That Which Binds Us was commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music for my friend Mimmi Fulmer, and is dedicated with love to my wife, Judith Hobbs Cohen.

Judd G.

Twelve Can Play That Game (1993)

The "twelve" of the title refers to the number of participating instruments (by which I mean the "virtual instruments" created through electronic sound synthesis); the "game" is that of the attempt to establish in the electronic medium an ensemble comprised of instruments of fixed and distinguishing qualities, but not limited to particular gestures. Thus orchestration takes on the role often reserved only for the "acoustic" composer. Despite the title, this is, in fact, not a game at all, but rather a most serious endeavor to explore new musical potentialities achievable only in the medium of electronics, precisely by proceeding from a familiar point of departure; namely, the chamber ensemble. Framed by an introduction and coda of distinctive and connected characters, the main body of the work-although continuous-is made up of many sections whose textures, pacing, and, often, orchestration contrast markedly. Twelve Can Play That Game was commissioned by Scott A. Wyatt, director of the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios in Urbana-Champaign, in celebration of that facility's 35th anniversary. It is dedicated to Milton Babbitt on the occasion of his 77th birthday.

Brent Michael

Native American Suite

Mr. Davids writes the following about Native American Suite, composed for the Dale Warland Singers in 1995. It "is a percussive suite of three traditional Native American songs, including a Lenape Song (Delaware), an Apache song ("49 Song") and Zuni Sunrise Song (Pueblo). Lenape Song is a festive song, sung by many people together. As the group performs they bring themselves back into the community and the whole tribe into wellness. The "49 Song," (I Still Love You Yet), is used after powwows when the younger singers are not quite ready to quit. Usually well after midnight, the participants gather in a nearby spot and sing these 49 songs--a mixture of English lyrics and Native American vocables which form an intertribal way of communicating feelings. This particular piece is one Chesley Wilson (traditional singer, flute player and Apache violin maker) used to tease his wife who was married to another once before. The final Zuni Sunrise Song celebrates the new day as it calls morning into existence. The three movements are arrangements from the Lenape, Apache and Zuni tribes, respectively..." The Suite incorporates "elements of jazz harmonies combined with chorus vocal effects."

Special thanks to Mel Hoefling for the use of his powwow drum.


Symphony No. 1

  1. Rage, rage...
  2. . . . they dance their glories into shadow
  3. . . . as filaments of memory spin

Symphony No. 1 was commissioned for James DePreist and the Oregon Symphony on the occasion of its Centennial, the Louisville Orchestra, and the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and was made possible by a grant from the Meet The Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

During my high school years in Portland, Oregon, I was fortunate to know three exceptional human beings, all of whom taught music at Jefferson High School, and all of whom died at young ages: Sonny King (jazz saxophone), Dee Wiggins (percussion), and Richard Thornburg (trumpet). Not only were these men superb musicians and teachers - they were absolutely three of the most gentle, unselfish, and kind people I have known. This music has been composed in memory of these three good friends. Though the symphony as a whole is a reflection on the life and death of all three men, there is a particular association for each (I - Dee, II - Sonny, III - Richard), which is reflected in the character and orchestration of each movement.

The first movement, "Rage, rage...," features the percussion section much of the time, often with them playing versions of a rhythm resulting from the declaration: "Sonny King, Dee Wiggins, Richard Thornburg." This thematic rhythm pervades the entire symphony. The rather angry character of the movement hardly reflects that of Dee Wiggins, but the aggressive drumming, often in streams of sixteenth notes, is perhaps reflective of Dee's playing in his funk band, Velvet, which I played trumpet in for one year. The movement is framed by two presentations of a sustained, tutti, contrapuntal section, the first of which is a rather frantic, shocked reaction to hearing of a death, and the last being a final anguished cry of grief. Once the music calms down a bit, about three minutes into the movement, the first trumpet presents three increasingly demanding statements (not unrelated to Ives' famous question), as if to ask "why?!" This second quarter of the movement reflects a mix of emotions and has a number of changes in tempo and orchestration. The tempo doubles around the midpoint, and after a brief period of calm, the movement builds to explosions of rage leading to the final cry. Sonny King was a vivacious, hilarious, and inspirational man who played saxophone and worked with our jazz improvisation groups at Jefferson. Sonny seemed to know, before I did, that composition might become an important part of my life and provided some early encouragement in that direction. The second movement, "...they dance their glories into shadow," is a playful scherzo which features the woodwinds and uses a number of elements from jazz, including part of the chord progression from Charlie Parker's Donna Lee. Another 'found' source is a Gagliarda by Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630), fragments and variations of which are used as basic material throughout the movement. Following the introduction and binary body of the movement (five sections in each part), is a coda in which the Gagliarda clearly emerges before dancing off into the shadows as the movement ends.

Schein's Padouana from the same suite is referenced in the final movement by the piccolo solo and by the cadential pattern at the climax. (Our high school brass quintet frequently performed these Schein dances). " filaments of memory spin..." was inspired by memories of Richard Thornburg, a former second trumpet in the Oregon Symphony whose beautifully warm tone, lyrical playing, and gentle spirit were daily inspirations throughout high school. Mr. Thornburg practiced Tai Chi, and the idea of balance became important in this movement in a number of ways, not the least of which is having a slow movement to balance the previous two. Also 'in balance,' are most of the important events in the movement, each having three presentations: offstage trumpet calls, 'sighs,' 'swirls,' mensural canons, a melodic lament, and a scalar, diatonic phrase. The offstage trumpets play a fusion of earlier material and one of Mr. Thornburg's favorite melodies, The Last Rose of Summer, which is clearly revealed in the final, most distant call.

James DePreist provided the impetus for this Symphony, and it was composed for the Oregon Symphony and Maestro DePreist, whose support and encouragement over the years is greatly appreciated. The subtitle for movement I is from Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas. James DePreist's poems, Somehow we can and Its luminous links, found in The Distant Siren, provide the subtitles for movements II and III.

Copyright Norruth Music, Inc. (BMI), Saint Louis, MO, USA. All rights reserved. International protection secured under UCC, Buenos Aires and bilateral copyright treaties.


Violin Concerto

The Violin Concerto is the second collaboration for Miriam Fried and Donald Erb. After her premiere of his Three Poems for Violin and Piano at a Library of Congress concert in May, 1998, the two decided they wanted to collaborate on a violin concerto. Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts made it possible for Mr. Erb to begin in the summer of 1991. He completed most of the work while serving as Composer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome from October through December of that year, but continued to make changes through the first months of 1992. He sasy that he forgot to write down the actual date of completion, but it was ready in time for Miriam Fried's premiere performance on April 16, 1993, with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Catherine Comet, Conductor.

The composer writes:

Concertos have historically been written for someone specific rather than as a generic exercises. This piece was written for Miriam and is influenced by the way I think she plays her instrument. She is to me an extrememly involoved and dynamic violinist; at the same time, her musicianship is impeccable. This musicality. percision and drive helped to shape my conception of her concerto.

This concerto is in four movements played without pause. The first moevement is a slow movement, although there are sections of energetic accumulation. After a rather long introduction which features left hand pizzicati, the violin introduces a four-not melody which apperar in various guises throughout the piece. This movement also features some quarter tone pitch bending which, of course, the violing can do with relative ease.

Near the end of the first movement is a violin cadenza, followed by pitch bends and a chorale of sorts, leading to the second movemnt which is based on teh same four-note melody as the first one. This movement is fast, mostly loud, and very propulsive.

The third movment is almost entirely a quiet one, with melodic material which is somewhat different. This leads directly to the finale which is very fast and full of drive. It also makes much use of repeated notes, although one can still hear that original four-note melody from time to time. After the cadenza there is a boisterous coda which eventually leads into a reference in teh violin part to the left hand pizzicati which open the entrie concerto.

Concertos are frequently intended to excite and thrill the audience. I hope this one will.

Kelly Eastman

The Mirror

The Mirror was written following the composer's two-year stay in Japan in the 70's, where she studied the koto and Japanese folklore. Upon her return to the US, she began searching her collection of Japanese folk tales for one she could set in a chamber opera as a souvenir piece from her wonderful stay. The final story came from elements of three different tales woven into a single story. The piece calls for 4 singers, a koto, 2 shakuhachi (wooden flutes, with parts playable by recorders), orchestra bells, and a gong.


Three Movements

Three Movements is from a larger, six-movement work for oboe and piano. In the first movement the piano is reverb for the saxophone, the second movement is two dances, and the third is a waltz for french horns.


Dancing the Shadows

Dancing the Shadows might be subtitled "Music for an Imaginary Ballet." After having written several large-scale, intensely dark and virtuosic scores, I thought it would be a nice change to try something in a lighter vein. I have always been interested in dance music, particularly that of Stravinsky, and I am sure that many of the gestures found here may strike the listener as Stravinskian, though no direct comparison is intended. The piece is in four sections (slow-fast-slow-fast), with sections three and four being loose variations on the first and second, respectively. The opening of the work sets up the basic principle of the piece: three sets of duos -- winds, strings, piano and percussion -- occasionally sharing material, but often playing off, and against, each other. As in all my music, most of the melodic hand harmonic material used in the entire piece can be found in the opening minutes of the work.

Dancing the Shadows was written between June and November 1994 with the support of the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts and was premiered at Indiana University in December of that same year.


The Universal System of Composing with Beats: What We All Do

Abstract not available.


Proteus Rising from the Sea (1994)

Proteus Rising from the Sea was completed in 1994 during a Research Leave from The College of Wooster. The work was commissioned by the Air Force Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Lt. Col. Richard A. Shelton, Commander and Conductor.

In Greek mythology, Proteus was the sea god possessed of the power of changing his shape at will. Sometimes said to be the son or attendant of Poseidon, god of the seas, Proteus held as well the power of foretelling the future. Often described as slumbering in or near the seas, he was sometimes awakened by mortals who desired to wrest from him the secrets of the future. Proteus was said to resist such challenges by changing his shape into a frightening, bewildering, and overpowering succession of fearsome or intimidating creatures.

The prevailing imagery of the piece, while not mythologically authentic, endeavors to depict a formidable sea god who, disturbed from his slumbers by importunate mortals, proceeds to wreak a formidable wrath and vengeance. The musical argument is precipitated by the god's awakening (opening hammer strokes), after which the piece begins quietly and enigmatically and proceeds gradually to a display of considerable turbulence by the end.

The title of the work is taken from the following lines of Wordsworth:

So might I. . .
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
William Wordsworth, The World is Too Much With Us

Proteus was given its premiere by the Air Force Band of Flight 28 January 1995 at East Tennessee State University. It was later recorded and released on the ensemble's compact disc entitled Images.


recuerdos de otra musica para piano (remembrances of another music for piano) (1990)

recuerdos de otra musica para piano (remembrances of another music for piano) was written in 1990 for Cuban, pianist Miguel Salvador who later premiered the work. Salvador requested a short piece that pianists could perform at piano competitions. Given that Garcia's music is generaly delicate, sparse, and slowly evolving with most pieces lasting 15-20 minutes, the request was quite a challenge. After much pondering, the result was a relatively short piece that allows the pianist moments of an albeit veiled traditional virtuosity contrasted with demands for minute control of timbre. The sonorous world that results from the combination and juxtaposition of abstract static materials with the obscured references to a more traditional piano music is the basis for the title. recuerdos de otra musica para piano, was recently recorded by pianist Martha Marchena and released on Albany Records (Troy 242).


Hide-and-Seek for solo clarinet (1997)

Hide-and-Seek is a one-movement work for solo clarinet written in 1997 for David Keberle of University of Pittsburgh. Hide-and-Seek is dedicated to the "restless energy and joyous spirit" of the composer's son, three-year-old Mathew.


Arietta for cello and piano (1990)

Arietta for cello and piano was written for the Shrut-Brantley Duo in 1990 and premiered in St. Paul Chapel, New York City, in May 1991.

Karl Gompper

Duo for violin and piano (1997)

Duo for violin and piano (1997), premiered in Thessaloniki, Greece, is based on two Irish fiddle tunes, The Green Groves of Erin/The Flowers of Red Hill, and made popular by the Bothy Band, and more recently, the string trio of Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor and Yo-Yo Ma. While its four-sectioned, one movement form presents Irish-Appalachia-Texas fiddle music embedded within the context of art music (history has shown that much of art music relies on folk music for its inspiration), my intention was to transform the music as feet-stomping dance music through a labyrinth of rhythmic and textural manipulations into a synthesis of playful excursions for both instruments.


Out of the Primordial Ocean

Out of the Pimordial Ocean is scored for eight percussionists. The piece involves the manipulation of a set of rhythm and pitch motives that gradually "evolve" as the seven-minute work progresses. Ocean begins quietly and builds to a sustained isorhythmic section, which then leads to an extended timpani solo. The piece closes with a brief coda recalling earlier motivic material. The influence of gamelan music is evident. Out of the Pimordial Ocean was composed for W. Michael Hooley and the Truman State University Percussion Ensemble, and was premiered in 1992 at a Percussive Arts Society conference.


The Rebirth of Symphonic Writing in Sweden

Abstract is not available.


Kandinsky: Six Images for Organ (1991)

Kandinsky: Six Images for Organ was composed in 1991 for organist Barbara Harbach to whom the work is dedicated. The first performance took place in Fresno, CA, on October 18, 1992. Russian painter Vasily Kandinsky sought to achieve the spiritual power inherent in msuic by emulating its abstract qualities in his paintings, often using music titles for his canvases. In his mature works, brightly colored geometric and abstract organic forms are placed in free but beautifully balanced compositions. The Six Images are not meant to be aural translations of the paintings but are musical interpretations of the underlying ideas or moods expressed by the paintings' titles. The organ is an ideal instrument to realize in the sound Kandinsky's flair for bold colors and shapes. The composer has attemted to organize fanciful musical ideas into forms which are succinct, clear, and orderly.


Sonata "par un beau soir"

Program notes not available.

N. Lincoln

Dixit Dominus

The seven verses of the Latin text, Dixit Dominus (Psalm 109) is one of the most powerful messianic scriptures found in the Old Testament of the Bible. As each verse is read, a diversity of emotional content is revealed including the reflective depiction of a communicating Godhead of verse one; the calm, assuring promise of God void of emotion of verse four; and the confused milieu of judgement day in verses five and six. Such a text gives a composer setting this Psalm text an incredible opportunity to paint a wide variety of powerful moods.

Beginning with Dixit Dominus Domino meo, I set this "other worldy" image of Deity talking to itself with a static, running sixteenth-note figure played by the vibraphone while the rest of the ensemble plays sporadic pitch points. Added to this is a celestial motive of high, arpeggiated chords which chirp above the sound picture. Taking a Dixit Dominus chant tune from the Liber Usualis (Vesper Psalm Tone 1, original ending) the choir states the opening text with the original form of the chant as well as in retrograde at the fifth and retrograde inversion at the fifth. The baritone soloist then sings scabellum pedum tuorum descending almost out of his range giving impetus to the next section which sets vs. two with a strict, fast tempo and in the irregular meters of 7/8 and 9/8. The angularity and irregularity of the the verse portraying the power of the Messiah over his enemies then leads to a more serene and regular setting of verse 3 which reminds us of his strength in the splendor of the holy ones. The chant returns in vs. four giving foundation to the promise of God of the eternal priesthood of the Messiah. As a transition to the awesome depiction of the Lord's judgement against his enemies in the next part of the Psalm, we hear a quiet setting of the latter part of vs. two, dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum rising out of the timeless, meterless confusion of the instrumental ensemble. Then the climactic verses five and six are set firstly with a triumphal bell-like pealing by the pianos while the choir and chimes ring out the declaration of dies irae. Then the ensemble turns back to irregular meters and the driving tempo which originally set verse two. The ultimate climax occurs at the latter part of vs. six with the choir at full voice singing implebit ruinas; conquasabit capita in terra multorum even shouting the words ruinas and multorum and finally ending with a bass drum and tam-tam strike allowed to ring and die away. Then, again, the promise uttered without emotion and with the surety and comfort of the chant: Juravit Dominus, et non poenitebit eum. The final verse shows the figure of the Messiah drinking by a stream and lifting his head. This is a triumphant gesture of utter might over his adversaries, but I chose to set this in a similar fashion as the opening verse - very serenely and with little musical movement. This captures more of the essence of the text creating an awesome and disturbing picture of a prevailing power: calm, quiet and omnipotent. The Gloria Patri extends this idea with the static running sixteenth-note figure again in the vibraphone part while the choir sings quietly in unison this closing statement after this powerful Psalm. Finally, my celestial motive returns with the pianos: high arpeggiated clusters of pitches which fade away as the piece closes with a lone bowed crotale.


Pierrot Lieder (1988)

In February, 1988, I was asked by Leonard Stein, Director of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California, to participate in the "Pierrot Project." A group of some sixteen American composers had been invited to set the remaining 29 poems in the collection, "Pierrot Lunaire: Rondels Bergamasques," by the Belgian poet, Albert Giraud, first published in 1884, from which Schoenberg had selected the twenty-one poems in his own composition, Pierrot Lunaire, in 1912. The project was created with funds from The National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Schoenberg's seminal masterpiece.

Schoenberg used the 1893 German translation of Otto Erich Hartleben in his settings. All participating composers used the same. In addition we were confined to the original Pierrot instrumentation (flute-piccolo, clarinet-bass clarinet, violin-viola, cello, piano). We had the option of using sprechgesang, as in the original, if we so chose.

Der Koch (The Chef) is the first of three poems in the collection which I have chosen to set. The others are Nordpolfahrt (Arctic trip) and Selbstmord (Suicide). The three are intended to be performed as a cycle. They use the same harmonic and melodic material, and grow one from the other. There is also a related textual progression, whereby the dramatic tension increases with each song. The first is whimsical and not without humor; the second starts to despair, although not without whimsy; the third carries despair to its logical or ultimate solution. The color, white, found in all three poems, binds them together visually in a way suggesting the common harmonic and melodic material that binds them musically.

The first and last song utilize the traditional Pierrot instrumentation (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano). The second becomes more somber (flute, bass clarinet, muted viola, muted cello, and piano). The soprano voice is called for throughout with no attempt made to use sprechgesang, a technique which I have found unsuitable to my own style. All three songs were written during a summer residency at Yaddo. Der Koch was premiered November 7, 1988, on the Monday Evening Concerts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Christine Schadeberg, soprano, with The New York New Music Ensemble, Robert Black, conductor. Nordpolfahrt and Selbstmord were premiered on January 25th, at the Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles, Lucy Shelton, soprano, with the Da Capo Chamber Players. The first complete performance took place on the American Music Festival of The Ohio State University, February 5, 1989, Lucy Shelton, soprano, accompanied by a faculty ensemble, Craig Kirchhoff conductor. The work is recorded on a CRI compact disc #666.



Guttersnipe was commissioned by and is dedicated to William Ludwig, Professor of Bassoon at Louisiana State University. Working closely with Mr. Ludwig, I discovered the extraordinarily wide range of timbres available from the bassoon. Many of these sounds have been investigated by others (including Bruno Bartolozzi and Charles Lipp). However, two of the sounds used in the first movement of this piece were found simply through experimentation: tongue slaps combined with subtones (in the lowest register of the bassoon), and short, loud, overblown harmonics.

Guttersnipe is in three short movements: Walkabout, Guttersnipe Lied, and Blatherskate. Walkabout is a daydream -- or perhaps more appropriately, a nightmare. Guttersnipe Lied follows the first movement after a very short pause and makes extensive use of quarter-tones. Blatherskate (a bombastic person) is a scherzo utilizing several loud multiphonics. A short coda recalls the first two movements.

I first thought of the word "guttersnipe" while listening to some of the unusual sounds the bassoon can produce. Webster's dictionary defines the word as "a person of the lowest moral station. "However, I prefer to think of the word as evoking the sounds produced by some sort of fantastic animal.


3,127 Notes for solo viola (1996)

3,127 Notes for solo viola was written in the Spring of 1996 and is about seven-and-a-half minutes long. The work roughly takes the shape of a rondo in eight parts: ABACABDA. The reoccurring A music is aggressive and features a pedal point on the open G string and double-stops. By contrast the B music is slower and more lyrical, and the C music much softer and played sul ponticello. The return of the slow B-section tune (louder this time) rushes into the short, flashy D section which precedes the final return of the opening music.


I Have Heard...

The text for I Have Heard... is an excerpt from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" from his Leaves of Grass, first published under this title in 1881-1882. I chose this text because of its emphasis on an "I" which is often meant to be universal. The theme of celebration of the self greatly appealed to me at the time I wrote the piece, and the form and rhythm of Whitman s poetry has powerful musical implications. The direct repetition of the poetry, and the contrasting imagery of universal and personal themes merge well with my ideas of textural independence and focus in creating musical forms. This work is an a capella arrangement of the second of four movements of Whitman's poetry that I have set for choir and orchestra.


Ice Path

Ice Path is an imaginary title which contains a pictorial and philosophical meaning. The "quietness" and "harshness" of "ice" is reflected through various tranquil and violent sections. The Buddhist chant like opening melody also signifies "path" in the religious sense of the word.

The composition is a variation based on the modal chant. The metallic sound displaced by different mallet percussive instruments is a prominent feature of the work.


Mothers' Day for soprano, clarinet, and piano

Mothers' Day is a song for soprano, clarinet, and piano on a poem by the Nicaraguan poet Daisy Zamora. The poet was active in the National Sandinista Liberacion Front that overthrew the dictatorship in 1979. She later served as vice minister of culture and returned to writing poetry about family relations, in particular, the life of women in her country. Of the work she says: "I thought I deserved a poem for myself, to tell my children how they have to think that I am a person, too, and that I deserve to be a person, distinct from them."

The song was written in March 1997, for the Lyric Arts Trio of Kansas City at the request of the founder and clarinetist Elena Lence Talley. It was premiered at the Summer at the Cathedral series at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Kansas City, MO on August 10, 1997.


Not Everyone Agrees

Program note not available.


Ghosts!! for solo singer (bass), puppets, masks and electronic tape in two acts

Ghosts!! is a musical theater work for solo singer (bass), puppets, masks and electronic tape in two acts. It features comic and serious settings of Appalachian ghost stories and original material by the composer. The singer portrays a cast of people, ghosts and monsters by using a variety of puppets, and masks. Stories in the first act include: "Find my Tombstone," in which the ghost of a fiddler continues to haunt his former home, now occupied by a banjo player, until a tombstone in his honor is placed on his grave; and "Ghostly Dancers," in which a late night traveller hears the music and laughing voices of a wild, country dance coming from a nearby house, but can see no one each time he peeks through a window until dancing ghosts appear overhead. In the second act, "I'm Living A Lie" adapts the familiar "give me back my toe" campfire tale of a passerby who finds a toe, picks it up and takes it home, and is then haunted by the awful creature who has lost the toe. Throughout both acts, "When John Gets Here," the story of ghosts who warn about "John," the scariest specter of all, is woven around the other tales. All the stories have been given a comic twist in these adaptations. Comic situations are balanced by more serious reflections on humankind's fascination with the unknown and supernatural.

In the excerpt,"I'm Living a Lie," the singer stumbles upon a ghastly toe, which he finds laying on the ground. The toe's owner,"Scary Harry," appears to reclaim his lost body part and to bemoan the cruel life of a ghastly monster who is really searching for "a gentler life."


Driveline: A Powerwalk for Guitar and Alto Saxophone (1997)

In Memory of Abraham C. Keller

Driveline: A Powerwalk for Guitar and Alto Saxophone was commissioned by The Ryoanji Duo, Robert Nathanson, guitar and Frank Bongiorno, Saxophone for premiere at the 1997 World Saxophone Congress in Valencia, Spain.

The title Driveline refers to the single unison line which opens the work with its characteristic energy and rhythmic momentum. This "line" is elaborated further by each instrument in its own way and this virtuoso variation is the structural basis of the work. The meaning of "driveline" as the link or transfer of power between the engine and wheels of a car, truck, etc., is quite appropriate as well. The tempo of the opening is that of an aggressive "walking bass line" or "powerwalk". It is also no coincidence that during the creation of this work the composer, living in Seattle near a local lake observed true powerwalking on a regular basis on his own daily outings.

Driveline: A Powerwalk for Guitar and Alto Saxophone celebrates the memory of Abraham C. Keller, a dear friend, who died in Seattle when the first sketches of the work were being created. Although the work has reflective moments, it is primarily forward moving, energetic and optimistic. These are all qualities for which Abe Keller is remembered.

Driveline is the second work written for the Ryoanji Duo. In the Dragon's Garden was premiered at the 1992 World Saxophone Congress in Pesaro, Italy and was later chosen as Winner of the Lee Ettelson Award in San Francisco, 1995. The work has also been recorded on Classic Saxophone, Vol. 2 by Liscio Recordings, Inc.

Allen Kramer

The Rudhyar/Crawford Connection of Linear Prolongation and Proportionality

This paper deals with a pinnacle point in the history of the early twentieth century American avant-garde. The Dane Rudhyar - Ruth Crawford connection has been well established in the literature on the two composers (most of which has been under the guise of works written about Ruth Crawford). But the extent of Rudhyar's influence on Crawford is not so well documented. Rudhyar's name and music have all but disappeared from the basic repertoire of twentieth-century art music. Yet his influence was very strong, and in the early part of the century he was known as a leader of the American avant-garde movement.

This exploration exploits analysis of two representative works, one from Rudhyar and one from Crawford, in the hope to connect, compare and comprehend the thought processes between the two composers. This connection also has strong ties to the Scriabin influence on the compositional aesthetics and ideals of the time.

This discourse will provide an insight on a pivotal point in music history, a time when tertian based tonality was breaking down in favor of a quartal and centric based music. The high level of craft exhibited by the composers will be a feature of this discussion as well, dealing with overall form, explaining the proportionality and pitch progressions that define these formal elements.


The Phenomena of Phonemena: Milton Babbitt's Work for Soprano and Synthesized Tape

A look at structure and its relationship to large-scale aspects of the musical surface in Milton Babbitt's Phonemena (1969-70), this paper reveals the composer's never-ending quest for projecting a total saturation of related sonic material at the listener, creating a rich musical surface containing self-similarities on multiple levels. By examining classic all-partition array structures of Babbitt's second period, Kuehn explains the derivation of Phonemena's unique text and colorful world of sound, and offers insights into the relatively unexplored realm of pitch, timbre, and dynamic realization by the RCA Mark II Synthesizer. Other issues addressed are aspects of rhythm, including a detailed examination of the time-point array's modular units and their aural function, and some general implications of the array's design.

This survey of Phonemena's compositional structures and their realization, offers a great deal of general information that is applicable to the majority of Babbitt's work. Compositionally suggestive, it will also be of interest to the contemporary theorist.


. . . remembrance of things past . . . (1997)

. . . remembrance of things past . . ., composed in the spring and summer of 1997, is an electro-acoustic work based on the recitation of Shakespeare's Sonnet XXX. This work was spawned by an interest in developing the timbral possibilities of the spoken voice through computer manipulation. I chose one of Shakespeare's sonnets because of their colorful language and rigorous structure (14 lines of 10 syllables each), which, even after much distortion, enable them to retain a sense of "fuzzy" recognition. I was also interested in basing the work's form upon the reader's spoken inflections and sense of meter.

The piece consists of two parts: the extended sound sculpting of the sonnet, and the recitation (performed by wife, soprano Deborah Norin-Kuehn). The first part lasts ten times the length of the recorded recitation, using the timings of each word in succession, multiplied by a factor of ten, as a "window" for processing multiple instances of the word. The poetic tension level of each of the sonnet's lines is also built in to the work's form. Lines with more dramatic stress are more difficult to perceive as their word "windows" overlap to a certain degree. The amount of overlap depends on the stress of the line: lines with low stress have no overlap, while lines with the highest amount of stress have up to three overlapping word windows. The coda-like recitation reflects this linear tension through its spatial position: hard right for low stress, hard left for high stress.

. . . remembrance of things past . . . was realized on an Intel Pentium-based machine using Barry Vercoe's Csound and various sound editing utilities.


Crossing the Rubicon

Mastering the abstract, freely chromatic style of composition that was de Rigeur in my days as a graduate student was not unlike learning a second language. While I developed considerable fluency in this language, in recent years I came to question its validity as a means of communication between composer and audience. The carefully argued reasons for its development and adoption by composers as the new "common practice" seemed insignificant in light of what I perceived as its hermetic, self-referential quality and, ultimately, its emotional reticence. Thus I was torn between what was deemed "correct" among most of my colleagues, and the growing conviction that this stylistic approach was, at least for me, a creative dead end.

Deeply troubled by this conflict, I withdrew from composing for almost two years. During this time I searched through my formative musical experiences and influences an eclectic melange of classical, jazz and rock 'n roll (the three B's of my youth were Bach, Basie and the Beatles) in an attempt to rediscover the magic and mystery of music that inspired me to become a composer in the first place. Crossing the Rubicon is the fruit of this effort. The title does not allude to Caesar's historic crossing into Italy to wage civil war with the forces of Pompeii, but to its more popular connotation: "to start on a course of action from which there is no turning back, to take a final, irrevocable step."

Crossing the Rubicon was premiered by the California Symphony, Barry Jekowsy conducting.


Density Degree of Intervals and Chords

Paul Hindemith exposed his Acoustical Harmony Theory in The Craft of Musical Composition. Based on natural phenomena of Overtone Series and Combination Tones, the author proposed a different treatment of Harmony and Melody with the concept of dissonance fluctuation. However, some of the physical facts were used in a wrong way. This paper reviews these concepts and suggests a new theory. Legname proposes a visual analysis of the interval waveform graph and the relation between its complexity and the interval level of dissonance. Then, a calculation leads to a substitution of consonance/dissonance polarity with a smooth-curve notion of Density Degree. Furthermore, three analyses, of Bach, Stravinsky and Ligeti, reveal new perspectives and the practical application of this theory, for both composers and theorists.


La soif du mal ... Hommage a Orson Welles for marimba and percussion ensemble

La soif du mal ... Hommage a Orson Welles is part of a series of compositions written in homage to great filmmakers. The cycle includes Wim Wenders, Francois Truffaut, Martin Scorcese, Orson Welles, Claude Jutras, and will end with John Cassavetes. I am an ardent cinephile and feel drawn to those directors who created their own personal language. Thus, I felt it appropriate to honour the artisans of this major twentieth century art form.

Although it is not descriptive music, this piece is directly inspired by the film Touch of Evil, produced by Orson Welles in 1958. I chose the French title of the movie because Welles, who was a polyglot, detested the English title which its backers had chosen, but approved of the French name. Despite the film's having been commissioned, it is, along with Citizen Kane, The Trial, and Falstaff, a rich and personal film, probably one of his most mature and complex works. In the pure style of American film noir, Touch of Evil was adapted from a drugstore novel, Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson. Welles plays a dishonest, corrupt and decadent sheriff. Orson Welles liked to portray tough characters whose nature was often deep and complex. Here, he displayed himself in all his extremes: obese, his size exaggerated by the low angle camera shots, alcoholic, ugly, dirty and smelly. The atmosphere of this film is very heavy and unhealthy.

La soif du mal ... Hommage a Orson Welles was commissioned by Julien Gregoire, percussionist of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, for his recording. I dedicate it to him, with all my friendship.


Hollow Ground I

One of the more striking qualities of Hollow Ground I is its shape; which has the most rough and energetic material in the first third and then slowly lightens and almost floats away before a short coda of the initial material brings it back to groundedness. Hollow Ground I has been used for the dance, IIxV+, choreographed by Yacov Sharir with painting by Linda Dumont, video by Jay Ashcraft and computer graphics by Andy Dillon and Nate Pagel.

Performances have occurred under the auspices of the Texas Computer Musician's Network, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, International Symposium on Electronic Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Symposium for Arts and Technology, Electro-Acoustic Recital Series (Austin, Texas), American College Dance Festival (Kennedy Center), Discoveries (Aberdeen, Scotland), Center for Computer Music (Brooklyn College), SXSW and SIGGRAPH.


Summer Solstice (1995)

Summer Solstice makes extensive use of Sumer is Icumen In," the thirteenth century English canon which is one of the oldest known examples of polyphony.Summer Solstice makes use of the original canonic possibilities as well as additional canons, counterpoints, and variations. The piece is intended to be evocative of the period of the Summer solstice, the longest day-light period of the year: warmth and smoothness mixed with occasional moments of excitement, and underscored by continuous motion. Summer Solstice was commissioned in 1995 by the University of Georgia Bands, Dwight Satterwhite, conductor.


The Electric Collection: Preserving Music Made in Studios that No Longer Exist

Abstract is not available.

Norman Mason

Mirrors, Stones, and Cotton for guitar and tape

Mirrors, Stones, and Cotton for guitar and tape was composed during a residency at the Hambidge Center and was realized in the Birmingham-Southern Electronic Music Studio. It was supported with a National Endowment of the Awards composition fellowship. The title relates to multiple aspects of the piece including the timbres designed, the environment in which the piece was composed, and the piece itself.


The Age of Reason

The Age of Reason was commissioned by the Lakeland Jazz Orchestra for saxophonist Pete Christlieb of the "Tonite Show Orchestra" and his appearnace at the Lakeland Jazz Festival in Mentor, Ohio, 1990. This piece was later recorded on the compact disc, "New Music From Ohio", by the Lakeland Jazz Orchestra in 1991. The Age of Reason was added to the "Tonite Show Orchestra" repertoire after the premiere in Ohio.

Barton and

The McLean Mix in Asia - a Multimedia Exploration of Perspective of New Asian Music and the McLeans' 4-Month Residency

Imagine a parallel universe where an organization not unlike SCI exists in Asia, and you will have what we found with our participation in the Asian Composer's League International Conference Tunugan '97, held in Manila. This will be an exploration of some unique examples of what is transpiring with the Asian equivalent of new music. Videotape excerpts of a number of countries' presentations will be shown (Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, etc.). Many of these are quite different in form and approach from those in the Western countries, and these differences and similarities will be explored. Also presented at Tunugan '97 was our own work with our 3-month residency in Malaysia, which will also be briefly shown and heard.

Edward J.

Images from the Eye of a Dolphin

The constellation Delphinus is named for a dolphin who, at the invitation of Poseidon, leaped to the sky to marry Amphitrite and become one with the stars.

This work was commissioned by and dedicated to the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Edwin London, Musical Director. It was funded in part by the Ohio Arts Council.


Commercial Timeout

Program note not available.


On Thin Ice for flute and guitar, or flute and marimba (1988)

On Thin Ice was commissioned by The Loop Group, a contemporary performance ensemble which was active in Chicago during the 1980's. The piece derives its material from a series of improvisations by guitarist Paul Hinrichs and myself for several performance organizations at Ohio State University during the 1970's. The original material has been altered, developed, and recombined, using a tone row with limited transpositions and a scale with a pentatonic character. The title refers to several aspects of the piece: the risks involved in creating pieces through improvisation; the risks of juxtaposing several ideas in a short time; and the continuous forward motion necessary in skating on thin ice in order to avoid breaking through.


Icarus Wept for trumpet and organ duo.

Icarus Wept is a five-movement work commissioned by Keith Benjamin for trumpet and organ duo Clarion, with organist Melody Turnquist-Steed. This version of the work is for trumpet and tape only, with the organ sounds on tape. It was funded by a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, "a federal agency", therefore the original concept, involving full frontal nudity, had to be abandoned. The tape sounds are drawn from an impromptu recording session and brain fry in which we came up not only with trumpet sounds of all kinds but also with the formula for a partially androgynacious anodized serial copolymer (patent pending), and a variety of other sounds, such as swirling coins, laughter, and a variety of colorful expletives. The title Icarus Wept was loosely inspired by the legendary flight of Icarus toward the sun and the sudden realization of the fatal mistake. Three of the movement titles reflect themes of Icarus or of the sky ("Getting Waxed," "Climbing the Blue Staircase" -- based on a Native American Peyote Song --, and "Eleven Feet from the Sun"). The other movements: "Somebody Else's Face" and the newest movement "Strap On Your Lobster" have nothing to do with Icarus at all, or with weeping either, pretty much.



At first, this work was intended to only be a contemporary interpretation of the word "lachrymae" (i.e. "flow my tears"). I had no intentions of using the famous Dowland song of the same name as Benjamin Britten did for his viola "lachrymae". But as the work progressed, motives and then phrases of Dowland's song began to appear and become integral to the piece. So much so, that the final climatic section is a layering of each instrument presenting portions of Dowland's song, thus obliterating for a moment, all of my original materials.

Having admitted to the above, I nevertheless wish to have the work listened to with my initial intention. I hope that this work displays a deeper than usual amount of emotional content for the brass quintet medium.


Balada for soprano, cello, clarinet, and percussion

The Balada (Ballad) op. 35 for soprano, cello, clarinet, and percussion (timpani, vibraphone, suspended cymbals, and triangle) was written in 1992. Carmen Tellez premiered it in Bloomington at the First Baptist Church in 1993. The next year it was performed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York under the baton of Joel Sachs. The text is by Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean poet who in 1945 received the Nobel Prize of poetry. The composer has tried to convey the different emotions of the betrayed woman: anger, sorrow, anguish, and finally resignation. The work ends as she sees the lovers disappear slowly in the horizon.


The Starry Messenger for flute and piano

The Starry Messenger, for flute and piano, explores the relationships between the flute - lyrical, then percussive; sometimes sustained, other times in sweeping lines - and piano - sometimes percussive, sometimes matching and sometimes contradicting the lines of the flute.


Improvisation #5

Improvisation #5 continues a line of development begun with my Improvisation #1 for Solo Marimba (1982) and continuing through three other works for solo percussion. The improvisational character of these works is to be found in the rhythmic language of the scores. Gestures are shown to go from fast to slow or vice versa but often in a rather free notation that encourages the player to find his or her own "ideal" tempo. This new "improvisation" is particularly exciting for me as the use of the MalletKat controller allows for the inclusion of sounds that can be "monumental" as only heavily processed electronic sounds (or better, a huge orchestra) can be, and also for performance possibilities not always available in mallet percussion such as bent notes.


New Tricks for an Old Doggerel

Once while driving I heard a set of variations--presumably dating from the nineteenth century--on the American traditional song, Yankee Doodle. I never learned the name of the piece nor who wrote it, but hearing it left me filled with longing for all the variations the composer did not write, and I helplessly found myself beginning to write some of these variations out. This piece is the result of that effort.


Interpretation Through Analysis of Shulamit Ran's Fantasy Variations for Violoncello

Shulamit Ran's Fantasy Variations for Violoncello is representative of the composer's free atonal style. Her works in this style, dating from the late 1970s and early 1980s, are marked by their virtuosity, expressivity, and multifacetedness. Underlying these surface aspects of the music, patterns of symmetry and organization exist which may inform performance of the Fantasy Variations, as well other works by Ran in this style.

Shulamit Ran has spoken at length of her music and her compositional philosophy. She has sought a balance between the intuitive, the "fantasy," and conscious decision, the "discipline." The Fantasy Variations manifests these characteristics through its repetition of thematic fragments, in which no two statements occur in the same context. This composition reveals an organicism, which contributes to its sense of unity and cohesion. In the Fantasy Variations, Ran has integrated spontaneous elements, particularly with regard to the work's motivic recurrences, with an overall sense of inevitability resulting from the work's correspondence between formal levels.

The present analysis incorporates two relations among pitch-class sets. Specifically, this analytic technique considers the set of interval cycles upon which the members of a pcset lie, and the operations which map these sets of cycles into, or onto, those of other pcsets. The first of these relations possesses the reflexive and transitive properties; it suggests a process of resolution from more complex sets of cycles into simpler sets. The other relation possesses the reflexive, transitive, and symmetric properties.

Shulamit Ran's Fantasy Variations makes use of the collection (C,G,E,C#) as the nexus set for its theme. The set of interval cycles upon which these pitches lie represents the underlying symmetries present throughout the work's theme. Each motive contains these symmetries, and each phrase contains a process of resolution from a complex to a simpler representation of the nexus set. A similar process of tension and repose exists on a higher architectonic layer.

The above relations display a consistent patterns of tension and release, based on relative symmetry. These processes may function to inform a performance of the Fantasy Variations. Through them, a performer may identify the work's principal organization and the techniques which will clarify that structure aurally to an audience. Ran has described her music as interrelating the smallest detail and the largest level. The analytic relations presented here reveal such occurrences in the Fantasy Variations. One might anticipate uncovering further correspondences throughout her complete oeuvre.


An Augural Fanfare (1988)

An Augural Fanfare was composed in 1988 for the Hamilton College Brass Choir for the occasion of the inauguration of Harry C. Payne as the seventeenth president of Hamilton College.


T. Rex for trombone and tape

T. Rex [rex is Latin for "king" ... but does the ambiguous initial T stand for "tyrannosaurus" or "trombone?"] is in four connected movements contrasting in dynamics, rhythms, and tempo: soft and slow, with much rubato; loud and rhythmic, in a moderate tempo; soft and slow, with much rubato; loud and rhythmic, in a fast tempo. When I came up with the idea of doing a trombone and tape piece with all the sounds on the tape derived from recordings sent to me by various trombonists around the country, I first approached John Marcellus, who gladly agreed and gave me names of other trombonists to contact. In the end, I recruited four more: Andrew Glendening, Kevin James, Roger Oyster, and Tom Plsek. All five submitted DAT cassettes with an astonishing variety of trombone sounds, which became the source material for the tape music. All sounds heard on the tape come from these recordings or from noises I made with my own very old bass trombone. Dozens of individual sounds were selected and transferred to a Kurzweil sampling synthesizer, to facilitate filtering and pitch shifting, which can be extreme in some places (mvt. 3) or rather slight (mvts. 2 and 4). Another technique used extensively in mvt. 4 involved digitally compressing and stretching the duration of a sound bite without altering the pitch, which allows loops of bizarre rhythmic trombone noises to be synchronized to a Latin-influenced dance beat.

T. Rex has been releasd on a CD entitled Pathways: New Music for Trombone, by Andrew Glendening on the Mark label, Clarence, NY.



Trio (1997) was written for, and premiered by, Trio Indiana.


The Magic Pipe

In Scene I of The Magic Pipe, the curtain rises on a semi-darkened stage. We can just make out the outlines of the cluttered interior of Mother Rigby's cottage. Mother Rigby, a witch, is making a scarecrow to stand in her corn patch. As the lights come up, we hear Mother Rigby screaming for Dickon, an unseen little "devil," who helps her perform her black magic. When the Scarecrow is finished, Mother Rigby is so delighted with the quality of her work that she decides to bring the Scarecrow to life. Using her black arts, she gives the Scarecrow her own pipe, urging him to breathe the breath of life from its smoky depths. (Having succeeded on that score, she goes on to teach the poor creature to speak, dance, and behave in as superficially elegant a manner as any "gentleman" in the town. She concocts a plan to send the Scarecrow, now dubbed Lord Fumante, into the local village where Master Gookin presides as mayor. Gookin has attained his position and rank with the aid of Mother Rigby's magic, but has since neglected to give her the esteem she craves. She plans for Fumante to woo the Mayor's daughter, Polly, and thereby humiliate Gookin forever. The witch gives Fumante a ring to present to Gookin, so that "he may know who has sent thee and by whose black arts he is at last undone!")


Sliver Moon

The ideas for what eventually became Sliver Moon began to coalesce in the spring and summer of 1995, when my family and I were still living in Tallahassee, Florida. Obviously, the first and strongest inspiration comes from Tomas McColt's poem, which is quite imagery-laden in a manner I find somewhat reminiscent of Rilke. As a composer in search of inspiration, I was attracted to the levels of embodiment the moon-image undergoes in the poem: from inert, hanging moon to smiling, winking moon, and, finally, a part of the hand of an indicting God. Perhaps the quasi-fundamentalist message of the poem's last line is not necessarily in keeping with the "feel-good" mentality that pervades much religiously-influenced music today, but I must admit that it was great fun to set such an ominous vision in music.

Musically, Sliver Moon is very straight-forward, partly in response to my desire to reclaim a more direct and choralistic style of vocal writing. The operative term to describe the atmosphere of Sliver Moon is "nocturnal:" the piece begins with a persistent, murmuring piano figure and wordless voices enter with long, drooping, "Spanish moss-draped" vocal gestures (remember that I was living in Tallahassee at the time, so all of my fact-finding moon observations occurred in a very Southern Gothic setting). Compared to other, more traditional choral works, Sliver Moon is not too terribly polyphonic. Instead of the time-honored practice found in so many great choral works of many voices singing many parts at different times, this work is basically many voices singing one part together, so that in places the chorus becomes a sort of "supervoice," with different vocal types providing coloration and support in much the same way as the instruments in an orchestra may double one another.


Trio for trumpet and two loudspeakers (1986)

Trio derives its title from the three distinct sound sources involved in a performance of the piece. Each loudspeaker has its own characteristic timbre, and both of these timbres have envelopes with rather short attack times (most of the time). By limiting the timbral variety and by using sharp attacks in all sound sources, I have tried to focus attention on the rhythmic aspects of the piece.

Pulse plays an important role in Trio. Often, there are two or more pulses present at a given time. My intent is not so much to obscure the beat as to make it ambiguous.

Structure in Trio is determined largely by changes in tempo and in the rate of change of pitch and rhythm. I have attempted to play tempo and rate of change against each other so that, for example, the most rapid tempo does not necessarily carry the fastest music.


Fantasy on Twelve Strings

Program notes not available.


Nu kuan tzu for soprano, mezzo soprano, and eleven instrumentalists (1996)

Nu kuan tzu is a nine movement twenty-two minute piece commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts and completed in 1996. It is scored for soprano, mezzo soprano, and eleven instrumentalists. The textual makeup of the piece is perhaps its most distinguishing characteristic. The work uses source texts (both pre-recorded and sung) from Sung Dynasty "music poems" (in two dialects) in combination with poems by Appolinaire and Rimbaud. Digitally sampled texts are interwoven with the live singers who are sometimes singing in French, Chinese, or combinations of the two languages. Each movement is very different stylistically and ranges from impressionism to microtonal music to pop.


Dialogue in Three Parts for flute and tape (1994)

Dialogue in Three Parts was composed during 1994 for flutist Carlton Vickers, who specified that the work be written for piccolo, flute, and alto flute to an electronic accompaniment.

The constituent three segments of the work are intended to contrast one another, while extending and reflecting one another as well.

The tape part was conceived away from the studio in score and later realized at the Vladimir Ussachevsky Center for Electro/Acoustic Studies at the University of Utah. The relation of the flute to the tape part is intensely competitive and participatory.

Written for flute, the "Chorale" operates very much like a traditional chorale prelude. The "Caprice", featuring piccolo, is the most intertwined of all these segments; it gives way to a contrasting trio which pits the alto flute against a metrically regular accompaniment. The music heard at the beginning of the "Caprice" is again enacted and leads into the "Chorale/Chaconne." This last section returns to the music of the opening "Chorale," but suspends the arrival of the works strongest centric point, C, until the conclusion of the "Chaconne."

John C.

After A Line By Theordore Roethke

In 1992 I first met Marvin Bell. After reading through two books of his poetry, I knew that someday I would set After A Line By Theodore Roethke. I also knew that it would ask a lot of me. My first sketches were during the summer of 1993, and for the next two years I only worked on this piece during the summer when my graduate studies had subsided. In 1995 I took the piece to France and worked on it for 8 months, making numerous revisions of my previous sketches. When I returned to the states, I continued to work on it, irregularly, for 6 months more. I found that the longer I lived with the poem, the more I thought of new things I could do, and the more I made changes to what I had done. And there seemed no end to this process. Finally, it is not that I have finished with the poem, but rather that the poem has finished with me. From it I have learned to shift the boundary of what I thought possible for me; and I know more intimately my current limitations are. And were I to pick up this poem again a few year hence, I would be able to do even more. One day, I might even do it justice.


And What Rough Beast...? for tuba and percussion (1995)

I had for some years been discussing with tubist Gene Pokorny the possibility of writing a piece for him, but somehow it never quite seemed to happen. Then, in the summer of 1995, towards the end of a wonderful five-week residency at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, I found myself with time on my hands as I had finished the projects I had gone there to work on. Accordingly, it seemed like a good time to finally turn out a work for tuba. Somehow writing for unaccompanied tuba or tuba and piano didn't appeal to me, but percussion, which can match the tuba for volume at both the soft and loud ends of the dynamic spectrum, seemed like a natural partner.

The title of this composition is, of course, taken from the final two lines of William Butler Yeats' great and terrifying apocalyptic poem, The Second Coming: "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

How I came to use this passage as a source for a title is perhaps worth recounting. I usually have the title for a piece before I begin to write it, and for several years I have rarely written pieces with "generic" titles like Sonata or Quartet. Accordingly, when I resolved to write a piece for tuba and percussion I needed a good title. It happened that composer Barbara Kolb was also in residence that summer at the MacDowell Colony, and we played a game or two of Scrabble almost every night after dinner. One night she put down the relatively unusual word "gyre," and I began quoting the opening lines of The Second Coming:" Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

I then thought of the poem's famous conclusion and had my title.


Notturno: In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu for violin, alto saxophone, and piano (1996)

Notturno: In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu (1996) was premiered by Maria Sampen, violin; John Sampen, alto saxophone; and Marilyn Shrude, piano on June 10, 1996 in the Bruno Walter Auditorium of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.


Once Mediated Generators

Once Mediated Generators is a subset of my larger composition environment TransActional Composition. TransActional Composition (TAC) is a programmed environment for the generation and modification of music information in real-time. It is currently structured to handle a small acoustic ensemble, the Buchla Hyper-instrument and a composer/conductor mediated program entitled TransAct.

TransActional Composition balances a composed structure of formal features with the improvisation on composed gestural features that are transformed by constrained random operations. The formal structure relies on canonic principles where voices are introduced and then combined canonicially with subtle variation.

Once Mediated Generators uses the Buchla Hyper-instrument and a subset of the TransAct program, this time under the control of the performer. The Buchla Hyper-instrument is the Buchla Thunder MIDI instrument (a programmable MIDI controller), The Korg Wavestation A/D (a multi-timbral synthesizer), and a set of MIDI process and control devices that communicate with the transAct program. OMG begins with the introduction of four instruments, each generating melodic gestures that are recorded during performance. These recording are then recombined and "commented on" during the last half of the piece.

Once Mediated Generators therefore uses TransAct in a one-pass implementation and provides for the generation of music information, the recording, the transposition, duration modification, instrumentation and combination of music components. This "instance" or performance of OMG is called a variable, in this case, Variable 8.


Reflections for bassoon sextet (1995)

Reflections was composed for the 1995 International Double Reed Society Conference in Rotterdam. The work is scored for a sextet of 5 bassoons and contrabassoon, and consists of five brief (but connected) movements, entitled Scherzo, Arietta, Musing, Memories, and Scherzo Revisited. In creating the piece, I started with the title, particularly its suggestions of a lyric, meditative state. I was soon drawn to other interpretations of the word "reflections," however: memory, musing, echo effects, mirror images (canon, retrograde, inversion), and familiar icons of existing music literature whose titles or content are somehow "reflective" -- for example, the Miroirs of Ravel, Reflet dans l'eau of Debussy, the "Mondefleck" of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, Schubert's Der Doppelganger, a perpetual round by Orlando di Lasso, and the pop classic "Me and My Shadow." All of these have found their way into my piece.



Petruchio is a thirteen-minute tone poem for orchestra, inspired by characters in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Petruchio, the play's irreverent hero, forces his way into courtship of and marriage with Kate, the formidable daughter of a Paduan nobleman; the mighty clash of wills which follows creates misunderstandings, roughhouse comedy, and many broken dishes! Petruchio and Kate are seductively strong and vital, qualities emulated in the tone poem.

Petruchio is a study in variation technique: in this case, variations on a rhythmic motive. The motive - four consecutive eighth-notes, the second of which is accented - is a rhythmic setting of the word "Petruchio." This "Petruchio" motive is transformed in many ways throughout the piece: it is lengthened, shortened, reversed, its accented note given prominence through registral or coloristic means. Almost every rhythmic or thematic idea in the piece has its genesis in the "Petruchio" motive.

The work is in four parts. The introductory first part, marked "Powerful, Strident," opens explosively with full orchestra playing the "Petruchio" motive in its original form, followed directly by two variants. The music builds quickly to a climax, after which the full orchestra dissolves in scurrying figures, and the large second section (which depicts Petruchio himself) begins.

The second section opens softly with a theme in the celli, taken up by the woodwinds a few measures later. Two secondary themes appear in the course of this section, the first in violins, the second in the double basses. The "Petruchio" motive is passed through every instrument of the orchestra, the principal cello theme is combined with the secondary themes, and the "Petruchio" motive is subjected to ever more variations until a final orchestral unison passage leads directly into a transitional section.

In contrast with the straightforward nature of the preceding music, the transition is mysterious. Beneath soft violin tremolos, various solo instruments - horn, oboe, bass clarinet, bassoon - appear and disappear, until a harp cadenza introduces the third section of the piece, "Night Music."

"Night Music" is based on a particular passage in the play, one of Petruchio's schemes to "tame" his reluctant bride Kate. The slow music, featuring a solo violin as Kate, is twice interrupted by brass outbursts, as Petruchio would have interrupted Kate's sleep. The harp ostinato at the beginning of "Night Music" is a good example of motivic variation: the "Petruchio" motive is played first in reverse, then in its original order. The solo oboe introduces Kate's theme, which is shared in turn by solo flute, clarinet, violin, and cello. The underlying string rhythms are derived from the Morse code rhythms of the letters "K A T E." In the final portion of "Night Music," some reconciliation between Petruchio and Kate is achieved, as their themes combine in a fervent cantabile duet. The return of the harp ostinato quietly closes the section.

The final part of the work recalls previous material, building toward a powerful ending. Marked "Expectantly," the fourth section begins with the "Petruchio" motive played softly by low woodwinds and piano. Quickly, other instruments take up the motive; and, after a swirling accelerando, the tempo and manner of the second section return. Previous themes appear briefly and are combined in new ways with other themes, while the piece grows steadily toward a full orchestral climax. The tense silence following this climax is broken by the Coda, marked "Presto," in which woodwinds and xylophone careen on the "Petruchio" motive above rushing brass figures. The music pushes irresistibly forward to a percussion crash and full orchestral explosion, ending the piece very much as it began. Petruchio finishes forcefully, then; and, like the play, seemingly on Petruchio's terms.


Fantasy-Variations on a Fragment by Schoenberg (1995)

Fantasy-Variations on a Fragment by Schoenberg was originally a short piano piece, written over a two-day period in 1991 as part of the comprehensive examinations for my PhD. I soon decided to orchestrate the piano piece, and finished sketches within a few weeks; however, because I did not see any prospects for a performance, I did not actually complete the orchestral score until 1995.

The source material for my Fantasy-Variations is the opening of Schoenberg's Piano Piece Op. 11 #1. However, this is not heard as a "theme" in an unaltered form until the coda (in a high violin solo). Rather, the piece opens with a short fantasy on all of the various aspects of the original fragment that will be developed throughout my variations.

There are a number of hidden jokes throughout the Fantasy-Variations. What seems to be the theme (clearly stated in the cellos) is actually the original melody inverted. I likewise mimic a number of gestures taken from later in the Schoenberg original, even the opening of Op. 11 #2. An even more humorous tweak occurs when the pitches of the Schoenberg Piano Piece are superimposed on top of the rhythms of his String Quartet #4. While these jokes are perhaps somewhat obscure, they contribute to the overall sense of quirkiness which the Variations project; perhaps I was thumbing my nose at the requirements of doctoral exams, and wishing that I had more than two days to write the piece.

The Fantasy-Variations was premiered by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra in January of 1997, having been selected from their inaugural Perfect Pitch reading session.

Bob L.


Godcycles utilizes my spoken voice as the instrument; it is a text- sound composition. I sampled myself asking a four-word question, then cut it into its separate words. Each cut of the original sample became an instrument which required a certain note duration to sound the entire word. The piece begins with the first word at a very short duration, only revealing the beginning of the "ka", which expands until the whole word is revealed. By using this same technique for a second set of instruments, which is only the words of the phrase reversed, and overlapping the two sets of instruments, a myriad of voices appear. Toward the end of the piece, a magnificent example of serendipity occurs as the samples congeal in just the right way to produce two answers to my original (rhetorical) question.



Soleil is a setting of Mesomedes' Hymn to the Sun (c. 130 A.D.). In addition to the Greek text, "sun" words from various languages occur in accompanimental passages. The title of the work can be taken as a triple pun: soleil (French), sol (Latin), lai (Hawaiian) all mean "sun." The piece ends on the "moveable-do" solfege syllables "sol" and "le."


Convergences for Harp and Tape

Convergences for amplified harp and electronic tape, was written on commission from the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association and is dedicated to Jocelyn Chang. The tape part was done on computer using both purely electronic sounds and previously recorded harp samples which were then altered via computer. The title reflects the composers concerns in this piece with sound-space and gesture. The electronic sounds are often employed to expand the apparent acoustical size or sound-space of the harp (as well as to create new hybrid timbres), a thread which runs throughout the piece. At the gestural level, the rapid melodic fragments which occur throughout the early sections of the piece merge (some in altered form) into a perpetuum mobile in the latter stages of the work, while the blurred gliss-like and repeated/looping gestures coalesce on the tape part in the coda of the piece.


From the Song of Amergin

From the Song of Amergin, for flute, viola, and harp, is in five sections, played without a break. Three lines from Robert Graves' restoration of the text of an ancient Celtic calendar-alphabet, the "Song of Amergin," directly inspired the piece:

I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff.
The inner sections of From the Song of Amergin are shaped by the twinned images wind/deep lake, tear/Sun, and hawk/cliff. The piece begins and ends with an invocation of "I am".

Commissioned by the Criccieth Festival with funds provided in part by the Welsh Arts Council, From the Song of Amergin was premiered in Pwllheli, North Wales, June 26th 1995, by harpist Elinor Bennett with members of the London-based Lontano Ensemble.

Bruce J. Taub

Adrian's Dream (diabolus in musica) (1996)

Adrian's Dream (diabolus in musica) was written in 1996 and commissioned by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University for the New York New Music Ensemble. The title comes from the book, Doctor Faustus (The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkohn, as told by a Friend) by Thomas Mann which I had just finished reading. The interval of the tritone (diablous in musica) is particularly important in this work, especially B-natural (the "offending" pitch) to F (as well as G-sharp to D, completing the diminished seventh chord). In fact, the entire piece revolves around the pitch B and the number 12 (rhythm and duration as well as pitch and techniques taken from the twelve-tone method of Schoenberg). The piece is in three sections A, B, A' with a repeat of A' followed by a brief Coda.

The following "Author's Note" appears at the end of Doctor Faustus:

It does not seem supererogatory to inform the reader that the form of musical composition delineated in Chapter XXII, known as the twelve-tone or row system, is in truth the intellectual property of a contemporary composer and theoretician, Arnold Schoenberg. I have transferred this technique in a certain ideational context to the fictitious figure of a musician, the tragic hero of my novel. In fact, the passages of this book that deal with musical theory are indebted in numerous details to Schoenberg's Harmonielehre.

Schoenberg was reportedly upset about this, but I actually found Mann's "layman's" explanation of the twelve-tone system or style of strict composition to be quite wonderful in many ways. Perhaps, Schoenberg simply didn't want to be associated with the devil.

Victor Saucedo

Kowit Songs

Program notes not available.

Augusta Read

Spirit Musings for Violin and Chamber Orchestra

Music of all kinds constantly amazes, surprises, propels and seduces me into a wonderful and powerful journey. I am happiest when I am listening to music and iin the process of composing music. I care deeply that music is not anonymous and generic or easily assimilated and just as easily dismissed. I would say that Spirit Musings has urgent, seductive, and compelling qualities of sometimes complex, but always logical thought, allied to sensuous and engaging sonic profiles. Spirit Musings is a version of my Van Straaten Concerto #1 for flute and chamber orchestra.

Spirit Musings is in three movements:
Spirited, clear and energetic
Resonant and elegant
Majestic and lyric


Prayer: In Memoriam Olivier Messiaen for organ (1992)

In the summer of 1992, when I began writing the organ work which my colleague David Gehrenbeck had so kindly requested of me, I soon realized that I the spirit of a recently-departed master was present. Olivier Messiaen, who had passed away that April at the age of 83, was one of the most important composers, teachers and organists of the century. My admiration for the man and his music runs deep. Messiaen's compositions, often deeply religious in nature, are frequently described as expressing a sensuous piety; unique among contemporary composers, he found a common ground between the emotions of our worldly life and our mystical yearnings for the infinite.

Like a subtle incense, Messiaen's spirit naturally pervaded my composition from the moment I began writing it. Just as a speaker paying tribute to an admired person will include that persons ideas in their own comments, so I have included a number of Messiaens musical touchstones, used in my own way, to express my gratitude: the rapturous harmonies, the ear for tone color, the moods of eternity, exuberance, playfulness. In the closing bars, Messiaens spirit ascends into that realm which he had the gift of bringing much closer to all of us.


Magic Music from the Telharmonium Color Video Program with Stereo Sound (1997)

It was 1906. "Get Music on Tap Like Gas or Water" promised the headlines, and soon the public was enchanted with inventor Thaddeus Cahill's (1867-1934) electrical music by wire. The Telharmonium was a 200-ton behemoth that created numerous musical timbres and could flood many rooms with sound. Beginning with the first instrument, constructed in the 1890's, and continuing with the installation of the second instrument at Telharmonic Hall in New York, the rise and fall of commercial service, the attempted comeback of the third Telharmonium, and ending with efforts to find a home for the only surviving instrument in 1951, this documentary provides a definitive account of the first comprehensive music synthesizer.

John D.

Levalloisian Skyscraper

Program notes not available.


Sun Circles

Program notes not available.


Concertino for Violin and Orchestra (1980)

Yehuda Yannay's Concertino for Violin and Orchestra was composed in the summer of 1980 on a commission by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra for the well- known Polish soloist Piotr Janowski. The commission stipulated a relatively short composition and the 11 minute Concertino packs in an extraordinary range of musical ideas ranging from the expressive drama, jazzy textures and calm passages in the tonality of Bb. There is no moment of rest for the violin solo: it requires total absorption from the performer and the listener. The musical language is clearly inspired by the rich violin repertory of early 20th- century Central European composers. This piece, more than any other in his oeuvre, harks back to the musical milieu of his European birthplace. Like fleeting apparitions, thematic ideas swirl around in a great haste. The piece, attempting to avoid the obvious neo-romantic melt down, stops in its tracks rather than ends, leaving the stage with a single contrabass thud.


Five Images for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, and cello (1997)

2.   White on White (Robert Irwin)
4.   Shades of Night Descending (Salvador Dali)
1.   Still Life with Picasso (Roy Lichtenstein)

I have always been fascinated by the correlation between music and painting. Each movement of Five Images is based on a different painting by a different artist. Rather than try to depict the painting in musical terms, I found that the material for each movement came from a very personal reaction to the painting. The five movements of the work literally frame its emotional core.

"White on White" is a direct emotional response to seeing Robert Irwin's Untitled (1967) painting. From a distance, the Irwin painting appears to be completely blank, but it is a complex arrangement of colored shapes, creating an optical illusion of white noise.

The fourth movement comes from a desolate painting by Dali, Shades of Night Descending. The quasi-passacaglia motion in this movement allows the continuation of the melodic outpouring of the third movement. However, any optimism that might have remained is lost in the corruption of the dark corners of the Dali painting.

"Still Life with Picasso," based on the Roy Lichtenstein painting of the same title, humorously combines atonal technique with blatant rock and roll music.


Twilight In A Cold Gorge

Program note not available.

Lang Zaimont

Dance/Inner Dance for flute, oboe, and cello (1985)

Dance/Inner Dance is a study in fives. Written in 1985, this one-movement work for flute, oboe and cello also highlights textural variety, as the instruments constantly re-combine in intricately changing alliances. Although this trio is cast in three main sections - two outer scherzos, principally in 5/8, frame the slower, more luxuriant mid-section, quasi marcia, in 5/4 -- the whole never rests, pressing forward until the very last measures.

Dance/Inner Dance was awarded First Prize in the 1990 Friends and Enemies of New Music Composition Competition. It was commissioned by the Huntingdon Trio, who premiered it in Philadelphia in July 1985, and is recorded on Neon Rhythm - Chamber Music of Judith Lang Zaimont (Arabesque).


De Tierra (1996)

De Tierra was finished during my term as a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, in 1996. The work is part of a very large cycle of works based on the novel Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, which was begun under the auspices of the Fondo para la Cultura y las Artes de Jalisco in 1995. The work was premiered in 1997 at Hofstra University, by the Prism Ensemble of New York, under the direction of Dr. Jeannine Wagar. Thanks to a grant from the US/Mexico Fund for Culture (sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Fondo para la Cultura y las Artes de Mexico), Dr. Wagar recently commissioned me to expand this work into a song cycle for the Prism Ensemble.

The text that I have set to music, is composed of four short fragments extracted from the scene of Juan Preciado's death. The first three fragments, belonging to the same original paragraph, are set for the tenor. The fourth fragment is spoken by the instrumentalists.

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