Sunday, October 22, 2017

Timepiece Orchestration

The original Timepiece is a woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon) written for a friend back in 1996. The title comes from my having loved Dave Brubeck's Time Out album in my early teenage years. Its most famous track is Take Five with five beats per measure, but there's also Blue Rondo รก la Turk with nine beats a measure, with some measures in a 1,2; 1,2; 1,2; 1,2,3 rhythm. The idea of mixed rhythms stuck with me and when I started composing music thirty years later, they were fun to work with, and let me write music that has a fresh sound without being abstrusely avant garde.

The first movement is in measures of 1,2,3; 1,2; 1,2, which is cleanly stated by the bassoon in the opening measures. The second movement is in plain old triple time - measures of 1,2,3. The third movement is in measures of 1,2,3; 1,2,3; 1,2,3,4 with the clarinet laying out the rhythm in the opening measures.

Two summers ago I was able to commission Tal Benatar, a former Rapidan conductor, to orchestrate the piece and these fall concerts are the first performances of that orchestration.

(This post is a first go at writing something for the program. For audio of the original quintet, more history, and early performance notes, go here.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Performance Diary

Here are two pics of the Kenwood Players at the annual Fall Festival in Gordonsville, which supports the local volunteer firemen. It's always the first Saturday in October and we've been doing it for years.

After we did two sets, the Rapidan Pops came and used the same sound system, which is why there are so many mics.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Performance & Composer's Diary

On 9/16/17 we had an afternoon of music I've composed and arranged. Jeff Poole of the Orange County Review, and a great photographer, was there in a private capacity and took these pics so unobtrusively I never noticed he was taking them. (Thanks, Jeff!)

Here's the music room with the 1923 Steinway where it all happened.
While people were gathering and getting their drinks, I played some of the piano pieces I wrote back in the late 80's and early 90's

Here's Karla, our hostess with the mostess, welcoming her guests.
The first number was Mosaic, dating from around '93 or '94, with Dr. Andy playing the lead on cello.
Then with Heather joining us on clarinet we did "Encumbrances of Angels", a poem by Dr. Andy's wife Janet I set to music sometime in the late 90's.
Here's Janet reading "My Tale", a poem of hers I set to music last year.

This pic shows Karla singing "My Tale" with Benjamin joining us on violin. 

I doubled Karla's vocal an octave down in the alto flute.

Lama Tashi was here from Arunachal Pradesh and we did the Mandala Offering and the Om Mani Peme Hung chant from Mantra Mountain, with Stephen joining us on cello.

From this pic it looks like I neglected to give Benjamin the music and he's having to look over on to Dr. Andy's music

Here's one section of the audience with top row from left to right my sister-in-law Carolyn, cousin John, his wife Kate, cousin Ada and cousin Wallace.

In this pic Heather, Andy and I are playing "explorations", a trio I wrote three or four years ago.

Here are Sage, Patrick and Benjamin playing Karlalied, which was written two years ago.

These three are all students at James Madison University and really fine players and here you can see them playing with a wonderful ensemble feel . . . 

. . .  and with marvelous expression

That feeling when you hear your music being played by others and you can just sit back and listen and hear them take it places you hadn't realized it could go.

Taking a well deserved bow

The last piece on the program was Mosaic again, but this time with Heather playing the lead and Dr. Andy playing an accompanying line I added just a few months ago