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Large Ensemble Chamber Vocal Electroacoustic

Chamber Ensemble

Fading Light for woodwind quintet (2009) Tara Byrdsong, Flute  Noah Tucker, Oboe  Kaci Schick, Clarinet Kristin Gates, Horn  Austin Way, Bassoon MP3 Fading Light began as a memorial to my grandmother who died in early 2009.  As her health declined, she began to gradually lose her mental faculties as well as her ability to carry on meaningful conversations.  She would often babble incoherently or begin a lucid thought only to trail off incoherently.  This piece is not intended as a programmatic work.  Instead, its premise is an inability to hold a single idea for an extended period.  There are frequent interruptions and tangents but all the musical material is through composed and developed.  The music searches for a sense of resolution but is foiled by its own internal motion. Nearer... for flute, clarinet, cello, piano (2009) Quadrivium MP3 Nearer. . . was written in June 2009 as the inaugural commission by Quadrivium.  The word “nearer” takes a double meaning in this work.  It refers to the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee,” which forms the basis of the musical material, as well as the foiled attempts to perform an unadulterated version of the melody.  The lone and level sands for piano trio (2009) Lauren Wells, violin  Mark Stauffer, cello  Kari Johnson, piano MP3 A desolate reimagining of the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem “Ozymandias.” Silent Sphere for amplified flute and piano (2008) Rebecca Ashe, flute  Xu Zhou, piano MP3 This piece is about the transformation of astronauts from engineers to artists.  It begins in a mechanical, cramped environment and opens into an organic, spacious vista.   Astronauts spend many years preparing for a mission to space in a cramped vehicle only to be shown a view of unparalleled beauty.  As numerous astronauts have reported, their training did not prepare them for the grand spectacle of the Earth seen from space.  Charles Walker, American space shuttle astronaut, reported: “My first view- a panorama of brilliant deep blue ocean, shot with shades of green and gray and white- was of atolls and clouds.  Close to the window I could see that this Pacific scene in motion was rimmed by the great curved limb of the Earth.  It had a thin halo of blue held close, and beyond, black space.  I held my breath but something was missing- I felt strangely unfulfilled.  Here was a tremendous visual spectacle, but viewed in silence.  There was no grand musical accompaniment; no triumphant, inspired sonata or symphony.  Each one of us must write the music of this sphere for ourselves.” Written for and premiered by Rebecca Ashe. Rachel Dances for saxophone sextet (sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass) (2006) Thailand Saxophone Ensemble MP3 Shyen Lee, saxophone professor at Mahidol University, asked me to write a piece for the Thailand Saxophone Ensemble that uses all the saxophone types in their arsenal, from sopranino to bass.  The genesis of the piece comes from Shyen Lee’s daughter, Rachel.  While attending a wedding, I had the opportunity to watch his precocious young daughter, Rachel, spinning exuberantly about the dance floor to the music of a jazz band.  This image, an unbalanced, frenetic, jazzy spinning became the inspiration for the piece.  The saxophones trade jazzy, screaming licks and the music grows ever wilder while Rachel dances. Prelude and Fugue after Bach for unaccompanied Bb clarinet or alto saxophone (2006) Cheryl Melfi, clarinet MP3 I have always been enamored with the music of Bach.  Bach’s fugues and cello suites excite me as wonderfully intricate, dense pieces.  Bach loves to superimpose multiple lines on one to create a compound melody.  While listening to Bach’s music, a question dawned on me: Is it possible to adapt these styles to an instrument capable of playing only one note at a time? The Prelude of Bach’s G Major cello suite opens with a G major arpeggio that becomes the basis of my Prelude.  I use the intervals of the arpeggio freely to build sequences of rising pitches, and intervals not from the arpeggio to create falling lines.  My Fugue is built using the same interval selection as the Prelude but features compound lines with much greater density.  The original clarinet version was written for Cheryl Melfi and the alto saxophone version is for Shyen Lee. Fantasy in Black for clarinet choir (2006) Mahidol University Clarinet Ensemble with Cheryl Melfi, solo clarinet MP3 This is a short arrangement of the folk tune “Black is the Color.”  It is scored for solo Bb clarinet and 4-part Bb clarinet choir. Written for and premiered by Cheryl Melfi and the Mahidol University Clarinet Ensemble. Sin-ka-lip' for brass trio, piano, and narrator (2005) Joseph Bowman, Trumpet  Leslie Hart, Horn  Supapach Santitammarak, Trombone  Eri Higashide, Piano   Daniel Eichenbaum, Narrator MP3 This is a retelling of a famous Coyote story.  The text is from the Bison Books edition of Mourning Dove’s Coyote Stories.   Commissioned and premiered by Mark Lammers for Trio Capricio. Fun and Games for woodwind quintet (2003) Fünf MP3   In 2003, I suffered a bout of a rare mental condition known as Composerus Seriousitis. Symptoms of this disorder include an intense desire to write deep, meaningful music, an over- whelming urge to distance oneself from any music that is less than the “High Art,” and an innate need to “suffer” for one’s Art.  In an effort to exorcise my mental condition, I set out to write Fun and Games as a way to recapture the sheer joy of writing a piece that poked fun at itself and never once threatened to be “High Art.”