English Nursery Rhymes

for Toy Piano

2022

3' - 4'

          When I first started writing for Toy Piano, instinctively, I wanted to write Nursery Rhyme Melodies. But what I can say with them, what I have to say about them, and what they have to do with the concert hall took some figuring out. With these arrangements I see the nursery rhymes as the raw material for a piece, and their setting/stringing together more of an improvisatory act.

I – London Bells

II – Ladybird Ladybird

III – London Bridge

IV – Misstress Mary

V – Little Robin Red-breast

VI – Bah, bah, Black Sheep

Graspings

for Cello

2022

1'

          This miniature for solo cello titled Graspings is a fantasy on a specific technique, designed to be challenging for the performer. It is meant to showcase the instrument in an unconventional way, and the abundance of rolled chords are supposed to evoke themes of distraction and over-stimulation. 

Lucid Dream

for Mezzo-Soprano, Soprano Saxophone and Piano

2022

2'39"

           Lucid Dream was written for a call for scores featuring the Odelya Trio. It is based on a stress dream that I had in the summer of 2022. It explores the fear of being observed and lacking control over one’s immediate environment. It also explores the division between inside and outside.

Pastorale

for Viola and Electronics

2022

            Viola (Scordatura IV = B2)

            Stereo Audio

5'52"

 

E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato             

Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante     

Dorme 'l Caprar col fido can' à lato.

On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches

rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, 

his faithful dog beside him.

(Antonio Vivaldi 1725, Translation by Armad D’Angour 2019)

            To many the Viola in movement two of Antonio Vivaldi’s Spring is simply imitating the sound of the goat-herd’s dog barking. This is not just any dog, however, but an idealized dog, one that exists only in memory or perhaps doesn’t exist at all. The Viola line is also more than a sonic object but a role. Its bassline portraying something of the dog’s faithfulness to its master. In this way Vivaldi not only zoomorphizes the Violist but anthropomorphizes the dog. Another interpretation could be that the dog is simply holding the bassline because it is physically below us and we the listener are the goatherd.

            In Pastorale (2022) I try to articulate how this movement not only describes a human-animal relationship but power dynamics between people. Moreover, I want to explore how these dynamics can be subverted through a musical project.

            Written for SPLICE Institute 2022 for a premiere by Elsie Bae Han.

Awake

for Double-bell Trumpet in Bb and Electronics

2022

            Double Bell Trumpet in Bb

                    Straight Mute

                    Cup Mute

            Monophonic or Stereo Audio

4'00"

            Awake (2022) is a theme and variations on the bugle call ‘Le Réveil’. With this piece I wanted to explore distinctions between music, sound, and noise. But more obviously it is a piece about waking up.

          

Framework IV

for Clarinet in A and Electronics

2022

           Clarinet in A

             Stereo/Quadraphonic/Octophonic Audio

8'04"

             Framework IV is the fourth piece in a series of algorithmic works for varying instrumentation. The electronic component consists of fourteen sine-tones which interact with a solo clarinetist. Like many of my other works this work explores prolonged periods of tension.

Dead Leaves

for Piano Quartet

2022

               Violin

               Viola

               Cello

               Piano

5’00"

               This piece was written for a reading session at the University of North Texas, College of Music generously provided by members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

               I wanted to use repetition and variation to evoke autumn leaves falling from trees, which always fall, but never in exactly the same way. I want to draw attention to the passage of time with this image, not only from moment to moment, but from season to season, and within each moment.

 

Fabric

for Saxophone Quartet

2021

               Soprano Sax

               Alto Sax

               Tenor Sax

               Baritone Sax

7’30”

               With this piece I tried to build phrases out of the smallest of melodic cells, saturating its texture. Each section of the piece evokes a different way of weaving melodies to create the illusion of a composite surface.

 

Process

for Celesta

2021

3’00”

               Process (2021) was written many years prior to its arrangement for Celesta. It is organized as seven phrases of thirteen events. Each event is determined by chance, and each phrase has a progressively larger gamut of sounds to draw from. It is a process of revealing.

 

Décor

for Toy Piano

2021

6’00" – 7’00"

               At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the fourth semester of my doctoral degree in composition, overworked by a transition to online classes, and quarantining in my studio apartment, I decided to buy a toy piano. I found comfort in its cheapness, its limitations, and how it evoked the pretentions of a western classical instrument. I wrote many small pieces which failed to capture my impressions of this instrument, until the summer of 2021, when I collated a number of these sketches into this piece. It is titled Décor because my toy piano now decorates my home.

 

If I Told Him

for Four Voices

2021

               Soprano (C#4-G5)

               Alto (C4-E5)

               Tenor (D#3-G4)

               Bass (F2-D4)

Text by Gertrude Stein

7’30”

               If I Told Him (2021) is a setting of Gertrude Stein’s poem If I Told Him: A Complete Portrait of Pablo Picasso (1924). The poem is a series of contrasting stanzas in free verse. Words are repeated and rearranged throughout the text to alter the listener’s perception of language, taking on an almost motivic role. I tried to acknowledge these observations in my setting. The poem is in fact Stein’s second literary portrait of Pablo Picasso. The first was written in 1907 in response to Picasso’s portrait of her (1906).

               This work was composed for zFestival, a virtual new music festival, in the summer of 2021 and was first premiered by Sarah Richards, Kristina Boerger, Thom Baker and Russell Holbert.

 

Framework II

for Fixed Media

2021

               Stereo or Octophonic Audio and Single Screen Video

10’02"

               Framework II is composed of simple electronic sounds, created by waveguide opcodes in CSound and executed by a string of code. The piece is organized into nine overlapping sections of varying length which gradually fade in and out of view. Musical events are designed to unfold in a through-composed manner and with little structural hierarchy. It is the second in a series of works for varying instrumentation.

 

for Amanda

for Clarinet in Bb and Electronics

2021

Dedicated to Amanda Forest.

3’00” – 3’30”

               for Amanda (2021) was written for Amanda Forest on her 29th birthday. The electronic part is a resynthesized excerpt of her own playing. The piece is organized in a long descent, from a point of tension towards a point of resolution.

The Machine Stops

for Flute and Piano

2021

8'30"           

            The Machine Stops, for flute and piano, is inspired by E.M. Forster’s science fiction story of the same title (1909). Forster’s dystopian vision is one of a global engineering failure which many people have likened to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Texas electric grid failure of 2021. The piece was originally written for socially distanced performers using a video conferencing platform. However, it is fine to simply play the piece conventionally, so long as the performers avoid synchronizing with one another.    

 

Framework III

for Harp

2021

4’40”

               Framework III is third in a series of short procedurally generated pieces for varying instrumentation. The harp is retuned to simulate a large collection of pitches which are derivative of a C harmonic series. This broad harmony is revealed to the listener gradually and never all at once. The distribution of each pitch is carefully controlled (as if each pitch were an instrument). Gestures were drawn from their haphazard relationships in time.

 

White Sky Over the Lake

for Soloist and Electronics

2020

               for one player, any number of the following:

               Crotales, Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Tubular Bells, Celesta, Harpsichord, Clavichord, Toy Piano,           Piano

Variable Duration

Range: 1’06” – 11’41”

Average: 6’24”

               White Sky Over the Lake is a generative piece for soloist and electronics. Although the instrumentation is variable it is limited to mallet percussion and keyboard instruments to complement the electronic accompaniment. The performer reads a score which is generated in real time along-side an accompaniment that is also freely generated. Imagine a nearly still body of water and an empty sky. It is not obvious, to the eyes, where they meet or even if they are separate things.

 

for Dancer and Projection

fixed media, incidental

2020

For Danielle Willis’ video dance project ‘Celestial Bodies’.

               44.1K, 16-bit, Waveform Audio File Format

               2 Channels

2’38”

               For Dancer and Projection is an accompanying work for Danielle Willis’ video dance work Celestial Bodies, which also served as her M.F.A project for that semester (Fall 2020). The sound source for the piece, a drone of five sine tones, is decidedly simple and abstract, much like the direction of the choreography. The granulation of this sound-source is inspired by the particle effects that Willis designed to be projected onto her dancer. A simple heartbeat like pulse persists throughout the work, for the solo choreography to be edited to.

               The work was the result of a collaboration between the Dance Faculty at Texas Women’s University and the Music Faculty at the University of North Texas.

 

Sugar Rush

for Flute

2020

For Tyler Shropshire.

3’30”

               This piece was written for UNT Composers Forum’s 24|24 concert of 2020. It was written in 24 hours and written to be rehearsed within 24 hours. I was eating a lot of Halloween candy during the process of composition, which inspired the piece’s title.

 

Four Studies

for Player Piano

2020

4’38”

               These four studies were written as audio-visual pieces for player piano with a disregard for the ability of notes to sustain or be heard. Dynamics are inconsequential as the main subject of the piece is a series of note-on and note-off values situated in time. To fully experience the piece one should pay attention visually to the keys being pressed/lifted and if possible view the midi file itself. A fifty-seven page, conventionally notated score also exists as a conceptual extension of the project. 

 

for Andrew

for Electric Guitar

2020

1’00"

               Written for Andrew Noseworthy’s call for scores during the Covid-19 epidemic.

 

Um, Ut, Ur, Ug

for Orchestra

2020

               3 Flutes (3 also piccolo)

               3 Oboes (3 also english horn)

               2 Clarinets in Bb

               Bass Clarinet

               2 Bassoons

               Contrabassoon

               4 Horns in F

               3 Trumpets in C

               2 Trombones

               Bass Trombone

               Tuba

               Timpani (1 player)

               Percussion (3 players)

                              Glockenspiel

                              Vibraphone

                              Suspended Cymbal

                              Tam-Tam

                              Gong

                              Waterphone (optional)

                              Bass Drum

               Harp

               Piano

               Strings

7’00"

               These orchestral pieces are based on my four piano miniatures of the same title. The pieces were first notated by hand in a small A6 notebook and at first were intended for private performance. They are a good representation of the types of gestures which I enjoy playing in my spare time.

 

Framework

for Orchestra

2020

               2 Flutes (2 also piccolo)

               2 Oboes

               2 Clarinets in Bb

               2 Bassoons

               4 Horns in F

               3 Trumpets in C

               3 Trombones

               Tuba

               Timpani (1 player)

               Percussion (1player)

                              Tubular Bells

               Strings

3’50”

               Framework consists of two layers of music: one which is slowly descending, the other ascending. In both layers voices gently enter and exit at different rates of speed, subtly changing the orchestra’s color over a brief four minutes. Framework was written for a performance generously provided by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the University of North Texas.

 

Whorls

for Bass Flute

2020

For Anne Dearth Maker.

4’47”

               The gestures and motifs in Whorls were inspired by spatial and visual experiences related to spiraling and concentric circles. The sensation of tumbling or spiraling, although rarely experienced is often vividly imagined or dreamed, when we no longer have enough stimulus to orient ourselves. Concentric circles are patterns observed in nature, but also the mind is compelled to imagine them when presented with a perfect circle (the moon on a clear night for example).

 

Um, Ut, Ur, Ug

for Piano

2019

7’08” – 10’08”

               These four pieces were written as miniatures both in duration and scope. They were first notated by hand, in a pocket manuscript book, in the summer of 2019. The final movement is unique in that is uses recorded whale song available in the public domain, as a formal model.

               Um, Ut, Ur, Ug was premiered in Lawrence, Kansas at The University of Kansas, in February of 2020.

 

Two Pieces

for String Quartet

2019

8’00"

               These two pieces were written as a pair of studies on the production of natural harmonics.  Piece A systematically explores intervals which are possible using the first eleven harmonics of any available string. The harmonic motion is from intervallic complexity towards simplicity. Piece B explores the range of notes produced by slow harmonic glissandi, on specific strings. These glissandi are isolated from the bowing patterns of the ensemble.

 

Fuchsine

for Clarinet and Ensemble

2019

               Flute

               Alto Flute

               Clarinet in Bb

               Glockenspiel

               Violin

               Viola

               Cello

               Bass

6’00"

               Fuchsine was written as a companion piece to my solo clarinet work Magenta Variations. The clarinet line resembles Variations II and III from the latter, but dramatically slowed down. The other instrumental parts are based off of a spectral analysis of the excerpt. Fuchsine [fyook-sen] is the name of a magenta dye otherwise known as rosaniline hydrochloride.

Gaudy

for Four Musicians

2019

            variable instrumentation

6'00"

            Gaudy, was originally a plan for an electronic work. Later I adapted the initial sketch into a graphic score. I decided that the gestures I had in mind were so broad and contrasting, that they did not need to be realized in any specific way. Instead they could be a basis for improvisation.

 

SLEW

for Orchestra

2019

               2 Flutes

               2 Oboes

               2 Clarinets in Bb

               2 Bassoons

               4 Horns in F

               3 Trumpets in C

               2 Trombones

               Tuba

               Timpani (1 player)

               4 Solo Violins

               1 Solo Viola

               1 Solo Cello

               1 Solo Bass

               Strings

7’05”

               SLEW was conceived in January of 2019 after I had become accustomed to the sounds of my modular synthesizer. I was enamored with the impossibly slow changes of frequency, tone, and timbre that the instrument could create. The following March I analyzed a recording of my synth in Spear and attempted to orchestrate my findings. It is an instrumental-synthesis project similar to my works Fade(2018) and Fuchsine(2019) which used piano and clarinet recordings respectively.

 

Magenta Variations

for Clarinet in Bb

2018

For my performer, friend, and muse Amanda.

8’00"

               This work was commissioned and premiered by Amanda Forest. It was written in the Fall of 2018 and premiered in the spring of the following year.

 

Surfaces

for Violin Duo

2018

4’00" – 5’00"

               Surfaces is a work for two violins which I wrote mostly to challenge myself as a composer in a specific way. I wanted to create music of emotional depth out of textures and colors which have more potential for decoration. My solution was to explore silence more ambitiously and to separate the work into discrete fragments. By isolating short sections of music in time I offer the listener a method of savoring gesture and sound. The piece is intended for a small, intimate performance space.

 

Fade

for Cello and Ensemble

2018

               Flute

               Clarinet in A

               Violin

               Cello

               Glockenspiel

               Solo Cello

               Piano

5’00"

               Fade is a brief piece for Solo Cello and mixed ensemble. At first the work is so slow that there is little distinction between the soloist and the ensemble. Gradually, from one gesture to the next, a momentum is built, and the soloist comes into focus.

               This piece was written for Orford Music Academy as a contribution to their annual composition workshop. It was premiered in the summer of 2018.

 

Autumn

for Soprano and Mixed Ensemble

2018

               Flute (also piccolo)

               Clarinet in Bb

               Soprano Saxophone

               Soprano

               Singing Bowl in G*

               Violin

               Viola

                              *may be played by the singer, the conductor or a separate performer

8’00"

Autumn is a setting of two short poems by Emily Brontë (1818-1848).

 

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

Lengthen night and shorten day;

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow

Blossom where the rose should grow;

I shall sing when night’s decay

Ushers in a drearier day.

 

O come with me, thus rang the song,

The moon is bright in Autumn’s sky,

And thou hast toiled and laboured long,

With aching head and weary eye.

 

Study on Four Frequencies

for Viola and Singing Bowl

2018

               Viola*

               Singing Bowl**

                              *String IV should be tuned to C3-6cents from equal temperament

                              ** Must have prominent partials at 753Hz, 2104Hz, 3827Hz and 4173Hz

1’00" – 2’00"

               This piece was inspired by the conversations and discussions I’ve had with fellow composers at the Domaine Forget composition workshop in St. Irénée, QC.

 

Masstones

for String Quartet

2018

8’45”

               A Mass-Tone is a pigment in its purest form, painted evenly over a large area. Most often they are painted for the purpose of revealing certain attributes of their pigment such as its luster, consistency or intensity. This work was composed for the Domaine Forget Composition Workshop and for the Ensemble-in-residence Quatuor Bozzini.

 

Six Blake Songs

for Soprano and Ensemble

2018

               Flute (also piccolo)

               Clarinet in Bb (also bass)

               Alto Saxophone (also tenor)

               Soprano

               Violin

               Viola*

                              *string IV tuned down to B2

21’00"

               Six Blake Songs is a setting of various poems, excerpts and proverbs written by William Blake throughout his lifetime. A general open-endedness and an overt mysticism surround these texts and associations can easily be drawn between them. The concept of time is common to all the texts I have chosen to set.

               William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet; painter and printmaker closely associated with the Romantic art movements of the 19th century. He made his living as a commercial engraver in London and also produced illuminated manuscripts of his own poetry. He strove to create a mythology that could encode his own spiritual and political ideals into a prophetic message.

               This work was composed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Music Degree at the University of Western Ontario.

I - .Prologue

‘The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;

The grave is burst, the spires shed, the linen wrapped up;

The bones of death, the covering clay, the sinews shrunk & dried.

Reviving shake, aspiring move, breathing, awakening,

(America 1793: Plate 6; lines 37 – 40)

 

II - Three Proverbs in Canon

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth.

The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands and feet Proportion.

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive

sword are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.

(‘III - Proverbs of Hell’ from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell 1790: Pl.9; ln.48, Pl.10; ln.61, and

Pl.8; ln.27)

 

III - Two Slow Proverbs

Eternity is in love with the productions of Time… but of wisdom, no clock can measure.

(‘III - Proverbs of Hell’ from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell 1790: Pl.7; ln.10 and 12)

 

IV – Dialogue

Every night and every morn

Some to misery are born;

Every morn and every night

Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

(‘VIII - Auguries of Innocence’ from ‘The Pickering Manuscript’ 1803: ln.119 – 124)

 

 ‘Does spring hide its joy

When buds and blossoms grow?

Does the sower

Sow by night,

Or the ploughman in darkness plough?

(‘II - Earth’s Answer’ from Songs of Experience 1794:ln.16 - 20

 

V - The Caverns of the Grave I’ve Seen

Re-engraved time after time,

Ever in their youthful prime,

My designs unchanged remain;

Time may rage but rage in vain.

For above Time’s troubled fountains

On the great Atlantic mountains,

In my golden house on high,

There they shine eternally.

(‘XXXIV’ from Miscellaneous Verses 1809-1812: ln.13 – 20)

 

VI - ‘Ah, Sunflower’

Ah, Sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun,

Seeking after that gilden clime

Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire

And the pale virgin shrouded in snow

Arise from their graves and aspire

Where my sunflower wishes to go.

(‘XX - Ah, Sunflower’ from Songs of Experience 1794: ln.1 - 8)

 

Vice Versa

for Vibraphone

2017

1’12”

               The joy of listening to this work is not to grasp it fully, but to grasp at this or that. When I wrote this miniature I wanted it to be equally fun and enigmatic.

 

Chroma

for Mixed Ensemble

2017

               Flute (also alto)

               Violin

               Cello

               Percussion (one player)

                              Glockenspiel

                              Vibraphone

                              Tubular Bells (C-F)

               Piano

5’00"

               ‘Chroma’ means color, however it is more often used to describe the intensity of a color, or the amount of color reflected by an object. All the notes that were used in this work were gathered from two generative tones, C4 (middle C) and E4. Conceptually, all the notes in this piece are part of a greater harmonic context. The piece is a process of revealing these origins, its colors.

 

Mnemosyne

for Violin, Clarinet in Bb and Piano

2016

8’00" – 9’00"

               Before I found the title for Mnemosyne, my only goal was to create a piece of music that was more poetic than dialectic. Along the way I realized that the new narrative I had found was not unlike the recounting of an experience. I consider it a piece about memory.