CHORAL


WAYFAIRING PILGRIM

(TTBB and mixed instrumental ensemble)

7:00 approx. 

2017

In arranging this tradition spiritual, I have emphasized the highly mystical elements of the beautiful American folk tune. This languid setting pairs a men's ensemble with piano, handbell choir, bass drum, orchestral chimes, and cimbasso to create a unique and eclectic set of textures that build using aleatory diatonic cells and musical fragments to paint complex clouds of sound. At the climax, a cacophony of ringing bells, voices, and brass reaches an ecstatic catharsis. 

Ensembles are encouraged to experiment with non-traditional staging arrangements in large, reverb-heavy spaces.

Click here to view a perusal score


LITTLE BOY

(SATB, a capella)

5:30 approx. 

2017

The twin poems “Little boy lost” and “Little boy found” by William Blake are devastating in their simple, direct style, and in setting these texts, I have attempted to take care to present them in a similar manner. The first is approached using carefully chosen dissonance that at times borders on atonality, using a pair of tones that the tenors repeat throughout to maintain a sense of center. The second is set in a diatonic style that retains the mournful chanting of “Father, father,” from the first poem.

Click here to view a perusal score, and use the audio player below to listen to a synthetic rendering.


I KNOW THE STARS BY THEIR NAMES

(SATB, a capella)

3:00 approx.

2016

 

Sara Teasdale's I Know the Stars by Their Names blends many unique themes, from astronomy to love to the "gray thoughts" of men. In approaching this text, I have chosen a simple diatonic idiom. Contemporary cluster harmonies give way to a section that makes use of parallel fifths to produce an eerie quality in the Soprano and Alto voices, before returning to the opening figure for the final stanza, ending on an unresolved chord, just as the text ends on an unresolved question.

Click here to view a perusal score and use the player below to listen to a rending using string samples.


She Walks in Beauty, Like the Night

(SATB, a capella)

5:00 approx.

2015

The rich and ethereal poetry of Lord Byron's classic She walks in beauty, like the night is set here in a modern tonal idiom that moves fluidly through several key centers, relying on a simple, repeated motive to tie the varied textual ideas together. Subtle dissonance is approached carefully, ensuring singability for performers and approachability for audiences. The piece ends on an unresolved, dreamlike phrase that is repeated at the conductor's discretion.

Click here to view a perusal score, and use the audio player below to listen to a reference piano reduction.


HIGH FLIGHT

(SATB & Piano)

SSA Version Available

2:45 approx.

2003

It is almost tradition in the United States to commemorate fallen astronauts using the text of John C. Gillespie Magee’s poem “High Flight”. Accordingly, this setting of that text is dedicated to Michael Anderson, William McCool, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Illian Ramon, and David Brown, the crew of STS-107, which was lost on re-entry on February 1st, 2003. 

The piece is set in 7/8 and relies on a bright piano ostinato to give the music a sense of celebration and soaring beauty.

Click here to view a perusal score, and use the audio player below to listen to a synthetic rendering. 


Silent Noon

(SATB, a capella)

4:40 approx.

2007

An SATB setting of the famous text by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, this a capella piece paints a deeply peaceful pastoral scene through the use of tone clusters that transition to a variety of tonal centers, girded by a set of placid melodic ideas that culminate in a passionate repetition of the text "a song of love."

Click here to view a perusal score, and use the audio player below to listen to a chamber chorus performance.


THERE IS NO ROSE OF SUCH VIRTUE

(SSA, a capella)

4:30 approx

2002

Approaching a text with such a rich history can at times seems intimidating. In setting these words, I have attempted to do so artfully and with respect for the deep significance of each phrase-- indeed, this music moves fluidly to a new, carefully chosen key center as each phrase arrives. Texturally, the piece develops from single homophonic chord structures into a more counterpoint-driven style during the angel's song, before finally reaching a peak at the text "in excelsis Deo".

This piece may be freely performed using this score.

The setting was written in memoriam for my friend Kate Campbell. Please note this on the program.


ORCHESTRAL AND LARGE ENSEMBLE


California

(Orchestra with Tenor Solo)

20:00 approx. (3 movements)

2008

 

Drawing on orchestral textures that pay homage to the music of Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland, this setting of three poems by Walt Whitman is mean to evoke nostalgia and the grandeur of the West. The opening movement introduces primary musical themes in plain, majestic Americana style, and sets the text of Whitman's poem A promise to California-- this movement is ideal as a standalone presentation. The second movement delves into somewhat more dissonant territory, setting the poem Facing west, from California's shores, and explores themes of distance in a stream of consciousness style. The final movement is a 5/4 passacaglia featuring extended bassoon solos, and sets the text of From my last years, culminating in a powerful statement of the primary themes from movement 1 simultaneously with the passacaglia subject, before fading away into the same lonely bassoon passage with which it opened.

 

Click here to view a perusal score, and use the audio player below to listen to a synthesized rendering.


The Young Man's Song

(Orchestra and Chorus)

7:30 approx. (single movement)

2016

The optimistic and hopeful text of Yeat's poem The Young Man's Song is set for full Chorus and Orchestra. Subtle textures in the opening give way to an unapologetically joyful melody, which transitions to a dance-like 6/8 section pitting different families of the orchestra against one another, reaching a peak at the text "I am looped in the loops of her hair". The somewhat darker middle section of the poem is rendered here as a jig-like minor melody that transitions to an emotional yet subtle setting of the text "and shadows had eaten the moon". With grace, the piece quietly winds down using restatement of the main thematic material before ending on an unresolved chord in E-flat major.

Click here to view a perusal score, and use the audio player below to listen to a synthesized rendering.


ODOBENIDAE

(Orchestra)

7:50 approx. (single movement)

2007

Originally conceived as a movement in a larger set of passacaglias for orchestra, I have since revised this work to function as a standalone orchestral piece. “Odobenidae” is the taxonomic family of which the walrus is the only living member. This orchestral homage to these magnificently awkward and beautiful animals uses quintuple meters to create an off-balance sensation. Throughout, a serene, angular melody is used as the basis for each section, including a majestic opening for low strings, a fast-paced 5/8 section, and a triumphant climatic portion that lets the string section shine alone.

Click here to view a perusal score.


CHAMBER


HUMMINGBIRD

(String Quartet)

3:30 approx. (single movement)

2004

During my freshmen year of college, I was assigned a String Quartet for my semester jury, and the result was this fast-paced and frenetic piece, which has remained one of my more popular concert works. Cell-based motive development forms the overall basis of the piece’s structure, which reaches a peak during which the instruments are pitted against each other in an almost cacophonous frenzy, before ending on the simple, almost sarcastic sounding of a simple pizzicato chord.

Click here to view a perusal score.


3 ESSAYS FOR STRING QUARTET

(String Quartet)

9:00 approx. (3 movements)

2017

The conversational nature of string quartets has always been a source of fascination for me, and in my life as a composer, it is an instrumental ensemble that has afforded me a great deal of freedom to experiment with musical ideas-- rhythmic, harmonic, and otherwise-- in a setting that rewards careful and deliberate choices. One of the more revelatory experiences that I have had as a composer came with my Hummingbird quartet, which allowed me to experiment with simple rhythmic motifs as the primary musical ingredient.

In this set of essays for string quartet (I acknowledge my debt to the great Samuel Barber for the form), I have attempted to retain that style of development while introducing more dissonant and colorful harmonic variations. In setting out to write each of these pieces, I have centered on a simple idea, first expressed in the opening meaures-- a upward cascading series of ideas that vaguely rests in an E-flat major tonality. This simple cell, to which the music returns in an almost manic, obsessive manner, is the kernel from which all future music is derived, a sort of seed from which grows the rest of the work.

Click here to view a score and parts. This score may be freely performed using this document.