Just as an update, the first movement of Eternity in Bloom is all done. Still chugging away on the second one. I also finished completing a piece called COLORWALK for string trio and clarinet (doubling bass clarinet). The piece will be read in a few weeks by members of the Distractfold Ensemble, and if that recording ends up all fine and everything, I'll put it up on here along with the score.
I also was able to sing the entirety of Haydn's The Creation on Saturday, March 29th with the IC Choir and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, led by Maestro Lanfranco Marcelletti. That was a great time. We performed it in German, which is interesting, because the piece is traditionally performed in the vernacular of wherever it's sung—which in this case would be English—but it makes for some good German practice, so that's always nice. Lanfranco was amazing to work with—really nice man with a keen musical sense and very inspiring.
On the evening of Wednesday, March 19th, I also had the pleasure of premiering a choral work by fellow composer, Michael Samson (a.k.a. Michael T. Samson, for legal reasons), entitled The Caves. The piece was a stunning work for men's voices (TTBB plus Tenor Solo).
For some reason, I always tend to want to spell the word "recital" with a "b," like the word "subtle.
Anyway... speaking of "recibtals," my Senior Composition Recibtal is currently scheduled for Sunday, November 16th, 2014. Put it on your calendars folks! It's gonna rock. The main ideas for the recital are still in the process of forming and crystalizing, but as of now, I'm planning on doing some sort of "concept show." In other words, a lot of student recitals are generally structured so that students go on stage and perform their music and that's it. There might be a theme to the program or maybe a loose story that's told by the way the pieces are programmed, but generally it's very straightforward. This type of thing is okay, and works for a lot of people, but for me it's very refreshing when I go to a recital and there's something special that unifies the entire thing as a total work of art. Now I'm not saying there needs to be flying valkyries and custom set pieces, etc. But I'd like there to be something to make the experience more immersive for the audience. So by the end of the recital, they've really gone on a kind of journey with the performers and the composer. I remember watching the recital of my good friend Keegan Sheehy—an incredible percussionist—in which he played every piece from beginning to end without breaks, and had special material composed for transitions between works. The recital also included a lot of antiphony, with performers situated on different sides of the stage and throughout the audience as well. The show was also extremely well programmed. I remember the very end where there was this extremely intense piece involving many bass drums. The performers hit the last note fortissimo and then suddenly—Bach on marimba. It was an extremely intimate experience that I'll never forget.
Another memorable "concept recital" was the percussion recital of my friend and fellow composer R. Aaron Walters. This show had the audience seated upstage facing outward toward the audience, and the performers situated downstage facing the back wall of the stage. A divider was then placed at the lip of the stage enclosing everyone in a shell of sound. Small lamps were placed around the stage for dim lighting, but the main stage lights were left off. Foam earplugs were provided in case certain pieces became uncomfortably loud at close proximity. There was also a lot of improvisation involved in the recital, which was wonderful to watch. Overall, the entire thing was a very unified and intimate experience. This is something I hope to do with my recital. Not sure how I'm going to go about it at the moment. There will likely be antiphony involved. I might try something with lighting. Maybe I'll rope off rows toward the back people don't feel sparse and separated from one another, and I'll have more room to surround the audience with players. Maybe I'll seat the audience in the wings of the stage, and do the whole "shell of music thing." Not sure how that would impact recording. We shall see. Anyway, be on the lookout for that. The event is free and open to the public, so if you're in the area then, come on down!
Up next on the radar is a piece for chamber orchestra inspired loosely by themes from La Vida Es Sueño by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. As well as a lot of zen buddhist ideas from lectures by Alan Watts. There will also be Neo-Baroque aspects to the piece (in reference to Calderón de la Barca writing in the Baroque period). The piece is still in its beginning stages, however, and so far I've only sketched out large-scale formal and textural ideas. There are also other ideas to the piece that have yet to crystalize completely. I'll try to keep you all in the loop as I begin to put notes on paper.
Oh! Also, I have some more photos from the performances these last few weeks. I'll drop them in the Photos section this time around instead of putting them at the bottom of the post so they're easier to find. Cheers!