(Do people still say word up?)
Lots has happened over the last few weeks! On May 30th I went down to Port Washington, NY, on Long Island to see my Lullaby of the Iroquois performed by the Guggenheim Elementary Chorus and the Paul D. Schreiber High School Choir. The performance was quite a success, and rocked my socks, so to speak. I am truly honored to have had such a dedicated performance from these singers! I hope this will be the first of many successful collaborations between Paul D. Schreiber High School and the Ithaca College Composition studios! Along with the performance, the singers gave me a really special gift of a framed copy of the score to the piece signed by all the members of the choir. I'll keep this thing forever, ha ha! Thanks, everyone! You can see a close-up of the signed score on the Lullaby of the Iroquois page here on my site. As far as the lullaby goes, I'm going to try to get a couple of arrangements of it out, maybe SSAB and SATB, since it's current instrumentation is somewhat uncommon. Be on the look out for those in the coming days.
After the concert, my family and I ended up taking the ferry back to New London, CT on the way back. Don't have any pictures from the ferry, unfortunately. The trip across the sound was nice though. I'd missed the smell of the ocean (up in Ithaca, all we have are lakes), and for someone who hasn't been on a boat in like eight years or so, it was really refreshing to go out on the water, even if it was just a ferry ride (admittedly, by the end it almost felt like I was getting off the S.S. Anne).
In other news, I've written a couple of nocturnes for my first collection of them. I think the plan there is gonna be to write a set of fourteen and then take a break from them, and then eventually write the other fourteen at some future time. I've settled on fourteen so I can separate them into "Fortnights," which I think is a cool way of naming nocturnes, ha ha.
Along with the other projects I mentioned in my previous post, I'm adding another song cycle to the list (I know, right?). My voice professor, Ivy Walz, is becoming a mother very soon, and I thought I'd surprise her with a funny little song cycle using some of Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children (so hopefully she isn't reading this, since it will spoil the surprise). The tales contain a lot of ridiculous dark humor based on 19th century sensibilities. One story, for example, details a boy who "ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion." In fact, most of the stories, I think, were made to scare children into following rules. I mean, if as a child you heard the story of Matilda, who "told Lies, and was Burned to Death," would you ever again tell a lie in your life? I should hope not, ha ha.
A lot of the stories are somewhat gruesome, but when you take into account the time in which they were written, a time when, for example, it was perfectly acceptable for schoolboys to be punished by beating, it makes more sense. And, to be clear, these aren't meant to be sung to children, or at least not in a way that should scare them. Although when you really think about some of the nursery rhymes that are sung to children, they can be somewhat frightening....
Well, anyway, as I said, the songs as I'm writing them are meant to poke fun at the ridiculous ideas adults would use back in those days to get their kids to follow rules. Haven't settled on a title for the collection yet, but it'll probably be something ironically innocuous like bedtime stories or something, ha ha (and if I'm reeeeeeally lucky, Ivy might sing them for me some time next year. March maybe? Diane Birr on piano? We'll see).