Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME)
05/06/15 – Oberlin, OH – Oberlin Conservatory, Warner Concert Hall
Aram Mun, flute
Natalia Badziak, viola
Eliot Haas, cello
Annie I-Lin Tsai, piano
Timothy Weiss, conductor
Waxen retains material from a previously composed duet of mine for violin and viola entitled Cantus. Both the sound world and technique of arpeggiating over the open strings is here composed in a more rigorous manner transformed from a formerly improvised texture to one that is more controlled. Waxen also strives to rework the form of the baroque minuet; the traditional form: I, II, I, III, I da capo is reconstructed by way of misplaced repetitions and eliding material. This scheme is additionally interrupted by an interlude and bagatelle. This “trite” dance form consisted of quick steps and jumps performed at court, and was often found at the tail-end of baroque dance suites as a sort of palate cleanser. The transformation of this dance in Waxen engenders (I hope) a more current and personal expression of the minuet form.
Brossard Dictionary (1703) Minuet definition:
“…a kind of dance, the steps whereof are extremely quick and short, it consists of a coupe, a high step and a balance; it begins with a beat, and its motion is triple…”
Currently working on a new piece for Clarinet and Bassoon duet entitled …ist gang verderbt (is completely corrupted) for friends Zachary Good and Benjamin Roidl-Ward. The score and recording will be posted once they are finished, see below for program notes and more specifics that may be of interest, enjoy!
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, J.S. Bach
Passus “having suffered” is a word describing the musical affect that J.S. Bach undertakes in his chorale prelude for organ solo “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt” (through Adam’s fall is all corrupt), which was a popular hymn (written by Lazarus Spengler) set by Bach and many of his contemporaries to music for congregational singing. Though the text describes salvation, Bach’s work is highly chromatic with meandering and serpentine figures above a bass line that descends by the dissonant interval of a 7th over and over again. In this duet for clarinet and bassoon, Bach’s sound-world is alluded to and makes up most of the palette throughout a set of 12 chorale variations. These variations elide into my own harmonization of this famous chorale by way of a tremulant, a device on a pipe organ that varies the wind supply to the pipes creating a trembling and variable sound. In essence, my re-imagining of this chorale retains much of the affect of the original, yet I’m not aiming for an overtly despondent tone. The Fibonacci sequence of numbers: (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21) dictate many of the proportions of this duet as well as interrupting some of the larger scale events taking place. Just as the spirals inside of a seashell correspond to the proportions of Fibonacci numbers, I have in this duet created a natural shell that has broken, fractured and collapsed on itself. Perhaps one could imagine a beach covered in such rubble and wreckage following Spengler’s last stanza. “For my feet your holy word is a blazing lantern, a light that shows me the way forward; as this morning star rises…”
The Emissary Quartet (flute quartet) will be playing a newly wrought arrangement of my piece Wedge originally for flute trio on April 20, check out their website above for more specifics. Below is a performance of Wedge taken during my senior recital at the Oberlin Conservatory, enjoy!
Check out composer and friend David Bird‘s new work “drop”, a real doozy, enjoy!
Pianist Kyle Dee Johnson will be performing my piano solo /Hush/ on April 14 at UW Madison. Check out Shuhui Yin performing /Hush/ around a year ago in the video below, enjoy!