Hello. Here you'll find my original compositions. You can hear each piece by clicking on "listen" and see the score by clicking on "see." Except as noted, these pieces were written using Finale on a Dell laptop parked next to my 1907 Baldwin upright. (No MIDI interface on that!) Most of what you hear are computer approximations using synthesized or sampled instruments. Some pieces are played back using Finale 2010 with Garritan Instruments and converted to .mp3 through Audacity. The intent is so you'll hear "sort of" what they might sound like when performed by live musicians. But there's no substitute for real people playing real instruments, so let me know if your group would like to play any of these tunes. Contact me for the individual parts at no charge. You're free to print and play any of my music, but if you do I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for visiting.
Most recent addition: "Glass Is Melted Sand" (Oct 30, 2016) Scroll down for it.
Acylindrical Helix (flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, trumpet, horn, timpani, strings - 5'14") "listen" "see" A helix has a constant angle to the horizontal. "Acylindrical" indicates it has no fixed center axis. This piece resolves to a-minor throughout (analogous to the constant angle) but it has time, tempo, and instrument variance (analogous to no fixed center).
Adventitious Buds (flute, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, two horns, trombone, tuba, timpani (four kettles), piano, strings - 7') "listen" "see" They're the little buds that grow below a wounded or cut branch. Metaphor for perseverance, tenacity, regrowth after tragedy. Also new friends made after a loss (best buds, hey bud how ya doin', buddy can you spare a dime). Inspired by William Carlos Williams' The Locust Tree in Flower. The sharp, short chords indicate injury but at least one instrument continues its sound through the insult. New instruments enter in small clusters, slowly consolidating the ensemble. Mysterious unorganized rumblings permeate as the underlying tissue regroups. Further wounds test the organism. Piano's regular sixteenth-notes coordinate progress. Tympani solo announces a breakthrough. Yet another trauma, but a quick cure precipitates the final major chord. You can also see the scrolling score at YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3bv55xsNLc&feature=youtu.be
After Ojai (vln1, vln2, vla, cello - 4'18") "listen" "see" For weeks after the Ojai Music Festival the local oaks and sycamores resonate with Adams ostinati, Lygeti texture, and Messiaen birdsong. (Finale 2010)
As Was (solo jazz piano - 3'9") "listen" "see" But is it really jazz? What is jazz? What do genres really mean these days? You can see the scrolling playback at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlqmXhRT_xU
Aurora (Dawn) (flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, trumpet, horn, timpani, strings - 3'12") "listen" "see" A lone flute gently signals the impending sunrise. Soft lower strings awake with minor harmony. Oboe objects. Other woodwinds argue groggily. Brass complain. Tympani tries to referee. They all finally resolve and exult as the sun appears. Intensity rises as the sun soars to a new day! (Um, maybe that description is a little too dramatic.)
Be My Honey(bee) (SATB, tuba, 2'17") "listen" "see" A jazzy tune for choir and tuba. Performance suggestion:
Tubaist tubist Tuba player can wear a bee costume (a la John Belushi), or at least the antennae.
Bevanesque (solo piano - 5'11") "listen" "see" Bevan Manson is a great pianist and composer; both jazz and classical. Here's a piece in which I try to blend jazz and classical, inspired by one of his recent recitals. It's being performed here by Finale 2010b through the Garritan Steinway VST.
Folk Song Stew (vln1, vln2, vla, cello - 3'14") "listen" "see" How many can you identify? Turkey in the Straw, Simple Gifts, Boil Them Cabbage Down, Wabash Cannonball, Orange Blossom Special, Shenandoah, Arkansas Traveler, and Shave and a Haircut.
Good Grief, Raul! "see" Not a composition. Well, it sort of is. The teacher gave us a melody and we had to harmonize it and analyze the chords. That which looks like a European seven is actually an "F" (and not the musical note F!). I transferred to mechanical engineering soon after this.
Grocery List "see" Not music, but the grocery list I use during my weekly shopping expedition. Several fellow shoppers have noticed it and asked about it, so I offer it here for free download in Excel format so it may be customized as desired. I print it on both sides of a sheet so it's good for six trips.
High Flyin' Flag "see" Not music, but a prize-winning essay I wrote about a childhood musical experience. Teachers have such a huge influence on us.
In the Piano "see" Not music, but a short story I wrote where a Chickering has a major role.
March (vln1, vln2, vla, cello, bass - 3'25") "listen" "see" I always wanted to be in a marching band, but they didn't have violins in the marching band. So I wrote this, even though it will be hard to march while playing it. Ojai Sinfonia played this in Nov '08 (while seated).
Misadventures 'neath a Cloudless Sky (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, tympani, strings - 4'54") "listen" "see" The rambunctious introduction punctuated by bass pizzicati and percussive outbursts leads an array of feisty phrases until the tympani demands calm. The pleasant melodies in the second half are ultimately overcome by the intro's dissonant reprise.
Observations on the Ventura Pier (SATB choir and string orchestra - 7') "listen" "see" "lyrics" I previously wrote the string quartet "The View from the End of the Pier" and subsequently expanded and added lyrics. You won't hear actual words being sung (just ahs) so look at the score as you listen to the audio. The sustained tones about two minutes in are background while kids shout out various sightings. This might go well as a multi-media event accompanied by pictures of the pier and its surroundings.
Pittosporum (piano, bass, drums - 4'54") "listen" "see" How do you pronounce Pittosporum? You'll hear options at about 3'15". It's a pretty shrub with a funny name. This performance is by Finale 2010b. Maybe someday a real combo will play it.
Raquel's Interview: "listen" Not a composition, but an interview with my mother about early days of the Tango.
Stringmobile - not a composition, but a picture of a decorative use for used strings. "see". Cuerdas viejas need not die. They can evolve from performance art to visual art (and thereby stay out of the landfill). As the assembly hangs in my office, I see color, texture, form, space, shape, and line, plus the added value of memories of performances (including a few wrong notes) continuing to resonate. And, like a stalactite, it grows every year, as it’s augmented by the veteran Dosorela string quartet retired from my viola. (I originally wrote: "Hanging in my office, I see..." but that may have been misconstrued.)
The View from the End of the Pier (vln1, vln2, vla, cello - 4'15") "listen" "see" (Composed and produced in Finale 2010.) One can see a variety of scenes and activities from the end of the Ventura pier. Tonal. Sort of folk music or prayer like.
They're There for Their Theremins (vln1, vln2, vla, cello - 4'48") "listen" "see" (Composed and produced in Finale 2010.) The Theremin is a rare electronic instrument you may have heard in science-fiction movies. I attempt to evoke its quality through strings. Imagine the musicians have lost their Theremins early in the piece. They march to find them and succeed. (Actually, I came up with the title first due to my annoyance with the frequent misuse of these words and then wrote the piece for it.)
Viola Alone IV (vla) "see" Unaccompanied viola. No recording yet (too hard for me to play).
Violas on Broadway! (four violas - 7'3") "listen" "see" It's an overture to an as-yet-unwritten musical, previewing the themes to be heard in more detail later. The individual song titles appear on the score. I've attempted to distribute the leads among the four instruments. So, to promote equality and avoid the hierarchy associated with a number sequence, I've identified the four parts as Do, So, Re, and La rather than one through four.