Thursday, August 16, 2018

Music for multiple pianos

I have exactly one piece for multiple pianos, and it's for two pianos eight hands. Eighters Gonna Eight was started in February, 2017, backburnered, returned to in July, 2018, and finished in August, 2018. It's a project originated by Sarah Bob to play with Marilyn Nonken, Donald Berman, and Geoffrey Burleson. It was finished a day before this post, so what I have is crappy MIDI.

There are four movements, taking 21 minutes to play. The MIDI of three of the movements is embedded below.

The first movement is slow to develop, and is originally about hocketed E's passed between the pianos, and the upbeat figures that slowly develop to become the main material.

The second movement is about fast swing eighths and is jazzy.


The third movement is a slow movement, and slow piano music in MIDI sounds about as bad as anything in MIDI sounds, so I haven't included it here.

The fourth movement begins with dorky middle register stabby stuff that resonates on the low strings of the piano, which the secondo players depress silently -- the resonances are not in the MIDI. The stabby stuff eventually acquires a low bass partner that becomes a bass line somewhere between walking bass and funk; at times there are stabby parallel fifths in the bass as well, in tribute to John Mackey. The hocked unisons return as a third element, and at the ending, the resonances return. Bye.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Symphony #7

My seventh symphony has four movements: Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. I wrote in in May to December of 2017. Here is the New England Philharmonic's premiere of Water in April, 2018; it is the symphony's first movement, and it was written first.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Violin Concerto No. 2

Violin Concerto 2 is from 2015-16 and was written for Danielle Maddon, the concertmistress of the New England Philharmonic, which commissioned the piece. In the first movement, both the soloist and all the string sections play only pizzicato, and apparently this is the first time that was done in a string instrument concerto (I could be wrong). The second movement is a chewy slow movement, and the third is a fast scherzo in compound time.

This is the premiere performance from April 29, 2017 with Dani and the orchestra at Tsai Performance Center in Boston, conducted by Richard Pittman. The concerto is published and © by CF Peters.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Préludes Book 8

The eighth book of piano préludes was begun in May, 2017. It is in progress. Each title is the name of a spice.

#71 Paprika is a prélude on a syncopated falling figure, and was written for Talia Amar.

#72 Mustard is a prélude on broken octaves in both hands, sometimes with extra notes, culminating in competing strands of parallel fifths at the end. Here is the crapfest MIDI.

#73 White Pepper takes off on the texture of the B-flat major prélude in WTC 1. Here's the rather wooden MIDI.

#74 Asafetida is about triplet upbeat figures to repeated notes that are approximately at the tempo of my walks around the lakes at Yaddo. Helen O'Leary suggested the title.

#75 Cayenne develops an uneven repeated note figure in octaves that uses swing eighths. Sometimes it feels jazzy, sometimes not.

#76 Jalapeño is about uneven rising lines that eventually incorporate and combine with repeated notes.

#77 Salt is only B-flats. It can be played a half step higher or lower, or a major second higher. In the last case, the name becomes Sea Salt.

#78 Coarse Ground Black Pepper develops a falling figure and uneven repeated notes. Here is the crappola MIDI.

#79 Black Garlic is about flourishes that spawn chords via finger-pedaling. No crap midi offered here, since the finger pedaling doesn't happen in it.

#80 Oregano is the slow one of the book that I can play. L.H. plays dyads in quarter notes, R.H plays dyads in dotted quarters, and eventually a minor thirdy melody emerges on top. The MIDI sounds awful as it always does in slow piano pieces.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Préludes Book 7

The seventh book of piano préludes was begun in October, 2016 and finished in January, 2017. In this book, every title is the name of a color.

Maroon (#61) is about repeated notes exploding into chords. Here is the crapfest MIDI.


Ivory (#62) is about scales and arpeggios just goin' up and down.

Azure (#63) is layered on top of an ostinato offbeat repeated note. Here is the crapfest MIDI.


Sepia (#64) is a study on a rising funk lick. Here is the crapfest MIDI.


Periwinkle (#65) is about upbeat rising arpeggio figures decorating a tune in slow notes.

Slate (#66) is a study on two-note warbling figures that diminish in volume. Here is the crapfest MIDI, which does not do the diminishing thing very well.

Cerulean (#67) is about another generic R&B lick and the sixteenth notes that swallow it whole. Here is the glitchy Finale MIDI.

Canary (#68) is a fractured madcap waltz that sounds suspiciously Second Viennese. Here is Maria Paola Parrini's premiere of it in Cleveland.

Here is the crapfest MIDI.

Emerald (#69) is the obligatory prélude-Davy-can-play, and is a slow one (duh) based on a left-hand ostinato.

Bronze (#70), being numbered a multiple of 14, is music ripped from the first movement of my second piano concerto. With practice, I could probably play this one, too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Piano Concerto No. 2

The second piano concerto was written for Amy Briggs, and commissioned by BMOP with funds from the Jebediah Foundation. It was written in the spring of 2011 at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.

The piece is also on a YouTube compilation album here.

Stolen Moments

Stolen Moments was originally written for string quartet, woodwind quintet and piano and commissioned by the Kaufman Center (Merkin Hall). It was written mostly at Civitella Ranieri in 2008. I arranged it for chamber orchestra (double woodwind quintet, strings and piano) in 2010 for the US Marine Chamber Orchestra, who premiered that version in May, 2011. Boston Modern Orchestra Project recorded it, thusly. The whole piece is also on a YouTube compilation album here.

The first movement assigns characteristic material to each group and then mixes and matches them at the end. That's Sarah Bob on piano.

The second movement sorta kinda channels spirituals and call-and-response.

The third movement is a deconstructed tango.

The fourth movement starts bebop, does a fugato, then a gigue, and then combines aspects of all the movements.