The Heavy Leaf

This piece was written in response to Naviarhaiku339 – The Heavy Leaf

     See the heavy leaf
     on the silent windless day
     falls of its own will.

This haiku is by Nozawa Bonchō, a haikai poet and disciple of Basho who worked as a doctor in Kyoto. Later in life Bonchō distanced himself from Basho’s school and was imprisoned for a crime. He died in 1714.

The Heavy Leaf was written for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Trombone, Violin, Viola, and Cello.

The Heavy Leaf – Score

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Broken Is The Golden Bowl

Broken Is The Golden Bowl was written in response to Disquiet Junto Project 0442: One Sentence

     Step 1: Choose a favorite single sentence. The sentence should be from prose or poetry, but not a song lyric.
     Step 2: Say the sentence out loud, slowly, several times in a row. Consider its shape, its tone, its cadence, and its content, and how these connect with each other.
     Step 3: In some way that you can understand, map the exploration of the sentence from Step 2.
     Step 4: Compose a piece of music that follows the map from Step 3. Note that the finished piece shouldn’t (or better yet: needn’t) include the spoken sentence (that is, it’s best if it’s purely instrumental), and it might last much longer than the sentence would take to say out loud.

Broken Is The Golden Bowl used the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe in his poem, Lenore.
     Ah, broken is the golden bowl!
     The spirit flown forever!
     Let the bell toll! — A saintly soul
     Glides down the Stygian river!

Broken Is The Golden Bowl was written for Clarinet, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass.

Broken Is The Golden Bowl – Score

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Bright The Full Moon Shines

This piece was written in response to Naviarhaiku334 – Bright the full moon shines

     Bright the full moon shines:
     on the matting of the floor,
     shadows of the pines.

This haiku is by Takarai Kikaku, one of the most accomplished disciples of Matsuo Bashō. He was famous also for writing a manuscript describing his master’s final days, and the immediate aftermath of his death.

The haiku suggested to me a choral piece. Of course, I need a chorus, but that’s life.

Bright The Full Moon Shines was written for Chorus, Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass.

Bright The Full Moon Shines – Score

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A Wild Sea

This piece was written in response to Naviarhaiku333 – A wild sea-

     A wild sea-
     In the distance over Sado
     The Milky Way.

This haiku is by Matsuo Bashō. During the journey that would result in his masterpiece, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Basho stopped at Izumo Point on the Japan Sea and gazed out to Sado Island which, at that time, was infamous as a place of exile.

A Wild Sea was written for Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet, trombone, Bass Trombone, Gong, Cymbals, Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass.

A Wild Sea – Score

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Individual 1 (Living Under Occupation)

Individual 1 (Living Under Occupation) was written in response to Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan

     Step 1: There is just one step this month: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center.
     Background: You might simply interpret that instruction as you choose to. For additional context, you might consider this centerpiece a surprise, or you might hint at it at the opening. It might be a gap, or a presence, or something in between.

At the moment there are over one and a half million confirmed cases of Americans contracting COVID-19, and within a few days the death count will reach 100,000.

However, at the center of everything is a leader with a serious psychological condition that demands him to be at the center of everything.

Accordingly, a Trombone with limited vocabulary is challenged by a Clarinet attempting to inject logic, only to be ignored by a chorus of sycophants.

America is living under occupation.

Individual 1 (Living Under Occupation) was written for Clarinet, Trombone, Harpsichord, Accordion, and Chorus of Sycophants.

Individual 1 (Living Under Occupation) – Score

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The Bell of Life Passing – For a Lucky Dawg

This piece was written in response to Naviarhaiku332 – from evening mist

     from evening mist
     the bell
     of life passing

This haiku is by Issa: during his lifetime he wrote over 20,000 haiku, hundreds of tanka, and several haibun.

This piece is dedicated to Lucky, a rescue greyhound adopted by my daughter and her family – the best dog anyone could ever hope for.

The Bell of Life Passing – For a Lucky Dawg was written for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trombone, Tuba, and Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass Voices.

The Bell of Life Passing – For a Lucky Dawg – Score

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Peaks of Cloud

This piece was written in response to Naviarhaiku331 – Peaks of cloud

     Peaks of cloud:
     The ship has crossed
     A windless sea.

This haiku is by Natsume Soseki, whose literary career started in 1903 with a series of haiku and renga published on various literary magazines.

Peaks of Cloud was written for Vibraphone, bowed Vibraphone, Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass.

Peaks of Cloud – Score

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A White Feather Fell

This piece was written in response to Naviarhaiku330 – A bird flew past

     A bird flew past
     very close
     a white feather fell

This haiku is by Mats Unden, a Swedish visual artist, sound artist, musician, and experimental composer, based in Darwin, Australia. Being a visual artist and a printmaker as well, some works end up in performances, videos and installations.

A White Feather Fell was written for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Trombone, three Vibraphones, bowed Vibraphone, Soprano, Alto and Tenor Voices, Violin and Viola

A White Feather Fell – Score

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Rhetorical Difference

Rhetorical Difference was based on an abstract image which I found to be open to interpretation. As I tried to get my mind around it I decided to go with something inspired by Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question.

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