Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I recently found an old box at my brother's house, and, Lo! it contained many of my old hand-inscribed works from the 1980s. Wow, these pieces are pretty wild, although some of them I am still proud of, especially Skeleton with Burning Cigarette for solo guitar (written for Bill Carter), Way Beyond the Looking Glass for solo piano (written for Tom DePlonty), and my Broken Motet for oboe, oboe d'amore, 2 bassoons and baritone voice (written for David Badagnani). I can really see how my music changes through these three pieces, from an atonal style to a "medieval" sound. I am tempted to toss away the rest - most of these pieces seem more as studies than as regular pieces I want to hear again, and that is probably true for anybody that would hear them.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 15:38:43 -0600Subject: Silence. Second chord sounds in world's longest lasting concertHALBERSTADT, Germany (AFP) - A new chord ( ) was scheduled to sound in the world's slowest and longest lasting concert that is taking a total 639 years to perform.The abandoned Buchardi church in Halberstadt, eastern Germany, is the venue for a mind-boggling 639-year-long performance of a piece of music by US experimental composer John Cage (1912-1992).Entitled "organ2/ASLSP" (or "As SLow aS Possible"), the performance began on September 5, 2001 and is scheduled to last until 2639.The first year and half of the performance was total silence, with the first chord -- G-sharp, B and G-sharp -- not sounding until February 2, 2003.Then in July 2004, two additional Es, an octave apart, were sounded and are scheduled to be released later this year on May 5.But at 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Thursday, the first chord was due to progress to a second -- comprising A, C and F-sharp -- and is to be held down over the next few years by weights on an organ being built especially for the project. Cage originally conceived "ASLSP" in 1985 as a 20-minute work for piano, subsequently transcribing it for organ in 1987.But organisers of the John Cage Organ Project decided to take the composer at his word and stretch out the performance for 639 years, using Cage's transcription for organ.The enormous running time was chosen to commemorate the creation of Halberstadt's historic Blockwerk organ in 1361 -- 639 years before the current project started.That original organ, built by Nikolaus Faber for Halberstadt's cathedral, was the first organ ever to be used for liturgical purposes, ringing in a new era in which the organ has played a central role in church music ever since.As part of Halberstadt's John Cage Organ Project, a brand-new organ is being built specially, with new pipes added in time for when new notes are scheduled to sound.Cage was a pupil of one of the 20th century's most influential composers, Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951).Cage's avant-garde oeuvre includes works such as the notorious "4'33", a piece comprising four minutes and 33 seconds of total silence, all meticulously notated.The organisers of the John Cage Organ Project say the record-breaking performance in Halberstadt also has a philosophical background -- to "rediscover calm and slowness in today's fast-changing world".

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Aah What a year

well, 2005 is over. That was the year I retuned to the US. To live.

I worked on a set of pieces for Wind Band. All based on hymn tunes from the...wait for it....shapenote music! Gee, am I still doing that? But they are nice pieces, if I must say so myself. And I do. Three movements - Kedron, Parting Friends and All is Well.

I wrote a work for the Baroque Northwest in 2005 - Loop and Swirls for flute, guitar, theorbo and bass gamba. It was performed October 1 in Seattle. I want to revise it a bit; writing for those plucked instruments is not easy, and I want to make it sound easy. I have many pieces for early instruments, I need to put them into one file someday.

Several choir pieces joined my collection as well - Prospect, Elysian, and several others. I sang in a Methodist church choir in Hamburg and also composed a few works for them. Now that was a challenge and fun! They sang all the music so enthusiastically and so musically. I am really proud of this group!

I also wrote a set of piano pieces, also based on shapenote music.
I went down to Tallahassee and jammed with Charles Baker and Ted Stanley, using a Mac and many lovely software programs.

I guess I didn't write too much more than that last year, this year I will compose a lot more.

Happy New Year!