solo flute with chamber ensemble (cl, bsn, hrn, perc, pno, 2 vln, vla, vcl)
Tirant Lo Blanc was written for flutist Marie-Hélène Breault and the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal for their Générations 2016 tour. The title, Tirant Lo Blanc is taken from a chivalric romance of the same name, written by the Valencian knight Joanot Martorell, or rather Martorell claims it’s simply a translation of an english text, which has never been found, into Valencian. The text was published posthumously in 1490 and was influential on author Miguel de Cervantes, especially pertaining to Don Quixote, as Tirant the Blanc lacks the platonic and contemplative brand of love, instead full of a more naturalistic, human, and sensual character.
solo baritone, trumpet, trombone, and bass clarinet with string orchestra
Tarantism was written for Loadbang and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn in the Fall/Winter of 2015-2016. The text, both sung and spoken, was drawn from neoplatonic scholarly texts of the 16th and 17th centuries that describe the practice of curing victims of the tarantula bite with music, an ancient practice in Italy. This musical healing ritual was the root of the popular dance of the tarantella. The historical accounts also reflect the idea of music as a magical force, as a piece of music could also be a spell or incantation with the ability to cure the listener. In the drama of Tarantism, the soloist ensemble of lung-powered instruments takes the role of the the musician/doctor while the string orchestra takes the role of the afflicted.
11 players and electronics
Lush was written in the Winter of 2016 for Wet Ink Ensemble. This piece was conceived as a hybrid between concert music and orchestral film music. As a composer of concert music, the attempt to draw out new ideas from mainstream film music may seem unusual, however, as I began exploring the possibilities provided by commercial sound libraries, sampler instruments, and synths, I was drawn to the idea of retuning these electronic instruments to create an electroacoustic part that fills out and expands the chamber ensemble into a bigger, richer sound. The majority, if not entirety, of new film scores are produced using samples along with the occasional sprinkling in of a few live performers to heighten a sense of realism. By creating music in this way, the ideal realizationof this score may be as a recording, where the precise level between live and sampler instruments can be completely controlled.
A second impetus for using an electronic part made from sampler instruments is to facilitate the performance of precise microtones through pitch matching. This method has allowed me include unusual harmonies and chord changes since the pitches of the live instrumental parts are almost always doubled in the electronics.
ob, cl, bari sax, bsn, hrn, trp, bs trb, tba, vln, vla, vcl, 2 cb
This piece represents a departure from my normal way of composing music. The process of writing this piece was as follows:
1. I selected several songs that I enjoyed and knew well: songs that I would often get in my head. These songs were Lyre of Orpheus by Nick Cave, Jesus Gonna Be Here by Tom Waits, If I Were a Boy by Beyonce, Soul Suckin’ Jerk by Beck, and When He Returns by Bob Dylan.
2. I made remixes of these songs to re-imagine them in a way that they might exist if they appeared in one of my dreams. For instance, only a small portion of the song is repeated obsessively and is disjointed or whole sections of the song sound like they being played backwards or in slow motion, etc.
3. I completed detailed transcriptions of the remixes, taking into account instrumental timbre and microtonal inflections.
4. I orchestrated the songs for an ensembles of thirteen instruments.
5. I freely edited and embellished the orchestrations. This stage of the process was not an opportunity to move away from the source material or diverge from the transcriptions, but to move closer to it by using my ear and reacting to the written score.