Welcome! Here are recordings of the superb performances of my music given by my faculty colleagues, students and guest performers of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, given at a Faculty Composition Recital, March 26, 2016 in the Jacobs School’s Auer Hall. The score links open a pdf file in a new tab. Enjoy! (Complete program notes below).
Or listen as a SoundCloud playlist
Welcome Prayer: Unitarian Universalist Church Choir, Susan Swaney, director. Score
Unwinding the Wind (2016 — premiere): James Pellerite, Native American flute. Score
2 Piano Preludes:
Prelude 1996 — “rough, ornery”. Score
Prelude 2015 — “chromamonody (sweet colorline)” (premiere): Don Freund, piano. Score
Random Acts of Kindness (2015): Otis Murphy, soprano saxophone; Don Freund, piano. Score
Sonapartita (“Noch Nach Bach”) (2001): Grigory Kalinovsky, violin; Don Freund, piano. Score
No Pressure to be a Giraffe (2014): Kathryn Lukas, flute; Howard Klug, clarinet; Thomas Walsh, alto saxophone; Brandon Vamos, cello. Score (includes painting)
Southwinds for 18 winds (1994): Faculty/Student wind ensemble, Don Freund, conducting. Score
Julianna Eidle, Piccolo; Kathryn Lukas, June Kim, Nicholas Norris, Dara Freund Stucker, Flute
Robin Meiksins, Alto Flute; Kathleen Carter & Mayu Isom, Oboe
Howard Klug, Luke Folse, Keith Northover, Amy Humberd, Sofía Potdevin Afanador, Clarinet
Otis Murphy, Tenor Saxophone; Andrés Lizano, Baritone Saxophone
Eric Dumouchelle & Anson Carroll, Horn; Kathleen McLean, Bassoon
Welcome Prayer was composed for the wonderfully energetic and enterprising choir of Bloomington’s Unitarian Universalist Church under the inspiring direction of Susan Swaney. It is a setting of a pastoral prayer by Clarke Dewey Wells, an author of four books of poetry and well-known essays whose career included an interim pastoral position at Bloomington’s UU Church.
Welcome to this house of continuity,
sacred memories, aspirations, hope.
A place of anchorage, criterion, perspective;
open to larger resources of mind and spirit,
reflecting a glory beyond our own devising.
A place of peace and deep quiet
to invite the centering of our souls.
After a distinguished career including serving as solo flute with the Philadelphia orchestra and Professor of Flute at the Jacobs School of Music, James J. Pellerite has pursued a new career — performing contemporary music on the Native American flute. His mission is to bring the haunting expressiveness of this instrument to a new sphere of classical identity. Unwinding the Wind was written to display some of the tremendous sound vocabulary and magical drama Jim has created with this instrument.
The Piano Preludes are an ongoing series of annual short piano pieces, begun in 1990; Prelude ’96 (rough, ornery) focuses on a boogie-woogie moto perpetuo bass line, whose “ornery” roughness is amplified by a series of rugged textural variations before suddenly melting into a 4-against-3 walking bass line counterpointed by a pearly Baroque trumpet riff. Prelude 2015 — chromamonody (sweet colorline) is almost entirely a monophonic line; the color comes from the progressing relationships of the pitches on the spectrum of 5ths.
Even though the fervent song that forms the core of Random Acts of Kindness is tinged with bittersweetness, it is set in a world of hope, love, and touches of whimsy and playfulness. Too often, I believe, our attention is turned towards the dark side of our human nature, but if we take the time to notice, we can find a world filled with inexplicable selflessness, seemingly random acts of kindness, warmth and concern, strangers who don’t hesitate to offer help and a glow of humanity at any opportunity. Random Acts of Kindness, written to celebrate the retirement of saxophone legend Eugene Rousseau, reflects on all the acts of kindness he has offered to so many as a performer, teacher, colleague, and very special human being.
Sonapartita (Noch Nach Bach) was written for the Brussels-based duo of Daniel Rubenstein and Muhiddin Dürrüoglu-Demiriz for inclusion on their CD of new music for violin and piano inspired by the Baroque. Sonapartita is indeed influenced by an antique style period — the late 1960’s, when composers like George Rochberg (whose harpsichord piece “Nach Bach” is celebrated in the subtitle) took to heart T.S. Eliot’s dictum that artists should steal rather than borrow. This is particularly true of Sonapartita’s third movement (Presto), in which the violin part is an exact replica of the final movement of Bach’s G minor Partita for solo violin, while the piano (in a manner that ‘60’s new-music fans will remember from Lukas Foss’s Baroque Variations) colorizes various structural notes and exaggerates Bach’s dramatic shapes. The other three movements hearken back to an even more ancient style period, resembling the sound and attitude of Stravinskian neo-classicism more; there are no quotes in these movements, but the present composer hopes that his life-long immersion in the music of Bach resonates in this music.
The title Sonapartita is an obvious amalgam: Bach’s six works for unaccompanied violin alternate between Sonatas and Partitas, and so do the 4 movements of Sonapartita. The first and third movements (Adagio and Presto) are more sonata-like; the 2nd movement (Passepied – a lively old French dance) and 4th movement (Siciliano) are dance inspired.
No Pressure to be a Giraffe was commissioned by the Amos Gillespie quartet for their CD and Chicago Constellation concert “Paintings Composed.” When I first saw Chris Silva’s painting “There Is Often No Pressure To Be A Giraffe When You Are Not One,” I was immediately struck by its mix of abstract expressionist explosion and the geometric lines and circles, the kinds of intrusions I love in Klee and Kandisky. All this is very closely related to the dichotomy between the mathematical relationships inevitable in music and the freely expressive shapes one really hears and remembers. Then there is the giraffe! Incongruous, absurd, a little silly, jaunty, beguiling and so evidently happy to be itself. That’s the kind of thing I love to hear in music, so I hope my compositional reflection of this character and its surroundings carries something of the same impact.
When she was a student at Bloomington High School South, my daughter Dara (an amazing flutist!) and a group of her musical friends put together a group of 18 winds to compete in IMEA “Solo and Ensembles” competition. Southwinds was created to give them some new music to sink their teeth into.
I wish to express my deepest thanks and admiration for all the artists on this evening’s recital, and my profound appreciation for the support we find for new music and music composition here in the Jacobs School and from the Bloomington art loving community!