May 20th, 2020 | Category: Music

With the Covid-19 lockdown, I really miss audiences and the energy they provide! So I decided to post an old performance (Sept. 2014) from my archives that I haven’t posted before. It has that great quality of group shared experience, which is one of the wonderful things about going to concerts and movies don’t you think?

This recording is the first performance of my Billy Collins songs. Anytime art is converted from one medium to another some features of the original are lost. Some things are added by the new medium in compensation, but it’s the nature of the beast that those changes or additions are added by the artist doing the conversion or translation and are outside the original artist’s control. So to allow a derivative work the original artist has to be willing to let go of his creation and let it “have a life of its own”. Billy was very kind to give me permission to use these poems, despite his not being a big fan (to put it mildly) of his poetry being turned into song. Of course, I always try hard to stay true to the original spirit of the poetry and I’m proud of how these songs turned out. But see for yourself.

I can’t say enough nice things about the singer here: Suzanne Gifford. Not only does she have a beautiful voice, but there were a lot of behind-the-scene challenges that she handled with charm and grace. It was a long program and we were near the end. The was no place to warm up so she just had to step up and do it. The songs themselves are not as easy as she makes it seem. And the last song was “hot-off-the-press”, completed maybe a day before, so there really wasn’t enough rehearsal time. Entirely my fault and lead to both of us making minor errors in the third song. Despite all that, she sang wonderfully as you will hear.

 

October 20th, 2019 | Category: Music

Today marks the 145th anniversary of Charlies Ives’ birth.

What a fascinating inner musical life he must have had as a maverick and a traditionalist smushed together! Not all of his music works for me. But when it does, it is riveting.

I remember the first time I heard his choral Psalm 24. Portions of it are filled with huge dissonant chords. When I closed my eyes, it stopped being singing. Instead, it was easy to imagine I was standing before a terrifying creature, a seraphim, reciting Psalm 24 in a deep otherworldly voice, filled with partials and overtones. Listen to the excerpt and see if you can hear it that way. Especially at the words “and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle.” Gives me goosebumps every time.

September 10th, 2019 | Category: Music

On Sept. 9th there was a program that included a few of my choral works. A dedicated and wonderful group of singers got together to perform A few pieces that had not been performed before, some older, some newer. We coaxed Bill Shortal out of retirement and he graciously agreed to conduct.

Thanks so much to my friends, both old and new, that worked to make this concert possible. I hope we get to do it again with a broader range of music than just my own!

Here’s one of them: Jacob’s Ladder.

February 13th, 2018 | Category: Music

Sunday, Feb. 11th, the Alterity Quintet premiered my On Reading Shakespeare at the Timucua White House.

In case you missed it, here are the two middle movements with titles and epigraphs:

II. Nocturne – “Soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony.” – Lorenzo, Act V, Scene 1 : Merchant of Venice

III. Serenade – “Let there be no noise made, my friends, unless some dull and favourable hand will whisper music to my weary spirit.” – King Henry IV, Act IV, Scene 5 : King Henry IV Part 2

A big thank you to:
  • Carrie Wiesinger – flute
  • Beatriz Ramirez – oboe
  • Natalie Grata – clarinet
  • Matt Tavera – horn
  • Christian Eberle – bassoon
and to Benoit Glazer for filming and recording.

 

February 20th, 2017 | Category: Music

Follow this link to see Janet Harris performing my solo bassoon work Memento.

January 9th, 2016 | Category: Music

Came across this old piece of mine from the 80s, when I was still doing jazz, called: Realigned.

It’s not bad. Well‚ better than I remembered anyway. Here’s an excerpt, the last minute of the piece.

Listen to: Realigned.

March 24th, 2015 | Category: Music

Finally had a chance to add this recording of a performance from January 2015 of my hymn: Praise Ye the Lord.

Big thank you to Ben Lane, and the Cathedral Choir from the Cathedral Church of Saint Luke. They really did a great job finding the music hiding in the notes!

Listen to: Praise Ye the Lord.

December 29th, 2014 | Category: Music

This Christmas season (2014), there was a performance of my string orchestra arrangement of the carol The Angel Gabriel.

As commonly happens, there didn’t appear to be enough rehearsal, so the performance is a bit tentative, and the tempo a little too slow, but you can get the idea of what it should sound like.

Listen to: The Angel Gabriel.

September 16th, 2014 | Category: Blog

Tickets went on sale today for two of the venues performing Veterans Day concerts featuring my music!

The concerts benefit K9s for Warriors, a Florida charity that rescues, trains, and pairs service dogs to returning soldiers who need them.

The performers are:
the Sovereign Brass
and Trinity Prep High School Choir.

Featuring all new music by local composers written especially for these concerts.

The content:

   an opening brass fanfare
   a choral work
   then: a series of poetry readings by local poets
         each followed by a work for brass ensemble
   with a final choral work.

My piece is the 2nd brass work, about Duty, Honor and Sacrifice.

So a great program, for a good cause!!

The first performance is 7:30 PM, Sunday, Nov. 9th, 2014,
at Trinity Prep High School Auditorium, Winter Park.
$20. You can get tickets here.

The 2nd performance is 7:30 PM, Monday, Nov. 10th, 2014,
at USF Concert Hall, Tampa.
Tickets on sale soon.

The 3rd performance is 7:30 PM, Tuesday, Nov. 11th, 2014,
at Community Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville (Atlantic Beach).
$30. You can get tickets here.

Get the word out, share with your friends.

Also a big thanks to our sponsors:
Bryce L West Foundation
Timucua Arts Foundation
Herschel Lasik
Full Sail University

August 15th, 2014 | Category: Copyright

There has been quite a bit written recently about the case of a British photographer, David Slater, where a monkey took his camera and took a “selfie”. Wikimedia posted the photo, the photographer asked them to take it down because it is a copyrighted work, Wikimedia refused on the grounds that the monkey actually took the photo, so its not David Slater’s to copyright, and the monkey has no copy “rights”‘.

I won’t post the photo here, because I think the photographer owns it and the copyright.

I have two arguments:

1) a nature photographer sets up a camera in the woods, attached to a trip plate or a motion sensor. A deer enters the scene, stepping on the plate or triggering the photo from his motion. Technically, I suppose the deer took the photo. But is there anyone who would argue that the resulting photo (and it’s copyright) doesn’t belong to the nature photographer? What if you triggered a security camera in a store? Would you say that you own that picture and the store doesn’t, because they didn’t “take” the picture?

2) a thief steals a woman’s necklace, and using only components from the original necklace, re-cuts some of the stones, removes some items, and reassembles the result into a bracelet. When he attempts to sell the bracelet to a fence who is an undercover cop, he is arrested and he confesses everything. Who owns the bracelet? I think it is immaterial, based on artistic merit, whether the resulting bracelet is now only worth a fraction of what the necklace once was, or is worth hundreds of times the original; the bracelet clearly belongs to the original owner of the necklace. And that’s with a “work of art” created by a human being who knew what he was doing.

In other words, if I had stolen the photographer’s camera and taken a picture, I don’t think anyone would entertain this specious argument, even if the picture I took was better than any of his.