I have just finished editing the score for Forest Songs Book I: HD Songs. This book includes the songs Huntress and Pursuit and is part of an ongoing project. Over the next few years I plan to add more songs to the collection. Ultimately, the songs in this work will be able to be performed as a long cycle, or mixed and matched in shorter collections.
Through these songs, a variety of subthemes and sentiments are approached – from environmentalism, to mythology and memory, to feelings of loss, loneliness and hopelessness, to expressions of beauty, the supernatural, the sublime; and to the inhabitants of the forest themselves – the trees, plants, creatures and otherworldly denizens. As a life-long hiker and camper, the forest holds special meaning to me – there is really no place I would rather be than lost in a forest.
Here is a preview of Huntress and Pursuit. Please contact me if you are interested in seeing the rest.
Earlier this week, I was ecstatic to hear two fantastic performances of my first song cycle performed by the Astralis Duo. These performances revived a work that I haven’t heard in almost thirteen years, and the songs have never sounded better. Soprano Stephanie Aston has an amazingly versatile voice with much color and sings these tricky songs with so much control and precision. Katalin Lucaks played the piano superbly, bringing out many hidden ideas in the piano part. The presentation itself was really well-done, and was accompanied by interactive video projections by New Orleans composer/video artist Peter Leonard.
“Four Songs” is a piece I wrote in 2000 when I was a student at UT Austin. I set four poems by Donald Justice; Landscape with Little Figures, Song, Bus Stop and Presences. I hope to post a recording and/or video soon!
I started off 2014 with a short residency at the Banff Centre in Canada! I had a fantastic time playing in the snow, making new friends, going on wintry hikes and listening to some fantastic music performed by other residents. I did some composing too, in my little composer’s hut, #7, the Mendelssohn cabin. While small, it had all the essentials needed to work on a new exclusively acoustic piece, a set of songs with the provisional title, “Forest Songs.” For years, I have had a strong desire to get back into writing vocal music. My first and only journey intro writing for voice was about fourteen years ago, when I wrote “Four Songs” for soprano and piano on texts by Donald Justice. In a strange coincidence, it looks like these songs will be revived for several new performances in Louisiana this Spring (details to come).
A couple of years ago, I made several sketches for new songs with a forest/nature theme and spent considerable time looking for texts. However, due to other projects, this new set of songs was pushed into the background until this month. I’m still looking for texts to go with my various sketches, but I have started two songs that use texts by Hilda Doolittle, “Huntress” and “Pursuit.” I am writing these songs for soprano and small chamber ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano). Ultimately, I hope to write five or six songs in this set and potentially, a couple of instrumental interludes.