Ophelia Songs, composed on commission by One World Symphony for a program of music based on Shakespeare, sets the 6 songs that Ophelia sings in the first folio edition of Hamlet. Though a minor character in the play, Ophelia is an extraordinary archetype. My picture of her is that of a lovely, naive girl, brought up by her father to be blissfully unaware of the monstrous politics and passions that surround her. Her passionate, innocent love is no match for Hamlet’s calculated madness. Performed by One World Symphony, Sung Jin Hong, music director.
This link will play all of the string quartets from my CD, released on Innova Records, performed by the Diderot Quartet. The CD includes “American Landscapes,” “Lonely Voices,” and the title track, “At the Center of All Things.” If you listen and like this music, please purchase a copy of the CD, available on any on-line outlet including Amazon Music, iTunes, Allmusic, Discogs, etc. Please read my blog for reviews.
After learning the news that the current U.S. administration was forcibly separating children and parents at our southern border, and listening to the viral, painful recording of a young child’s hysterical cries, I wrote “The Children are Crying” for saxophone quartet. I am very pleased that saxophonist Paul Cohen has been performing it in multiple venues. This YouTube video is of a recent performance by a quartet of his students at the Manhattan School of Music. A shout out of thanks to Dasha Nenartovich, soprano saxophone; Guy Dellecave, alto saxophone; Wonki Lee, tenor saxophone; and Jonathan Gilbert, baritone saxophone.
Several months later, when it became evident that the administration was unable to reunite hundreds of youngsters with their parents, I wrote “The Children are Still Crying.” Given on-going events, I’m afraid the series may have to continue. It is all painful to watch it unfold.
This video presents a new recording by Camerata Philadelphia of “Afterwards, there were no more wars.” The music was composed imagining a day in the future when someone will open the pages of a history book and be able to read those words.
This video presents a new recording by Camerata Philadelphia of “The Beckoning Stars.” The music is an attempt to portray something of feeling of yearning evoked by viewing the stars in the night sky. So distant, yet so close.
Casida del llanto, a song for soprano and violin. Available on my CD, Rustling Flights of Wings, available for purchase from Innova Recordings.
I believe the majority of people throughout the world desire nothing more than to live in peace and safety. If that desire is kindled sufficiently, than perhaps it would be enough to overcome the will of that powerful minority for whom violence is beneficial. This music is dedicated to encouraging the spirit of non-violence in those who hear it. Performed by Camerata Philadelphia, Dr. Stephen Framil, music director.
Owl People, a song for soprano and piano, poem by the contemporary South African poet Charl Cilliers. Available for purchase from Innova Recordings on the CD Rustling Flights of Wings.
Dreaming of a Better World, performed by Camerata Philadelphia string players, Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia
The Time is Past, performed by Camerata Philadelphia string players, March 24, 2018, Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia.
Ever hoping, although without any basis for it, that one day mankind will come to its collective senses and realize the futility of war, this is another musical reminder that peace is possible. With regard to the prospect for peace, 2015 has started so badly, that a musical expression of the desire of peace is something to share
Mostly, the news is a litany of violent events from around the world. But, in my imagination, there exists another world – one far better – where people recognize the benefits of working together to the betterment of all and finding non-violent solutions to conflicts. Unfortunately, I will never live to see that day come, but continue to hope that such a world lies in our future, however distant that future might be. This music comes from that same imaginary place – and hopefully captures something of its spirit.
The morning of 9/11, from my window, I watched thousands of sheets of paper (which earlier had been on someone’s desk) fly by like birds, having been carried over the bay in the arms of the wind. When I read Mark Doty’s poem, with the words “souls, newly set free, wheeling in the air over the site of their last engagements…like one of those autumn flocks of sparrows” – I needed to find music for his words. And whatever really will be the end of us all, I want to believe that those thousands of innocents, as Mr. Doty puts it so beautifully, are forever “incorporated into a radiant vitality without ceasing.” Performed by soloists from One World Symphony, Sung Jin Hong, music director.
A movement from Morning Music for clarinet and string orchestra, performed live in 2009 in Edo Hall, Tokyo by the Duo + Ensemble. Masayoshi Ubukata, clarinet.
Mein Leben, poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, performed by the Pandolfis Consort, Elzbieta Sajka, director.
Eingang, poem by Rainer Maria Rilker, performed by the Pandolfis Consort, Elzbieta Sajka, director.
In an abstract way, American Landscapes attempts to capture something of the America that exists in my imagination – one which happens to be a far better place than the reality. This is from a live recording of a performance by Camerata Philadelphia, Dr. Stephen Framil, music director.
Nonet starts out trying to convey something of the energy and motion of people in a big city going about their busy day – however this forward motion is broken, to resume, post 9/11, with the nine voices joined together in a hymn-like reprise. The juxtaposition of energetic motion with somber reflection, entirely unanticipated at the beginning, came to characterize the Nonet. Performed by the Bronx Arts Ensemble.
“When you are Sad” from Two Sad Songs (W.B. Yeats). Duo+ Ensemble with Kimiko Hata, soprano. Conducted by Kyosuke Matsushita. Oji Hall, Tokyo.
“The Cloak, the Boat and the Shoes” from Two Sad Songs (W.B. Yeats). Duo+ Ensemble with Kimiko Hata, soprano. Conducted by Kyosuke Matsushita.
Summer (a symphony) was composed during the heat of August, as on long walks, I heard brass choirs in the hot blue sky and string and woodwinds in the whispering trees. This is a MIDI rendition, using Finale’s Garritan instruments.
Season of Rain (a symphony) was composed during a rainy spring, rain falling in both my inner and outer worlds, given the current state of the world. This is a MIDI rendition, using Finale’s Garritan instruments.