This link will play all of the string quartets from my new 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The intent was to achieve a simplicity of expression, but the execution turned out to be somewhat less simple.
“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.