The Liminal Voices for Orchestra (2016)
Read by the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, November 8, 2016. Michael Lewanski, Conductor. This is not a performance, it is an unrehearsed reading. Recording used with the permission of the TSO.
To be liminal is to be on a threshold – to exist between two states of being or of consciousness. “The Liminal Voices” was inspired by my time spent in the woods of Vermont, and the songs of the birds that inhabit these woods. Their vocalizations seem almost human, but are at the same time otherworldly. On occasion, I am lucky enough to hear my favourite singer – my namesake – the hermit thrush. As I listen, I think of lines from Whitman and Frost that exalt this little bird’s song. These poets’ words, like the sound they describe, can transport the mind far away from everyday life.
Of Myself (2017)
Performed with Roy MacNeil, violin. Opening act for Roomful of Teeth, Highland Center for the Arts, July 3, 2017.
The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising to meet the sun.
– Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself (1892 Version)
The Common Thread for Alto Saxophone and Percussion (2016)
Written for and performed by Bent Frequency at the Charlotte New Music Festival, June 2016. Jan Baker, alto saxophone; Stuart Gerber, percussion.
The Common Thread
ii. aloe vera
iii. solanum lycopersinum
iv. chlorophytum cosmosum
v. crassula ovata
This piece is about my house plants. I love them very much.
“chlorophytum cosmosum” is based on the song “One Day” by Roy MacNeil.
New Life for Flute and Vibraphone (2013)
Performed by Anatolia Evarkiou-Kaku, flute and Rebecca McDaniel, Vibraphone at 5th Wave Collective’s “Retreat from Winter” concert, February 9, 2019.
New Life depicts the remarkable transformation that water undergoes in the spring: the slow dripping of icicles in the sun, followed by the somehow surprising rivers of melted snow and ice; the rain that pours down, and the miraculous appearance of the first plants – refreshed after a very long rest – that begin to come out of the ground. It was written as part of a larger project focused on changing seasons; a concert called “Early Frost: Music for Changing Seasons.” I find that those brief periods when seasons are shifting – particularly winter changing into spring – tend to lead me into spells of heightened creativity. This piece is a meditation on – as well as a product of – that notion.
I So Liked Spring for SSA Trio (2014)
Performed with Elijah McCormack and Sarah Hughes, Skidmore College, Spring 2014.
I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.
This year’s a different thing,
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.
– Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)
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