Fastidious Notes for solo alto saxophone and chamber orchestra

Fastidious Notes, composed for Jonathan Helton, is a ten-minute work that alternates rather “agitated” rhythmic sections with more serene sections (one based upon a reworking of the American folk-song “Goodbye Old Paint”).  The composition pays homage to American composer David Conte’s Dance with an asymmetric 5/4 meter. If one listens closely, one may hear echoes of Britten (Rejoice in the Lamb), Copland (Billy the Kid), and perhaps Shostakovich (any piece that has a snare drum in it).  As I was taught, and happily pass on to my students, borrowing (i.e., stealing) other composers’ ideas and reworking them is the highest form of flattery.


Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52

Brahms composed the Liebeslieder Waltzes for vocal quartet and piano four hands in 1868-69.  The 18 texts were taken from Georg Friedrich Daumer’s Polydora, consisting of love songs and folk poetry.  Due to the content of the poetry, it is speculated the Brahms’s deep love towards Clara Schumann was the main drive for his composition.  The flexibility and accessibility of the work have resulted in multiple versions.  There are extant versions for pianos four-hands with voices, solo piano four-hand without voices, piano two-hands with voices and eight of the songs having an orchestral accompaniment by the composer.  I composed a completely new accompaniment with voices using 10 instruments.


And We All Waited… for symphony orchestra

And We All Waited... was composed as a reaction not to the horrific shootings that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, but rather to the lack of any regulation being enacted that might prevent another episode such as this. It has now been, as of today, July 20, 2016 1,314 days since the shootings. The composition quotes many other composers, including Nielsen, Shostakovich, Reicha, in search of an answer.... The piece concludes with us still waiting for “the fat lady to sing.”


Episodes for piano and orchestra

Episodes for piano and orchestra was composed in 2001 for pianist Dr. William David of Iowa State University and the Westminster Community Orchestra in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Westminster Choir College of Rider University. The composition is scored for winds, brass, percussion, harp, strings, and piano solo. Episodes has been revised extensively for this recording with pianist Peter Laul and the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Lande.


The work begins with a short, slow introduction with a solo clarinet foretelling a theme that will later be developed.  Immediately thereafter, the piano enters playing both a C minor and a C major scale simultaneously (an exercise to expedite the playing of piano warm-ups). Thereafter the piano takes us into the first major section marked Feroce.  This section is in the asymmetric meter of 7/8 and reminds the listener of the final movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7, or perhaps Dave Brubeck’s Blue Rondo à la Turk. The piano and the orchestra work in a call-and-response manner, and a tune that can best be described as reminiscent of Offenbach may be found.


The second section introduces a slower motif, which is first developed by the piano followed by the orchestra with the piano accompanying. There is a short transition that utilizes pieces of the first major section and leads into a lilting 6/8 section where the orchestra and piano alternate developing a theme based on a melody taken from the Jewish Yom Kippur services, or perhaps from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.  This third large section is followed by a section for strings and piano that develops the theme the clarinet introduced at the beginning of the work.  This theme is based on the song “On Parent Knees” by Gerald Finzi (a composer whose works Dr. David accompanied on numerous occasions during the late 1970s and early 1980s).  A piano cadenza follows, which leads back to the opening 7/8 theme and a climactic ending.







Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.

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