The Forest of Dreams – Part 1

Over the course of the past year, I have undertaken a huge project.  After completing the initial phase of my website, bandestration.com and the first volume of my comprehensive textbook on band orchestration, I set out to put theory to practice.  As such, I am in the final stages of composing my massive second symphony “The Forest of Dreams.”  In this piece, I put together every technique I’ve written about over the course of the past five years.

The genesis of this project was nearly 20 years ago.  When I first knew I wanted to be a composer, my thoughts were immediately drawn to the form of the symphony.  To me, the symphony is the pinnacle of serious music composition.  As Mahler once said, “The symphony must be like the world.  It must contain everything.” Continue reading “The Forest of Dreams – Part 1”

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Omni Exeunt in Mysterium

In late 2015, I was watching an interview with the magician Teller of Penn & Teller.  Despite being the silent half of the duo, he’s surprisingly eloquent, having been a teacher Latin and Greek teacher before becoming a magician.  In this interview, he talked about a Latin phrase that is key to his understanding of the art of magic: Omnia exeunt in mysterium – all things fade into mystery.  This idea stuck me as being beautifully musical.

The philosophy is one that is pertinent to a Medieval way of life.  Their view is that everything in the world is devolving from an initial state of perfection into one of chaos.  This is also the world view of the author J.R.R. Tolkien who expressed it beautifully in his Silmarillion.

While I don’t personally ascribe to the concept, the range of possibilities grabbed hold of me, and I began to write.

It had been several years since I had completed a full piece.  I had taken some different avenues in my life that led me away from being a composer.  However, starting to work on the bandestration site began to focus me.  This is the first fully mature work I’ve composed, and the first to be written after undertaking the massive project of creating a full orchestration and instrumentation text.  It is a product of what I am calling my neo-impressionist style.Omni exeunt in mysterium

Omnia is scored for:

  • 4 C Flutes
  • 2 Oboes
  • Alto Oboe
  • 4 B-flat Clarinets
  • F Alto Clarinet (alt. E-flat Alto Clarinet)
  • 2 Bass Clarinets
  • Contrabass Clarinet
  • 2 Alto Saxophones
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • 2 Bassoons
  • Contrabassoon
  • 4 F Horns
  • 2 C Trumpets
  • 3 Tenor Trombones
  • Bass Trombone
  • 2 Flügelhorns
  • Tenor Tuba
  • Contrabass Tuba
  • Timpani
  • Glockenspiel/Xylophone
  • Percussion
    • Triangle, Small Tam-Tam, Large Tam-Tam, Bass Drum, Cymbals

Song for Solo Bassoon

This is a miniature work written to be used with my own Bassoon students.  My students were clamoring for lyrical, sad piece, but I could find none that was appropriate for younger students to play.  So, in the end, I composed this short piece that is easily accessible to second and third year players.

I have also arranged the work for Bass Clarinet, Alto Clarinet, and Baritone Saxophone.

All arrangements are available on Sheet Music Plus.

Forest Scenes for Tenor Bassoon and Three Marimbas

For several years, I became one of the biggest advocates for the use of the Tenor Bassoon or Tenoroon.  I even went so far as to purchase one sight unseen from Guntram Wolf.  To this effect, I began a series of compositions for the Tenor Bassoon.

For the life of me, I cannot remember what the circumstances were that led to composition of this quartet for Tenor Bassoon and three five-octave Marimbas.  At the time, it was my most adventurous piece, and is still one of my only works to employ extended techniques (there are a few multiphonics in the Tenor Bassoon part).  The work is extremely challenging for all four players.

In order to make the work more accessible, I have also included an alternative part for Bassoon.

The work can be purchased here.

 

Sextet for Sarrusophones

During my undergrad studies, one of my main areas of interest was the sarrusophone.  My university had one, and I became its curator.  Fast forward a few years to 2006 and my interest is still there.  During my most prolific span, I wrote a short work for six sarrusophones (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, and E-flat Contrabass).  To my knowledge, it is the first work for such an ensemble since Gounod wrote his Chorale et Musette in 1856.  My work is in the style of a quasi-Hindemith march.

In lieu of actually performing the work on sarrusophones as intended, the work can also be performed on like-sized saxophones or on a mixture of saxophones and sarrusophones.

Buy the sheet music here.

Scherzo for Woodwinds

The Scherzo for Woodwinds was intended to be the third movement of a symphony that I never completed.  The first three movements and sketches for the fourth are all that exist out of a planned five movement work.  The first movement (now relabeled as Fanfare for Brass and Organ) and the second movement (now relabeled as Adagio for Winds and Organ) are today stand alone pieces.

The work in in traditional ABA form.  The initial A section, is for standard orchestral winds (2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, and 2 Bassoons).  It is fast, and in 1.  In fact, it is the fastest work I have written to date.  The trio introduces us to a trio of Oboe d’Amore and two English Horns.  By the end of the trio, the lower clarinets (Alto and Bass) have joined the ensemble.  The final section, adds in the full woodwind ensemble (there are no saxophones in this work).  The bass is bolstered by Contrabass Clarinet and Contrabassoon.

Scoring: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes (1=Oboe d’Amore, 2= English Horn 2), English Horn, E-flat Clarinet, 2 B-flat Clarinets, E-flat Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon.

Fanfare for Brass and Organ

The Fanfare for Brass and Organ is the opening movement of a symphony I never completed.  The first three movements and sketches for the fourth are all that exist out of a planned five movement work.  The second movement (now relabeled as Adagio for Winds and Organ) and the third movement (now relabeled as Scherzo for Woodwinds) are today stand alone pieces. The work does utilize thematic material from the other movements, but can work well as a standalone piece.

The work has elements of the Prelude to Das Rhingold mixed with the fanfare like nature of The Pines of Rome’s “Pines of the Appian Way.”

The work is scored for:

  • 4 Horns
  • 2 Piccolo Trumpets in A
  • 2 C Trumpets
  • 2 Tenor Trombones
  • Bass Trombone
  • 2 Flügelhorns
  • 2 Euphoniums
  • Bass Tuba
  • Contrabass Tuba
  • Organ