James DeMars: Premonitions of Christopher Colmbus

Premonitions of Christopher Columbus (1979)
by James DeMars

PREMONITIONS of CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS by James DeMars was premiered by Zeitgeist at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in October of 1979. This recording uses five musicians playing alto saxophone, two pianos, tablas, marimba, cymbals, and a tam tam. The form is similar to that of the Moroccan “nuba” tradition, in which a pulse gradually emerges to support melodic material. The eclectic blend of idioms and sonorities produces a paradoxical “state of being” as each gesture draws forward. Continue reading “James DeMars: Premonitions of Christopher Colmbus”

Stacey Bowers: Listen to the Rolling Thunder

Listen to the Rolling Thunder (1982) 12’51’’
by Stacey Bowers

Rolling Thunder looking long at his son before he spoke. Then he spoke quietly. “Now you know what has to be done here, so why don’t you wait until you feel those things are done, and then speak?… If you’re feeling impatient, then you’re where you think about time, and if you’re thinking about time, you should be able to think about the order of things. Things have their order. You know there are certain things I can’t do until I do other things first.”

The title and above quote are from Rolling Thunder by Doug Boyd, copyright 1974 by Robert Briggs Associates. The main melodic theme is from “The Bells” by William Byrd, The Fitzwilliam Virginal, volume one. Continue reading “Stacey Bowers: Listen to the Rolling Thunder”

F.J. Sacci: Time Keys and Spirit Hammers

Time Keys and Spirit Hammers (1982) 12’08’’
by F.J. Sacci

While writing Time Keys and Spirit Hammers, I became interested in confronting modern music and its relationship to other musical entities, including rock and roll and its divisions. After being in Holland for several years, a longing to be in the rich American musical environment began to dominate my feelings about music, the pure aural sensations of rock music, and strange and repetitious chord progressions are combined throughout the piece.

The music is composed using sounds similar in nature to those being played on New York rock stations. Creating three short new wave-like melodies, I then wrote relatively repetitious chordal ideas and rhythms to appear with the unusual melodies. Hearing the piece might be described as driving down the road listening to your radio, switching your dial every few seconds, but the same tunes in different transformations are on every station.

With these compact pop motives and the well-tested theme and variation form, I describe Time Keyes and Spirit Hammers.

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Andrew Rindfleisch: Night Singing

Night Singing (2004)
by Andrew Rindfleisch

Night Singing is a four-movement work intended to convey those hours of the very late evening and early morning, a time when I am often awake and at my most productive and reflective. It is during this time where my emotional states of anxiety, energy, creativity, calmness, and loneliness, all seem to be at their most intense. I have chosen four poetic fragments of the beautifully dark poetry of Charles Baudelaire to help define each of the movement’s specific expressive qualities. That Hour is intended to convey a state of almost hyper-anxiety (for me a frequent state of pre-creativity). Suddenly, Bells reflects those brief bursts of creative energy- an almost static experience that can take days, even weeks, for me to sort out. I have often thought of this experience as the resonance of the sounds of bells. With Bach Dreams an unfolding contemplative state reveals my deep love of this music and the distant, yet still lingering dreams I had of it in childhood. A Crying Horn presents the bass clarinet as a lonely voice in a dark and empty night- an expression of both the struggling and quiet intensity of loneliness just before slipping, finally, into sleep. Continue reading “Andrew Rindfleisch: Night Singing”