busy week for music

Last week was a really good week for my music. Given that I usually have to wait a long time for my music to be premiered, if at all, I was delighted that Mike Lunoe and Bill Solomon gave the first performance of bs piece (double canon for bill solomon) last Thursday (8/6) at the Hartt School of Music, essentially 11 months to the day after I started writing it in a Palo Alto hotel. Mike and Bill did an awesome job, performing with two live marimbas and four prerecorded marimbas (the piece is scored for six marimbas). It’s a bear to play, since it’s just too easy to get lost in the repetitions, plus the entire thing is 12-tone except for the last seven measures (the last chord contains all 12 tones, however). I’m still getting over the fact that no one seems to have shouted anything nasty or derogatory during the performance. Guess all the crazies were disrupting Democratic town hall meetings on health care reform instead. The performance is downloadable from the link above and has replaced my Finale-generated performance on the music page. The concert program is here.

But that’s not all…

The master composer/MIDI artist Steve Layton took it upon himself to release his excellent realization of my 80’s piano work textbook: music of solitary landscapes in hyperspace (piece for IPS) on a downloadable album via Amazon (I believe iTunes is coming soon as well). Steve broke up the 2 hour+ piece into its seven sections rather than keep it going continuously, so it’s even easier to listen to the entire thing in increments. Or just play the whole thing on an iPod /iPhone with gapless playback and experience the entire two hours in one sitting. It’s all about choice.

Finally, I locked myself in a hotel room in Palo Alto this week trying to get further into a new piece for two voices, flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, marimba and piano I’m tentatively titling torture memos. It’s based on some improvisations I did a few months ago, mostly in May, but I’ve been really busy lately so putting it all together and scoring the music has been much slower than I would have thought. Only a little over six minutes have been dumped into Finale 2010 so far, but I’ll be back on the west coast in a little more than a week, so I hope to be more productive next time around. If anyone doesn’t mind hearing the beginning of a work in progress, click here.

So I really want to thank Mike, Bill and Steve for making last week a great week in terms of new music performance. Writing music is really really hard. Performing it with the musicianship and courage of these folks is even harder. And they make it sound easy.