Updates from November, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • dtoub 1:15 pm on Sunday, November 9, 2014, 1:15 pm Permalink | Reply
    Tags: focused music, minimallsm   

    focused music 

    My music has been labelled “postminimalist.” And “minimalist.” I’m okay with either, although I’m not at all shy about the “minimalism” label.

    But it occurred to me that how I really approach composing a new work is to focus on a small number of elements. That leads to repetition at times, but most of it comes out of improvisation rather than some system.

    So I’d prefer to refer to my music as “focused.”

  • dtoub 3:02 pm on Thursday, October 9, 2014, 3:02 pm Permalink | Reply
    Tags: indiegogo,   

    we’re raising money for a new album! 

    A few days ago, an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign went live, with the aim of funding a recording of quartet for piano and for four, as performed by the remarkable pianist Stephane Ginsburgh. The album will come out on Maria de Alvear’s label World Edition in 2016. Before the CD has been released, contributors will be able to receive a digital download of the entire album, along with an audio file of the world premiere of quartet for piano from June, 2014, personalized scores of the works, etc.

    So if you’d like to help make this album a reality, please donate. It will really bring you good karma.

  • dtoub 11:42 pm on Sunday, September 7, 2014, 11:42 pm Permalink | Reply  

    air waves (2014) for brass quintet and synthesizer 

    Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.01.58 AM

    Before I mention this piece, I have to say that I spent probably two hours today trying to make a simple addition to the “about the music” page on my music site, since snippets of earlier text kept appearing and additional columns and line breaks as well, even though none of these were in the actual page code and rendered well outside of WordPress. I’m convinced WordPress is possessed or else has something against new music, since it made that minor task horribly painful.

    Okay, now that that’s out of my system…I have a new work.

    I was interested in putting together a brass work with mostly static chords. But a few of the chords sounded best with a very low pedal tone, which unfortunately were a bit out of range of even a tuba. So my solution was to add a synthesizer that essentially doubled all the brass tones. Paul Bailey kindly looked it over and made some great suggestions (such as the addition of a French horn, which I was initially avoiding). The result is air waves, which lasts around 20′-25′.

    The score is here. The audio file (mp3) is here.

    • Paul H. Muller 6:49 pm on Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:49 pm Permalink

      The synth was a good idea – adds some smoothness and evens out the blend. I esp liked the stretch after 17 min…

    • dtoub 7:06 pm on Thursday, September 11, 2014, 7:06 pm Permalink

      Thanks! Glad it worked!

  • dtoub 9:21 pm on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 9:21 pm Permalink | Reply
    Tags: for philip glass,   

    philip glass marathon concert 

    Several years ago, I wrote a really long string quartet called for philip glass. It’s never been performed, but one of my favorite sections occurs around 37 minutes from the end (the whole thing is around two hours, which is actually short by the standards of folks like Feldman or La Monte Young). I arranged that section for piano at the behest of pianist Nicolas Horvath, who often does these really long, marathon-like concerts of minimalist music and who last year premiered my piece for four in France.

    Well, Nicolas is premiering for philip glass in its piano version at a Glass marathon in Paris on Friday, April 11. That should be a really neat concert, with over 90 works in addition to the piano music of Philip Glass. Quite a superhuman feat!

    This will be the third time he has performed a work of mine (he’s already done one twice; that’s the first time I’ve had a piece performed more than once) and with Stephane Ginsburgh’s concert in Bruxelles in June, I’ll have had as many live performances in Europe as I’ve had here in the US. It’s getting there.

  • dtoub 11:54 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 11:54 pm Permalink | Reply
    Tags: flute,   

    flute loops (trio for flute) (2014) 

    On the same day that I started the piece for ruth first, I came up with a short piano improvisation for future use. I had first thought to take at least part of it and develop it into a piano work, but my daughter Arielle asked me for a short solo flute work for her graduation recital. I thought about a solo flute work, but before even trying anything, I didn’t have a good sense that it would have worked out. But the idea of a multitracked solo flute work (flute with prerecorded parts) was appealing. A loop from that piano improvisation seemed to work best, rather than other portions, and I developed it into a work for solo flute against two looped measures (the two measures coming from the piano improvisation, with the bass line transposed three octaves higher). The work was originally titled solo for flutes, then trio for flute, but as it was a work that consisted entirely of loops, I thought flute loops (trio for flute) worked best.

    The piece is fairly free in that it may be taken as fast or as slow as one wants, within the constraint of quarter = 78-96 bpm. Originally I took it at the upper limit, but that seemed almost too fast, so I gave some leeway. The average duration is around 10′, but depends upon how many repetitions each measure gets (after the usual one measure of silence, each measure is repeated at least four times, until the final measure of silence).

    The score is here. The audio file is here.

  • dtoub 12:31 pm on Saturday, February 15, 2014, 12:31 pm Permalink | Reply

    on the same program as cage, feldman, glass, pärt, eastman, curran, jl adams, denis johnson, riley, la monte young and gann. wow. 

    The pianist Nicolas Horvath is doing another maximalist program (nine hours!) of minimalist piano music starting today, this time in Kyiv, Ukraine. I’m really honored and humbled. He’s giving the second performance, ever, of for four and will be soon be premiering the piano transcription of an excerpt from my two-hour string quartet for philip glass in Paris. And I’ve had two folks friend me recently on Facebook simply because they heard my music on disc or via WPRB-FM in Princeton and for whatever reason liked my music. I’m not sure to what I can attribute all this interest in my music lately, but it’s kinda nice given the long and unusually severe winter here in the northeast.

    Sleepless night of music :: All-Kyiv – city touristic portal.

  • dtoub 12:36 am on Saturday, January 11, 2014, 12:36 am Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , two pianos   

    for ruth first (2014) 



    for ruth first is a work for two pianos written from 1/6-1/9/14 over four evenings in palo alto. The title refers to the South African antiapartheid activist and journalist who was assassinated with a bomb in Maputo, Mozambique by South African intelligence agents.

    The entire work consists of six tones, which was not originally planned that way, and there are occasional canonical passages between the two pianos. It is entirely pianissimo in terms of dynamic level. I also realized after completing it that it is actually in the key of E Major, which is not typical for me as I don’t write tonal music. So I think of it as accidentally tonal.

    The score is here. The audio file is here.

  • dtoub 2:19 pm on Saturday, January 4, 2014, 2:19 pm Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , maria de alvear, , , stephane ginsbergh   

    stuff for 2014 

    Some projects for the new year:

    • I will be in Palo Alto next week with four nights to compose. Thinking about a work for two pianos.
    • I’ll be starting an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign soon to support a recording session by the amazing Belgian pianist Stephane Ginsburgh to release quartet for piano and for four on Maria de Alvear’s World Edition label. I’m really excited by this; Stephane is one of the best contemporary pianists out there who has recorded and performed Feldman, Rzewski and others, and he was one of the three dedicatees of quartet for piano.
    • Nicolas Horvath will be premiering this work at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris on April 11th
    • There may be a live performance or two of quartet for piano in NYC and/or SF this spring…

    This is either all great news or really ominous, depending on one’s musical taste.

  • dtoub 7:51 am on Friday, November 1, 2013, 7:51 am Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    12 (2013) for open instrumentation 


    • Paul H. Muller 1:48 pm on Friday, November 1, 2013, 1:48 pm Permalink

      Well just a comment for the benefit of those players who might try this… The key signature shows no meter, but a glance at the measures confirms 3/8. The tempo given in the notes is marked as a quarter note. Looks interesting…

    • dtoub 2:08 pm on Friday, November 1, 2013, 2:08 pm Permalink

      Someone might try this????

      Problem with meter is that it’s misleading. Some parts are in three, others are really in two. Some beats occur on the second and fifth sixteenth in the measure.

    • Paul H. Muller 12:02 am on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 12:02 am Permalink

      Given the informed nature of your work, is this formulation something from, say Terry Riley or maybe Tom Johnson? Original? I’ve adapted this for a couple of pieces in the past two weeks and want to give the proper credit…

    • dtoub 7:44 am on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 7:44 am Permalink

      Thanks Paul. I came up with it while playing with loops in Reason 7. No predetermined formulation per sė. It just happened.

      There are many works that give performers freedom in terms of repeating measures and moving through a sequence of notes. Drumming, In C and much of th music of Julius Eastman come to mind. But those all involve playing the same notes. This doesn’t; each loop is separate but appears within a specific order (player 1 then player 2 joins in etc, and they go out in descending order).

      Curious what you did with this raw material. Thanks.

    • Paul H. Muller 10:56 pm on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 10:56 pm Permalink

      I’ve used a somewhat modified version of your structure: I like the meter in 3 so I’m using a moderately fast 3/4. I’ve used only 8 measures/voices instead of 12, but they enter additively in sequence, 16 or 24 bars between. They are withdrawn, however, in a completely different sequence and I’m not rigorous about when they completely disappear. I’ve found the structure helpful in keeping my impatience in check, yet it gives some scope for shaping on the back end. Here are my Sound In pieces for last week and this coming Friday:

      ‘Summing’ is here: . http://paulhmuller.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/summing.mp3
      ‘Summing’ score: http://paulhmuller.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/summing.pdf

      ‘Disassembly for Four Pianos’ is here: http://paulhmuller.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/disassemblyforfourpianos.mp3

      Score is here: http://paulhmuller.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/disassemblyforfourpianos.pdf

    • dtoub 11:31 pm on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 11:31 pm Permalink

      Thanks Paul. Both sound pretty interesting. Glad 12 is having some productive use.

  • dtoub 9:05 pm on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 9:05 pm Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    because you can’t have too many works for electronic organ and bongo drums 


    • perkustooth 10:33 pm on Friday, October 25, 2013, 10:33 pm Permalink

      Too much music for organ and bongos??? I don’t think this unique pairing has ever occurred in music history. Cool piece though. And the other pieces are among my favorites of your pieces written thus far.

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