Keyboard

Music for solo piano, piano duo, piano 4-hands, and piano in other chamber combinations. Also works that include organ.

Vernacular Dances (Piano Solo)

Solo Piano (1996) Three Movements. ca. 12’30”

Premiered by Perry Townsend at Steinway Hall. Of the premiere, the reviewer for the New Music Connoisseur (Vol. 5, No. 4, 1997) wrote: “Starting off the program was Griffin’s Vernacular Dances, which plays off popular styles (Latin rhythms, blues, jazz) in a very serious way. This muscular work, expertly played by pianist Perry Townsend, was the strongest of the concert.”

Recorded by Teresa McCollough (for Innova) and Tomoko Deguchi (for Capstone). See Discography.

Watch pianist and visual artist Hugh Sung’s intrepretation of the first movement, filmed at Field Concert Hall, The Curtis Institute of Music:

Listen to Teresa McCollough perform the second movement:

Vdance2     

Listen to Perry Townsend perform the third movement:

Vdance3     

Program Note:

A composer can only express their perception of the world through the filter of their own experience, and since my earliest musical experiences revolved around singing and drumming, I often incorporate in my writing elements of popular and/or world music that are most compelling to me, within the context of continuing a concert music tradition. Written in February 1996, Vernacular Dances is a three-movement work that comes from this impulse. The first movement blends jazz and latinesque motor rhythms with melodic material loosely derived from Webern’s Variations for Piano, Op. 27, Mvt. 2. The second movement is gentle and arioso, orchestrally conceived. The third contrasts blues rhythms with some I picked up listening to Latin Jazz. The piece was premiered by Perry Townsend at Steinway Hall in new York, and has been recorded by Tomoko Deguchi for Capstone Records and by Teresa McCollough for Innova Records.

Do Not Go Gentle

Two Pianos, 3 Movements (1993, minor revisions later) ca. 13’
Winner of an ASCAP Morton Gould Prize in 1994
Premiered by Amy & Sara Hamann at the University of Minnesota.
Program Note:

Written as a memorial for my mother, Constance Mary Barrett, who had recently died from lung cancer three months shy of her fiftieth birthday. The piece takes its title from a poem by Dylan Thomas. Do Not Go Gentle was premiered by Amy and Sara Hamann on November 15, 1993 at Ferguson Recital Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Jazz Suite (Clarinet & Piano)

Bb Clarinet and Piano, 3 movements, (1992) ca. 8′
Premiered by Benjamin Coleman, Clarinet & Kee Poh Lim at Queens College, 1992.

Listen to the 2nd Movement, performed by Jen Gerth and Tracy Bradshaw:

Jazz Suite Mvt.2.mp3     

Program Note:

I wrote this piece for my friends Ben Coleman & Kee Poh Lim while we were students at Queens College, and it’s one of the few pieces from my student days that I’m still proud to have in my catalogue. It has been performed in several U.S. venues, but also in Canada and Europe. I began the piece as part of a jazz composition class that I was taking with the famous saxophonist and composer, Jimmy Heath. I was only a sophomore, and the rest of the class were all graduate students who knew the vocabulary of jazz forwards and backwards. I spent much of the semester playing catch-up, but got the basics down by the end.