Three Miniatures (Wind Quintet)

Wind Quintet (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn, Bassoon), 3 Movements (1993) ca. 8′

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Program Note:

Inspired by the poetry of Juan Ramon Jiménez, this piece was premiered by the North Woods Wind Quintet at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. It has subsequently been performed by the Emerald Winds (as part of an Encore Grant from the American Composers Forum), Imani Winds (usually as part of their music in the schools outreach programs) and Quintet of the Americas.

Chansons Innocentes

SATB a cappella, 3 Movements, (1993) ca. 5’
e.e. cummings, Text.
Premiered by the Plymouth Music Series Ensemble at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Finalist in the 1995 Chautauqua Choral Composition Contest.

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in Just     


I.
in Just
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hopscotch and jump-rope and
it’s
spring
and
the
goat-footed
balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee.

hist whist     


II.
hist whist
little ghostthings
tip-toe
twinkle-toe

little twitchy
witches and tingling
goblins
hob-a-nob hob-a-nob

little hoppy happy
toad in tweeds
tweeds
little itchy mousies

with scuttling
eyes rustle and run and
hidehidehide
whisk

whisk look out for the old woman
with the wart on her nose
what she’ll do to yer
nobody knows

for she knows the devil ooch
the devil ouch
the devil
ach the great

green
dancing
devil
devil devil
wheeEEE

Tumbling-hair     


III.
Tumbling-hair
picker of buttercups
violets
dandelions
And the big bullying daisies
through the field
wonderful
with eyes a little sorry
Another comes
also picking flowers

Program Note:

These short poems by e. e. cummings contain a wonderful, compact interplay between images that reflect a child’s naiveté and playfulness and an adult’s fear of aging and death. These poems find particular poignancy in the compression of these dual meanings into single images. “In Just- / spring” is the magical moment when the world reveals most strongly its process of renewal, bringing with it sunshine and mud. But here spring also reflects an adult’s perspective (the balloon man’s perspective – he is a figure similar to a pied piper beckoning the children to their inevitable future), one who sees In-Just-[ice] in the cycle of life; spring is a metaphor for time past. “hist whist” is replete with ‘scary’ images: little ghost things, twitchy witches, itchy mousies and worst of all, the old woman that knows the devil himself. “Tumbling-hair” is both the untamed, abundant locks of youth and the loss of hair. In this poem the daisies bully their way through the soil shared by other flowers, representing the relentless push of one generation after another. In the face of these dualities, the narrative voice of the poems belongs to children, and cummings infuses the poems with a childlike charm and vibrancy. The musical settings of these poems aim to infuse a similar charm, with subtle hints at the embedded double-meanings.

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.

Heart! We Will Forget Him!

Emily Dickinson, Text.
High Voice and Piano, ca. 2′
Premiered by ToniAnn Notarfrancesco & Kee Poh Lim at Queens College, 1991.

Soprano Sangeetha Rayapati has anthologized my setting of Emily Dickinson’s Heart! We will forget him! in her vocal pedagogy textbook available by Inside View Press called Sing Into Your Sixties… And Beyond!

Heart! We Will Forget Him!     

Heart! We will forget him!
You and I – tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave –
I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me
That I my thoughts may dim!
Haste! lest while you’re lagging
I may remember him!