- Amyntas with his Phyllis Fair The Greenleaf Singers and Friends 2:24
- Humpty Dumpty The Greenleaf Singers and Friends 2:06
- Lullaby Sarah D.- Soprano; Elizabeth G.- Harp 3:27
- Sanctus The Greenleaf Singers and Friends 2:30
- Seasons: Spring Pianists: Joseph Neske and Brad Ellebrecht 1:47
- Seasons: Summer Pianists: Joseph Neske and Brad Ellebrecht 2:03
- Seasons: Autumn Pianists: Joseph Neske and Brad Ellebrecht 1:10
- Seasons: Winter Pianists: Joseph Neske and Brad Ellebrecht 4:47
The following are a few of my compositions with program notes. Several of the pieces can be heard in the player above.
Amyntas with His Phyllis Fair
This contemporary madrigal speaks for itself. Amyntas with His Phyllis Fair is a mix of Renaissance and 21st-Century styles. The music is set to the text written by Thomas Pilkington, a Renaissance composer. The Greenleaf Singers performed the premiere during the 2004 Eliot Chapel Madrigal Dinners. This piece is light and rhythmically challenging. (The MP3 is a live recording performed by the Greenleaf Singers & Friends during my Masters Degree concert: A Journey Begun).
Brevis cogitatio (a short meditation)
Premiered on Thursday, May 8, 2003, by the Chamber Singers of Bishop DuBourg High School, for whom this meditation was composed. The work is set to the text “Lux aeterna” (Light eternal). I wrote this piece as a three part exercise. First, because of the long phrasing (no definitive breaks in sound) the singers work on developing strong breath control and proper breathing technique. Second, the composition consists of very close harmonies, thus requiring the performers to train their ear in singing chords consisting of intervals of minor and major seconds while maintaining the correct pitch. Lastly, the ensemble will develop a tremendous sense of blend and warm sound in singing this haunting, yet serene work.
Premiered at the Webster University Music Department’s Thursday Noon Recital, March 25, 2004. The performers are Jane Dick – Flute I; Amanda DuClos – Flute II; Katy Barker – Cello. This piece is inspired by my beautiful daughter, Ellie Faith. The melody is an original tune I hum to help Ellie go to sleep. (Click on the title to view a YouTube movie of the performance, edited by Ellie’s mommy.)
Et caligo cecidit
Premiered at Gateway Academy’s Spring Concert on May 8, 2008, by the 6th Grade Guys That Sing. Et caligo cecidit is in three movements. The opening and closing movements incorporate the musical concept of a psalm tone sung over a drone. This drone serves two purposes. First, harmonic support and color are added to the ensemble. Secondly, the concept of the ison or “eternity note,” which represents the eternal presence of God, is employed. The simplicity of these two sections allows the ensemble to develop a well blended tone based on unison singing and proper unison diction. Though the text may call for music which evokes longing and yearning, the use of the intoned music connects the singers to a time and place of simple chant and meditation. The second section takes the performer and listener away from the familiar to something more agitated and less familiar which befits the text. The movement begins as each voice part enters after a set amount of time with each individual person taking the musical line at his own tempo. This section, with its irregular movement and fluctuation of dynamics, evokes the desperation in the text. But, not all hope is lost. The return to the familiar in the third movement, illustrates the peace and hope found only through prayer and faith in God. For God is our refuge and strength.
Nursery rhymes have become a staple part of my daily reading habits. My children, Ellie and Evan, love to sit and listen to me read from Mother Goose books. Both my children have brought me a great deal of compositional inspiration. They have opened up a whole new way of perceiving the world, especially music. This setting of Humpty Dumpty is no exception. The piece is in ternary form. The first section and the repeat play on the imagery of Humpty Dumpty and his fall by way of a sprightly tempo and descending movement in the voices. A majestic tone is set while the king’s men and horses try to. . . well, you’ll get the picture. (The MP3 is a live recording performed by the Greenleaf Singers & Friends during my Masters Degree concert: A Journey Begun).
Premiered at my Graduate Composition Recital at Webster University, April 3, 2005. The performers are Sarah D.- Soprano; Elizabeth G.- Harp. The text for this song was written by Renaissance poet Thomas Dekker (1571?-1641?). Again, my daughter was foremost in my mind when I composed this piece. The harp and soprano go back and forth on the text “rock them,” in a lilting, rocking manner creating a gentle imagery of a lullaby.
Premiered on Thursday, May 7, 2009, by the Gateway Academy Chamber Singers, for whom the piece was composed. The text is an adaptation by Eugene Field (1850-1895).
Sanctus was premiered on July 28, 2005 at the Cortot Concert Hall (located next to L’Ecole Normale de Musique) during the European American Musical Alliance Summer Program in Paris, France. (The MP3 is a live recording performed by the Greenleaf Singers & Friends during my Masters Degree concert: A Journey Begun)
Search for the Lost Children
The work is comprised of two movements, “Chaos,” and “Hope.” The second movement was premiered at the 2001 Bishop DuBourg Spring Choral Concert by the Chamber Singers. The work has since been edited. If you would like a detailed description of the composition, please contact me via the email link below.
I. Spring Rain
II. Summer Breeze (with Oppressive Summer Heat)
III. Autumn Leaves
IV. Winter Snow
Premiered at my Graduate Composition Recital at Webster University, April 3, 2005. The pianists are Joseph Neske and Brad Ellebrecht. The program note: While my daughter was taking one of her many naps on my chest during the fall of 2003, I was gazing out our living room window with the rain falling in a blustery wind. Leaves were cascading down from the tree branches as is typical of autumn. The concept of four character pieces based on the seasons began brewing in my mind. I began by developing a tone row utilizing the first three pitches from each movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. However, the final pitch of the row needed to be altered in order to maintain the established elements of the twelve tone row. Let your imagination take over as you are carried through the seasons.
To Golgotha and the Cross
This work was commissioned by Immanuel Lutheran Church in Olivette, St. Louis, MO, for the Tenebrae service which occurs on Good Friday of Holy Week. The premiere took place on March 25, 2005, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, and was performed by the Adult Choir. Musically, this work is meditative yet powerful in nature. The imagery created is that of the pain and suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross.
For any further comments or questions on any of my work send me a message here!!!