PLASTIC MOUNTAIN 

 tenor, piano and electric guitar

 fifteen minutes | 2015

 

I. MISTER TREE

II. STUPID ANIMALS

III. SI VIS PACEM

IV. THERE'S A WAR

 

PLASTIC MOUNTAIN is a crossover piece that has ended up sounding like something between classical and pop music. The symbolistic story of the piece is inspired by my experiences at a public university. The Mountain itself is depicted by small musical ideas based on the interval of a 7th. The pull that the protagonist feels towards The Mountain is personified by the hollow MISTER TREE. He attempts to draw the protagonist of this story to The Mountain. This piece was my return to vocal and guitar writing, something that I spent almost all of my time doing, before starting my education. 

STUPID ANIMALS is the oddity of the group. It was written in about a week. I used a repeating tritone diad in the guitar and dark, sometimes comic gestures in the piano to fit the dark comedy of the text. The analogies made between animals and humans in this movement were all drawn from events that happened on the farm I grew up on and events that were recent news stories at the time of composition.

 

click here for lyrics


DO NOT DISTURB

mixed chamber sextet with electronics and shovels         

(B-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, 2 percussionists, acoustic piano, electric piano, double bass, electric bass) 

35 minutes | 2013

DO NOT DISTURB is an experimental, electroacoustic piece for mixed chamber ensemble and electronics. DND uses both plastic and metal shovels as well as recorded samples of shovels. Further synthesis between the acoustic and electric worlds is created by recorded trumpet sounds that are manipulated to sound more like a stringed instrument; several other examples of the electric/acoustic connections can be found in this piece. 


BABEL 

string quartet and guitar| nine minutes | 2014

BABEL is a piece for string quartet with an added guitar. Its general sense of suspended hopelessness and middle eastern sounding interjections are meant to depict the biblical story of the tower of Babel. 


TAILFEATHER

DEDICATED TO THE CRANE HARP ENSEMBLE

WINNING ENTRY IN THE VOXNOVUS FIFTEEN-MINUTES-OF-FAME COMPETITION | ONE MINUTE | 2013

TAILFEATHER was written for a fun little competition called "Fifteen Minutes of Fame". The idea was to compose a work for harp ensemble that was exactly one minute in duration. A contemporary  music organization called VoxNovus is responsible for several opportunities similar to this one. Just look for the 'Fifteen Minutes of Fame' headline on competition sites.  


SLAPPA and GRABBA

for flute choir and electronics

SEVEN MINUTES | 2013

 

SLAPPA and GRABBA were written in a very short amount of time as two submission to a flute writing competition. The pieces include fixed-media electronics and feature generally aggressive and repetitive rhythmic devices. I must give some credit to the creators of the Nintendo64 game "Banjo-Kazooie" for the inspiration behind these two pieces. Slappa and Grabba are characters from an Egyptian, sand-filled level in the game. Slappa is a giant hand that springs up from the sand and attempts to swat the player. Grabba is also a hand-like enemy, but only appears at one location in the game. Once he is defeated and loses the treasure he has guarded for 1000 years, he disappears back into the sand and is seen no more.


CAVE

SOLO PIANO SUITE | THIRTEEN MINUTES | 2014

PREMIER 25.11.2014 BY DR. KURT KNECHT

I. VICTIMÆ

II. STALKING

III. LIKE BATS

IV. FALSE

V. TREMS

CAVE is inspired by the beautiful church sequence, VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES, a piece usually ascribed to 11th century priest and writer, Wipo of Burgundy. The musical material for each of the five movements is drawn from a quintal perspective of the original church sequence. 


NIEMANSLAND

Yamaha DisKlavier and Laptops

nine minutes | 2015

 

collaboration with Mark Nickel

N I E M A N S L A N D was my first compositional collaboration. After being introduced to a piece called Canon X, written by by Conlon Nancarrow, my good friend Mark Nickel approached me about doing something with the modern day equivalent (the Yamaha DisKlavier) for an upcoming concert opportunity.  We essentially made a sketch for what the piece would be, and took turns writing sections. We also wrote sections simultaneously, where certain ranges of the keyboard were assigned to each composer. The most fascinating part of this experience was seeing just how far we could push the instrument. We explored what the instrument was capable of and not capable of. This exploration led to some very interesting and extramusical results.

 

 

OCTOPUS ETUDe

acoustic guitar | one minute | 2015

OCTOPUS ETUDE, written with an octatonic scale,  was written for a Logic Pro scoring project. I wanted to see just how close the current version of Logic Pro (Logic Pro X at the time of composition) had come to professional scoring software like Finale. Secondly, I wanted to experiment with creating as realistic of a track as possible using the software's sound libraries and by using custom-drawn automation. I was quite happy with the software's capabilities in these two regards, although the process of manually adjusting note velocities to fit all of the various dynamic levels was quite fatiguing. 


stall

CLARINET, PERCUSSION AND TWO PIANOS | SIX MINUTES | 2013

 

I think one of the most interesting things about STALL is the form of the piece. I used a mirrored form (e.g. ABCDCBA). Midway through the piece, everything that has happened happens again - except it is backwards.  It is a musical reference to a [bad] journey on a plane. Once the journey to the top is completed, the one back down begins.

The journey down is a bit more violent.


SAYA TAMBORA 

CLARINET, PERCUSSION AND PIANO | FIVE MINUTES | 2012

On April 10th, 1815, an Indonesian volcano called Tambora erupted with the largest volcanic force known to have happened on Earth in the last 10,000 years. 

The word 'Saya' literally means 'I' in the Malay language. This piece was written not to capture the horror that must have taken place on that day, but written from the perspective of a volcano. The long life of a volcano is mostly that of dormancy, but when that state is broken, great energy results. I believe the rhythms and broken melodies in this piece portray the volcano as some sort of chaotic, destructive child, exerting all of his pent-up energy.