Notice: This is a digital rendering until a much needed live recording becomes available.
(Sound samples: Joshua Bell Violin and Vienna Symphonic Library's Violin, Viola and Cello)
Images from my childhood
For all 7-year olds in the world, big and small.
>A photo taken in 1955 by my brother Ernie, was recently dug up from the family archives, evoking in me strong childhood memories. I was seven at the time and we had just moved into a big new house with a sprawling backyard and even our own piece of forest land. I remembered that old apple tree on the photo with the kittens, but I was especially reminded of the feeling of having just started my new life in my own little paradise. Capturing that feeling in music is next to impossible, but I gave it a try.
The first movement reflects the fearlessness of these unsuspecting, simple creatures, and I counted myself amongst them. I named it "Les minous n'ont pas peur du tout" ("The kittens are not scared at all"). The second part with its simple theme, reminiscent of a nursery song, evokes the naivety and the akwardness of these vulnerable softballs of fur, not aware of any peril, though they could fall from the tree at any moment. I titled it, ironically, "La vie dans la pommière n'est pas compliquée", ("Life in the apple tree is not complicated"). The third movement will be some kind of a brew of feelings about my awakening as a child, under the summarily title "Je me rapelle les premiers jours de mon future", ("I remember the first days of my future.") I am still working on it. Enjoy!
Notice: This is a digital rendering until a live recording becomes available.
(Sound samples: Joshua Bell Violin and Vienna Symphonic Library's Viola)
This duet starts out with a classic theme in B-flat minor, - after about two minutes transitioning into the main segment: a slightly atonal and a mostly dissonant back-and-forth between the two players followed by a brief variation on the opening theme leading up to the Ennio Morricone tribute starting at around 5:50 minutes.
The beloved Italian composer Ennio Morricone wrote over 400 film scores in a vast variety of styles in addition to 100+ classical works. Most impressive and memorable for me as a young man were the soundtracks for the so-called "spaghetti-westerns" evoking so effectively and suspenseful the loneliness of the desert.
Morricone passed away July 7, 2020 and I listened to a few of his most famous compositions once again with great joy!
The five movements, except for the 3rd, are named after ballet steps and moves recognizing the original idea behind suites as a series of danceable tunes. Actually, especially the 5th movement would be suited for a ballet, I believe. (Choreographers: contact me if you agree.)
"Pendulum" is a methodically constructed piece based on a repeated baseline consisting of 19 quarter notes, on the beat of a grandfather clock, evolving through five right-hand variations, introducing syncopation and eighth notes along the way, then morphing into a classical sonata passage, including sixteenth notes, and ending in a repeat of earlier dissonant chords.
Inspired by Jacques Brels's "La Chanson Des Vieux Amants"
Recorded at the Corthell Hall, USM School of Music, November 26, 2019 (Thank you, Lori!)
Performers: Josie DiPhilippo, Piano and Aaron Emerson, Oboe
For this duet, specifically written for the gifted oboist Aaron Emerson, I borrowed three significant quotes from the song as my inspiration for, and the interpretation of the subject matter as I finally came to see it. The quotes serve as the titles of the movements.
I. Chambre Sans Berceau (Room without crib)The relationship between two people-in-love is challenged and tested, causing anguish and friction, when their marriage remains childless. Blame and guilt slowly drives a wedge between them, despite attempts to hang on to their committed love.
II. Éclats Des Vieilles Tempêtes (Shards of old storms)After twenty years the echos of raging old storms are still audible and shards of broken dreams still visible in the corners of that room. But every now and then, when the taste for fighting is lost, a clear and hopeful tune can be heard ringing throughout the house.
III. Je t'aime Encore, Tu Sais, Je t'aime (I still love you, you know, I love you)Despite decades of resentment, neglect and infidelities, in the end the love survives; though un-passionate and non-exuberant, as a given it persists, pure and simple, as on the beat of a slow, never-ending three-step dance between two kindred souls.
Download the full score