More Electrons Arranged into Dots on Lines

Two new PDF scores went up on my website this week. One is not a terribly new piece: Mystic Chords (2012), which I’ve written about here before, and which consists entirely of quarter-notes with a different tempo marking on each beat. I had been waiting on putting up the score until I revised the opening, which I have now done. So there’s a new recording as well, and I’m much happier with it. As often happens with mp3s, my computer keeps going back to the old mp3 when I click on it, and no amount of reloading has yet succeeded in bringing the new recording up; but I’ve been successful when trying from other computers. Presumably you will be too.

The other, new piece is a suite of five brief movements for flute, clarinet, trumpet, vibraphone, piano, and string trio called Catskill Set. It started out as a song cycle on poems by someone who, as it turned out, had no interest in song cycles, and so I followed Ives’s example by rearranging it for instrumental ensemble and calling it a “set.” It’s been good for me, lately, I think, to learn to reuse earlier materials in new pieces; I can more easily see how Ives developed the complexity of his style by adding on new layers to simpler pieces he’d written before. My erstwhile terror of repeating myself was a little exaggerated. I enjoyed (re)writing the piece, it’s a little different for me, more linear and imagistic, and perhaps someone will be moved to play it. I’ve got no commissions or performances pending, just composing for pleasure. And geographically I’ve finally moved from all the desert-themed titles of my youth to admitting that I’m pretty well ensconced in the Hudson Valley.

Awhile back I tried to get my friend at the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel interested in buying all my scores for the archive there. I promised I’d send him the original PDFs, not just copies. He looked at me a long time.