“I did not like the end of it.”
Invisible Cities has come and gone, like an especially memorable thunderstorm. The entire process made me quite grateful for my musical “family” in New York— and it truly was a “family” affair. Besides Chris, most of the Sleeping Giants were involved: Ted conducted, Jacob was the audio engineer, I played in the orchestra and accompanied rehearsals. Laura Grey, Rob’s fiancée, designed the beautiful video projections. The list goes on, and of course, everyone is connected to everyone else, as is often the case in such productions.
The next big dish on my plate is family-oriented and locally-sourced. This is the solo concert I’m preparing for Bargemusic on June 9. I am trying to imbue it with a sense of “place”. Some of that is geographical: Chris’s Hoyt-Schermerhorn is a nocturnal rumination on that nearby infamous subway transfer; Jacob’s new Clifton Gates refers both to my street address and my own predilection for Phrygian Gates (by the way: Jacob’s piece makes use of actual electronic gating, courtesy of Max/MSP. I know, we’re bleeding-edge).
Bargemusic is first and foremost a stalwart presenter classical chamber music. Ted’s piece, also brand new, is called Parlor Diplomacy, and is Ted’s take on one of my favorite post-modern tropes: taking a small fragment of “classical music” and using it as the basis for a piece in one’s own style (here it’s Mozart and Brahms, at least in the parts I have so far). This will be the program’s nod to all the chamber musicians who frequent the Barge.
Two slightly older pieces round out the show: Derek Johnson’s Infinity Plunge, filling (nay, overflowing) the role of virtuoso barn-burner, and Ingram Marshall’s Authentic Presence, which is— how to say it? Really Ingram‑y, that is to say, epic and beautiful.
Of course, we’ll all be afloat, so what can I possibly do but play my newest piano piece, At the River?
Something funny has happened over the past couple of months: Crashing Through Fences has taken off. A small flood of people have ordered the score and scheduled performances. If you’re one of those people, or are planning to become one, I’m going to come right out and ask: why? This is possibly, no definitely, my most annoying piece. Piccolo and glockenspiel— I mean, are you kidding? Is this the reason my more expedience-minded composition teachers told us to write percussion music? Do percussionists and flutists date each other a lot? I’m not complaining, in fact I’m thrilled— just a bit confused.