What Justice Looks Like was written for Payton MacDonald to perform at South Pass City as part of his Sonic Divide project. Esther Hobart Morris (1814-1902) served as Justice of the Peace there in 1870, during the Gold Rush, right after women were given the vote in Wyoming Territory. After her term was over, she had her husband arrested for assault and battery. She eventually left both him and South Pass City, becoming an activist for women’s rights nationally.
What Justice Looks Like is part of my ongoing project, A Book of Days. You can listen to my recording by visiting Valentine’s Day, which is the day when Esther was sworn in as Justice of the Peace.
Here’s the vocal score at the transposition that works best for me. I am happy to supply you with a different transposition, just let me know what you need when you click the donation button below.
I think you want to think of this piece as an intimate invocation to Esther. You’ll want to find the transposition that lets both the lowest and the highest notes of the (rangy) vocal line be vulnerable and loving. You are welcome to do the piece slower (or faster) than the marked tempo if you like, and you don’t need to stick too precisely to the notated rhythms as long as the phrases stay coherent.
You can do it as a solo vocal piece, or you can invent a rhythmic accompaniment that helps you express the piece, adding extra bars of rest between verses for improvisational flourishes as you prefer. If you like a drone, feel free to use one. For the demo, I used Henry Lowengard’s excellent iPhone app, Srutibox, in just intonation mode. And I added a couple of totally optional samples from “Suffragette City”, which I’ll send you if you want them.
And thank you for supporting this low-key way of publishing:
Just released: Songs from the River Project Volume 2 is now downloadable and streaming on Bandcamp! Check it out here:
The first EP of Songs from the River Project is now available for download on Bandcamp! The original limited edition EP sold out a while ago, so this is the first time it’s been available for general release!
Snag your copy below and stay tuned for more, including previously unreleased material!
A gratuitously excellent piece of anonymous work that arrived in an email offering to increase my penis size or refinance my mortgage inspired this piece in honor of my composition teacher, JK Randall. Making Hey is now available for download and performance!
Here’s the premiere recording of my Rilke-inspired piece about unicorns, Einhorn, commissioned and performed by the wonderful Lydia Van Dreel. You can find it in all the usual places, or click the CD cover below to go directly to CD Baby:
I’ve posted a new score today, the 2008 piece I wrote for the Young People’s Chorus of New York. It’s a tricky little piece for treble chorus or for three really intrepid solo singers. Check it out!
Eve Beglarian: Liement me deport.
Pump Music is inspired by a series of hand pumps I encountered in campsites while traveling down the Mississippi River in 2009. I recorded this pump at a campsite called Wanagan’s Landing, which was the place we stayed after the very first day of paddling, on 1 August 2009. It’s maybe ten miles down from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, in northern Minnesota.
I was struck not only by the raucous noise of the pump, but also by the unearthly melody of the afterglow as the water recedes back into the earth when you stop pumping. The melody is not a simple overtone series as you might expect, but some curious phenomenon emerging from the length and diameter of the pipe that I don’t have enough physics to understand.
Pump Music was commissioned for the Guidonian Hand and Mary Rowell by Meet the Composer/Commissioning Music USA, and is dedicated to them with vast affection.
Pump Music is part of my ongoing project, A Book of Days. To hear the premiere performance (at Roulette on 1 June 2012), please visit August 1st.
Here is a score of the complete piece in pdf format.
After you click the donation button below, you’ll get all the necessary materials to perform the piece.
You can also read this blog post about 1 August 2009 of The River Project.
An all-new CD of River Project music is now exclusively available for purchase here! The second signed limited edition EP includes four pieces from The River Project in wonderful premiere recordings by BRIM, the Guidonian Hand, and members of Portland’s Third Angle Ensemble. A perfect gift, buy one today!
this is the DVD we made last year of Mabou Mines’ Dollhouse for French television. you can purchase your own copy here.
I’m happy to tell you that my flute and electronics piece, I will not be sad in this world, is available in a new anthology called Eight Visions, curated by Marya Martin and published by Theodore Presser. Please go here for more information.
I will not be sad in this world is June 28th in A Book of Days. I generally post a different performance of the piece each year: the 2017 version is a live performance by Tim Munro, recorded at New Music on the Point, in Leicester, VT.
click the image for more details!
The long-awaited CD of the collaboration between composers Lisa Bielawa, Kitty Brazelton, Elaine Kaplinsky, and me (which we performed at the Lincoln Center Festival in 1998 in a production directed by Grethe Barrett Holby) is out on Innova. Check it out!!!
here‘s a nice review of Seth’s CD.
there are some new pieces up on the website: The Flood is a setting of a poem by Robert Frost. You can listen and download here.
and you can listen to and download a score of Brownie Feet here.
also, there’s a now a recording of Fireside available.
I’ve been adding some new stuff lately: highlights include a choral piece called Armon, a violin and electronics piece called Wolf Chaser, and a new addition to A Book of Days for September 17th. I hope you find something that pleases you!
Ethel violinist Mary Rowell is making a version of Landscaping for Privacy where two violins replace the piano part! Check it out on May 11th at 7 pm at the Flea, part of the Tribeca New Music Festival, which looks like a very happening set of concerts.
Not Worth was commissioned by the New York City ensemble Sequitur for an evening of cabaret songs based on the theme of money. I chose and adapted a text from the Analects (Lun Yu 4.5) of Confucius.
Riches and glory,
everyone loves riches and glory.
But if you can’t get them the right way
They’re not worth winning.
Poverty and obscurity,
everyone hates poverty and obscurity.
But if you can’t get rid of them the right way
They’re not worth losing.
Not Worth has been recorded by Sequitur with Kristin Norderval singing; the disk is called To Have and To Hold and you can buy it here.
Not Worth is part of my ongoing project A Book of Days. You can hear Karol Bennett’s excellent live performance by going to February 3rd.
Here is a score of the piece in pdf format. I’m open to you arranging it for your ensemble; let me know what you have in mind.
For a full set of performing materials, you are warmly invited to support this very low-key way of publishing:
I’ve been very bad about posting here for the last few months, so sorry about that! I was whamming on The Man in the Black Suit, an opera based on the Stephen King story of the same name. (I’ll tell you more about that later…) We did a residency down at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and some presentations back in NYC at PS 122, and then I headed out to Macomb, Illinois for a short composer residency at Western Illinois University, which was big fun. I’m back in NYC for a while, and one of the things on my to-do list is to make some serious inroads to updating this blog and website, so stay tuned!
Guitarist Emanuele Forni has released a recording of Until It Blazes on the Stradivarius label. Please go here to order it.
Two of the pieces from the CD Tell the Birds are featured on the 10 September 2007 edition of New Sounds. You can listen to the show here.
Rob Voisey has put together a project where sixty wildly varied composers write one-minute pieces that are released on CD. My contribution to the project is called My Heart Is Trembling, which is also assigned to 30 July in my Book of Days project. You can download the CD from iTunes, or from CD Baby.
Nice review of the CD here.
It Happens Like This was written for cello and actor for a celebration of the poet James Tate at the Guggenheim Museum last fall. I’ve made a publishing page for the piece where you can download the score and listen to a demo. If you want to play it on an instrument other than cello, please let me know, and we can figure out an adaptation.