Monday, November 23, 2015

On a phrase by Beethoven

"On a phrase by Beethoven" (November, 2015)

A short phrase from Beethoven, repeated, overlaid on itself, gradually stretched out and distorted. I've used this form in a number of pieces (usually with audio samples). It makes for simple pieces in that they go in a single direction, but the procedure has a way of generating happy musical accidents, and provides a lot of room for maneuver.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Canzone 23

"Canzone 23" (September, 2015)

Cosí lungo l'amate rive andai,
che volendo parlar, cantava sempre
mercé chiamando con estrania voce;
né mai in sí dolci o in sí soava tempre
risonar seppi gli amorosi guai,
che 'l cor s'umilïasse aspro et feroce.

So I went along a pleasant stream
and wishing to speak I found I always sang,
calling for mercy in a strange voice,
but never making my loving sorrows echo
in so sweet or in so soft a mode
as to make that harsh and savage heart relent.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

With Melodious Voice

The new Paragaté album With Melodious Voice is now available for download on Bandcamp.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Couperin's Birds

"Couperin's Birds" (June, 2015)

Northern mockingbirds are common where I live. In early spring they like to give recitals. The bird will sit in a tree and run through his repertoire (almost all of the loud singers are unmated males). This consists of the songs of other birds along with sirens, car alarms, and other sounds of the suburbs. Sing a song, repeat, repeat, pause briefly, sing a different song, repeat - the bird can go on this way for hours.

Although this is a wondrous and interesting thing to hear for a few minutes, it is not an unalloyed pleasure in larger doses. In my case the recital stage was an oak tree only twenty-five or thirty feet from my bedroom window - did I mention they are very loud? - and the bird's favorite time to concertize was between midnight and five in the morning. This would go on for weeks. I confess to having extremely uncharitable thoughts toward this bird from time to time.

Eventually it moved on. Maybe it found a mate. Wikipedia says the mated males and the females do sing, but quietly.

I had not thought of this bird for a while, until I was playing through some of Couperin's harpsichord music (on the piano) one afternoon, and was struck by the thought that the endlessly trilled, turned, and ornamented upper lines of a Couperin keyboard piece reminded me of this mockingbird. "Couperin's Birds" is a short piece for my own take on this musical character.

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About Me

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
I live near Boston, and compose mostly postminimal and ambient electronic music. I often collaborate with Tim Risher, as part of Tim's project Paragaté.

Music by me, Tim, and Paragaté can be found on the Camerata Music page.


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