Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year!

As 2013 draws to a close, I'm looking forward and back.  What happened this year?  What didn't?  What's in the works for next year?

For one thing, 2013 was the year I started this blog.  There are a lot of things I have to share that simply don't fit in a tiny FaceBook post.  That's as true now as it ever was.  One of my goals for next year will be to pick a better title; if you search "About Music" on Blogspot, you'll find a large number of blogs with similar titles.  I'll be looking for something a bit more poetic and descriptive, and will welcome suggestions.

My inaugural video went up on YouTube this year.  Hopefully there will be more, and better, to follow.

2013 was also the year of Moving Seven Ways, a set of seven short pieces for viola and claves.  They stay in first position throughout, which makes them good for intermediate students.  The viola part of one of them is entirely col legno, which will be challenging for those who haven't yet explored that technique extensively.

The number of my piano pieces inspired by poetry increased in 2013, with "Gəlir", a response to a poem by Nigar Rafibeyli.  There will be more to come; I discovered many fine poets in 2013, both from Azerbaijan and other places, and several of those poems are prompting musical responses.

Scenes from a Fantasy Novel is not based on poetry, but it's a set of ten short pieces with titles inspired by fantasy-novel kinds of scenes.  Still some editing to be done, but basically ready to intrigue and delight.

Piano four hands is a genre I started exploring in 2013.  Most of the pieces I've produced so far have been pretty lightweight: a chorale prelude, and a set of variations on "The Spanish Lady's Love", to name two, but more substantial fare will likely follow.

My biggest disappointment of 2013 was not finishing the string quartet.  It's getting closer, but there's still work to be done.

I did get a short piece for saxophone quartet finished, this one a chorale prelude on "Nun danket alle Gott".  My avid saxophonist uncle finally has something of mine he can play with his friends!  This was extremely long overdue, and it's great to have it done.  More saxophone quartet music is planned, in one form or another.

Apart from composition, 2013 was the year of Audacity.  I've been using it for some time for small tasks such as converting between file formats, but this year I started digging in and actually moving things around.  I've been wanting to produce some CD's for awhile, and this is a substantial step in that direction.

Which brings me to next year.  On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at the Bloomingdale School in Manhattan, 7:00 PM, a concert of my work will feature cellist Caroline Stinson, saxophonist Javier Oviedo, and me.  This is a concert of unaccompanied solo pieces, including Strength and Beauty, inspired by portraits by Li Ming Shun, for unaccompanied cello, Sonata No. 1 for unaccompanied tenor saxophone, and piano pieces inspired by the poetry of Andrew Kreider.

In mid-June, I'll perform in a concert in Goshen, Indiana, but right now don't have much information about what will be on the program.  It's likely it will include Scenes from a Fantasy Novel, maybe some of the Goldberg Variations, and perhaps some of the pieces being worked on for the CD mentioned below.  But I'd also like to do some things with musicians from Goshen, and plans for those are still up in the air.

The home-recording work is leading toward compilation of a CD, likely to include keyboard music of Frescobaldi, Froberger, and J.S. Bach; more news as it happens.

In terms of composition, it's long past time for the string quartet to be finished, but of course these things don't always happen on cue.  More saxophone quartet music, and more music for piano four hands are in the works, with plans also for some wind ensemble music and a string orchestra piece for a youth orchestra in Washington Heights.

My musician friends are certainly laughing at this point, because they know too well how easy it is to decide you want to do something ... and how difficult it is to actually get it done!

Good wishes to all for a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!

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