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SICILIA is a new two-track single that addresses my interest in my Sicilian roots.
SICILIANU (The Lesson) featuring speaker Gaetano Cipolla explores the siciliano form that was developed by baroque Sicilian-born Alessandro Scarlatti and later used by Bach, Mozart, Brahms, etc. The text is written in a combination of English and Sicilianu, the original language of my paternal family. During the work, voices recite numbers, days of the week, months, etc. as if practicing for a sicilian lesson. However, the exercises contain descriptors of the horrible earthquake and tsunami that destroyed most of Messina, Sicily on Monday, December 28, 1908 at 5:20 in the morning.
SAETA (1980) is an early work of mine in its original setting for clarinet, guitar, vibraphone, marimba and cello that I believe expresses the multicultural experience that is Sicily.
LIFE ON THE SCREEN (2016)
In this release, I have returned to my roots in electronic and computer music. Life on the Screen is a short "imaginary soundtrack" or audio play whose first track, Docking Sequence evokes 1980's sci-fi movies and industrial music. The second track, TV on the Beach celebrates cyberpunk fiction and is narrated by a combination of synthesized voices and by my wife, poet Sharon Israel.
DRACULA: Harker's Journal (2014)
My new album, DRACULA: Harker's Journal is a thirty-minute adaptation of the first four chapters of Bram Stoker's classic. This original score expands on my music and sound design for a 2013 production of the play, Dracula by Steven Dietz at the Phoenicia (STS) Playhouse. It includes text from Stoker's 1897 gothic novel. All voices, instruments (guitar and strings), and effects are generated from digital samples. During the production, I played all music and effects from my iPod while seated in the back of the audience. Occasionally, someone in the audience would start talking to me, thinking that I was just checking my email!
KOOOL KITCHEN (2013)
This single, KOOOL KITCHEN, explores cool jazz, baking and pound cake. The music is derived from my earlier work, Night Kitchen (1991) which was written for the Beldames, three women singers and piano. It was a setting of one of my son's favorite books, Maurice Sendak's classic work, In the Night Kitchen. It was premiered in 1991 at a concert of music by Brooklyn composers at the historic Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn.
This newer version, Koool Kitchen, is a tribute to my mother who was known by many for her wonderful pound cake. All spoken voices, and the instrumental octet (two trumpets, trombone, vibraphone, piano, jazz guitar, double bass and drum set), are generated from digital samples.
DIVERTIMENTO FOR MR. BROOKS (2013)
This album was inspired by the children's book, Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks. In this instrumental version, all of the songs, dances and incidental music for a 2004 theatrical production have been created using a computer-generated ensemble of virtual instruments, animals, synthesized voices and sound effects.
Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958), the writer of 26 Freddy the Pig books and the creator of Mister Ed, was the former owner of our house on Main Street in Roxbury, NY. In 1999, I happily accepted a commission to compose an electronic score for Sandra Fenichel Ascher's Freddy, the King of Detectives, an adaption of Brooks' book. The play was produced by the Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, NY in 2004 and by the DreamWrights Youth & Family Theater in York, PA in 2006.
SAMPLE CASE (2012)
Sample Case is an eclectic mix of percussion, instrumental, electronic and ambient works.
Commissioned and premiered by the Conservatory Percussion Ensemble at Brooklyn College, TOCCATA (1986) was influenced by my work at the time with MIDI synthesizers and digital delay units. It is dedicated to Morris "Arnie" Lang who conducted the premiere at Levinson Theater on May 18, 1986. Revised for a percussion quintet of mallet instruments (2010), the work here is presented by an ensemble of sampled instruments returning it back to its original digital world.
THE HIVE (2012), is a two-minute electronic soundscape that deals with the buzzing traffic sounds created by the vehicles driving over the steel grid embedded in the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Actual audio clips on the bridge reveal a similarity to the sound of buzzing bees. These are combined with actual recordings of bees and ambient noise of New York harbor.
THE GREAT BRIDGE, for two drum sets (1981) is dedicated to the Roebling family and all the builders of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was formally premiered by Larry Spivack and Jason Cirker on November 1, 1983 at Bargemusic, the floating concert hall docked at Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn beneath the Great Bridge. The 6.5 minute work uses canons, panning and a somewhat jazzy rhythmic theme in a quasi-rondo form.
FLASHLIGHT (2012) was originally composed for a radio show spot on WIOX, our local community station.
INTROITUS, for brass quintet (1981) was originally written for a reading session by the American Brass Quintet which performed the work at Whitman Auditorium, Brooklyn College. Inspired by early antiphonal psalmody, the performance requires some physical separation of the players into three groups.
INVOCATION, for marimba and string orchestra (2010) is a one movement, ten-minute piece that gradually gets louder and accelerates employing what is now known as tempo (or metric) modulation. This technique, developed mainly by American composer Elliot Carter (1908-2011) was taught to me by Paul Jacobs, pianist/harpsichordist of the New York Philharmonic, and a champion of Carter's music.
LITTLE MURDERS (2012)
This chamber work for vibraphone, piano and FX was derived from the original incidental music commissioned by the Shandaken Theatrical Society (STS) in Phoenicia, NY for their 2010 production of Jules Feiffer's dark comedy, Little Murders (1967). All voices, instruments, and effects are generated here from digital samples.