As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace.

The first movement, Two Friends, paints a peaceful scene of two friends losing track of time as they sit by the ocean enjoying their time together. The piece opens with serene rolled chords in the piano, which continue throughout almost the entirety of the movement. The constant rolling of the piano creates a sense of ocean waves continuously ebbing and flowing. The opening tenor solo describes the tranquil setting and is then joined by the full choir as “warmth and happiness intermix to form an afternoon shared by two close friends”. The movement features lush harmonies and detailed ensemble interplay. The movement concludes with the continued rolled chords in the piano and a final soft low cluster, as if the texture is sinking into the ocean.

The second movement, Storm’s End, opens with violent and flurried storm-like arpeggios in the piano, in stark contrast to the peaceful character of Two Friends. The tenors and basses open with a rigid imitative texture asserting how “the storm raged across the bliss field”. The piano then mimics raindrops falling more and more violently before finally giving way to a calmer texture. After the “storm” has ended, the full choir enters in a mostly homophonic, hymn-like texture describing an overwhelming peace that sometimes follows after an intense tragedy or loss. The piece climaxes on the words “day” and “fire”, alluding to the feeling of being in love with one’s life despite (and perhaps because of) the pain and suffering one has endured.

The third and final movement, Magic, describes how the narrator senses the closeness of “the spirit kingdom” all around him or her, but only has fleeting glimpses of it. The piece opens with an a cappella dialogue between the altos and tenors, who are then joined by the sopranos and basses. The a cappella opening features lush and tightly packed harmonies that lead to a soprano soloist cueing in a lyrical piano arpeggio. The piece then builds to the joyous climax of the whole song cycle: “But oh, for a moment I grow flowers with my hands!”, alluding to how powerful and wondrous these brief glimpses of the spirit kingdom are. The texture then drops down to lulling a cappella chords in the lower voices as two featured soprano soloists “dance on wings uplifted”. The narrator then finally enters “the kingdom of all” he or she has been sensing, possibly through death. The movement concludes peacefully as the narrator “enter[s] the kingdom of all and AM”. The piano concludes with a peaceful postlude recalling motives used throughout the movement.

This song cycle would be suitable for an advanced high school, college, or professional choir. The movements may be performed as stand-alone pieces or as part of the full cycle.

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“Magic” (the third and final movement of the choral song cycle As Time Stops To Rest) describes how the narrator senses the closeness of “the spirit kingdom” all around him or her, but only has fleeting glimpses of it. The piece opens with an a cappella dialogue between the altos and tenors, who are then joined by the sopranos and basses. The a cappella opening features lush and tightly packed harmonies that lead to a soprano soloist cueing in a lyrical piano arpeggio. The piece then builds to the joyous climax of the whole song cycle: “But oh, for a moment I grow flowers with my hands!”, alluding to how powerful and wondrous these brief glimpses of the spirit kingdom are. The texture then drops down to lulling a cappella chords in the lower voices as two featured soprano soloists “dance on wings uplifted”. The narrator then finally enters “the kingdom of all” he or she has been sensing, possibly through death. The movement concludes peacefully as the narrator “enter[s] the kingdom of all and AM”. The piano concludes with a peaceful postlude recalling motives used throughout the movement.

As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace.

Magic may be performed as part of the entire song cycle or as a stand-alone piece.

Also see the first movement Two Friends and the second movement Storm’s End.

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NEW SUMMER SHOWS! Here are a few highlights of my upcoming summer performances: Sat July 22nd at 7pm at The Coffee House Gallery in Altadena: The Los Angeles Belles will be performing a few of my pieces, including “Shadows“. More info here.   Sunday July 30th at 4pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale: The Los … Continue reading July 19th, 2017

Reflections on Chirality explores the concept of mirror symmetry and inversional relationships in melody and harmony. Chirality is a term used in chemistry to describe a molecule that cannot be superimposed on its mirror image. The term chiral is derived from the Greek word meaning hand. In “Reflections on Chirality”, this term is applied to music by utilizing mirror motions and contrary lines around a central axis, such as C. Harmonic progressions also explore symmetry in their distance from a central axis, such as tonicizing Eb and A, which are both a minor 3rd apart from C. The middle section features harmonic mirror images built from C as the central pitch. The piece also explores complementary contours in both hands. The role and directions of the lines in the left and right hand are switched from the opening A section in the return of the A section.

This modern and technically challenging piece would be a suitable as a solo piece or as an addition to any concert featuring 20th- and 21st-century repertoire.

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Shadows, commissioned by Kat Anderson and dedicated to The Los Angeles Belles, is a meditative piece for SSSAA, Piano, and Singing Bowl (with E tuning). Incorporating elements of minimalism, meditation practices, and modal inflections, “Shadows” creates a reflective and introspective mood. The setting of the text is meant to showcase the entire ensemble and each individual member. The text is passed around between parts, creating fun ensemble interplay.

The text describes the “lingering shadows” in “majestic purples, with touches of gray”, perhaps describing the deep colors left at the end of the day, particularly at dusk. The darkness and “cold winds” described in the text allow us to experience “the power of our lust” as “two souls touch in an explosion of being”. The ensemble highlights these changing moods through both subtle and surprising dynamic shifts and harmonic colors.

“Shadows” is a great piece for any intermediate to advanced women’s ensemble. It may be performed without the piano, if desired.

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Nurse’s Song (Songs of Innocence), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund and dedicated to The Graham Middle School Vocal Ensemble, sets the poignant poem by William Blake from his set of poems “Songs of Innocence and Experience”. While there are actually two “Nurse’s Song” poems, this piece sets the “Nurse’s Song” poem contained in the first set of poems associated with innocence, which deal with youth and childhood. The latter half of “Songs of Innocence and Experience” deals with the loss of childhood innocence that accompanies growing up and gaining experience.

The text alternates between the nurse, who wants the children she is caring for to return from play, and the children, who of course want to play as long as possible. The setting of this poem has an overall palindromic form of ABCBA (the first stanza is repeated at the end). The B section, representing the nurse, is slower and more triadic. The C section, representing the children, is playfully defiant and features a lot of fun dialogue between the soprano, alto, and tenor lines.

This piece is a great fit for any intermediate to advanced middle school choir. The tenor part range is limited, so it is also possible to use this piece for SSA ensembles.

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Winking Waking Wishes Wail is a pensive and sometimes dark art song for soprano and piano. The text is by Susan Jordan, who was the composer’s late aunt. The poem’s text deals with the struggle between reason and dreams. It explores the relationship and interaction between the conscious and subconscious world. The music alternates between dreamy (and perhaps whimsical) and darker, brooding sections. This piece calls for exquisite dynamic control and subtle, expressive tempo alterations.

This song is perfect for a recital or chamber concert.

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Loki’s Tale is a rhythmic and occasionally swinging piece for Bass Clarinet, Marimba, Vibraphone, Piano, Violin, and Cello. It uses low-pitched ostinatos and interwoven ideas that pass between the instruments, making this a rewarding piece for an ensemble.

This short piece would be a great concert opener or closer.

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Frenzy is a short and light-hearted piece for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Piano, Violin, and Cello full of energetic melodic flourishes and rhythmic outbursts. This short piece would make for a fun concert opener or closer.

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Dialogue for Flute and Piano portrays a dialogue between two instruments or characters. The dialogue opens with the central four-note motive of the piece. The flute and piano exchange melodic material until they play together in a more lyrical line. The piano and flute continue to develop upon the four-note motive throughout the piece until they arrive at a slower, andante section. The flute engages in a twelve-tone melody (along with its retrograde and two inversions) and the piano employs a more traditional accompaniment, alluding to how differently the flute and piano are conversing (the flute very logically and the piano more emotionally). The piece concludes with various presentations and inversions of the four-note motive.

This piece would work well in any chamber or instrumental recital.

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