Ocean Poems contains musical settings of two poems from a set of poems of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach (where the composer completed her graduate studies). Each poem in the set is dedicated to an important person in the poet’s life.

When We’re Gone 10,000 Years from Ocean Poems sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg. This piece uses hocket-like interplay between the vocal parts and metric displacement to create rhythmic propulsion. There is a limited set of rhythmic motifs used throughout the piece, including eighth note and quarter note groupings, triplets, and metric displacement. The technique of text painting is used for certain words to bring the text to life, such as soaring, howling, and tumbling.

I’m Still Here from Ocean Poems, sets the poignant poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg. The poem is dedicated to Al Talberg (1928-2018), Talberg’s father. The piece opens with an insistent rhythmic motor, which is passed among the parts throughout the piece. The constant motion of the repeated text symbolizes the continuing presence of our loved ones, stating “I’m here. I’m still here.” This rhythmic motif continues in various permutations until the final chord, finally resting on the words “I’m still here twixt sea and sky,” reminding us that our loved ones are always with us.

These pieces may be performed as a suite or as stand-alone pieces. This suite would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.

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Mars in Retrograde, commissioned by Kat Anderson and dedicated to The Los Angeles Belles, is a 3-part vocalise for SSA and Piano based on planetary motion and gravitational orbits. The voices represent the orbits of the planets (S1 as Venus, S2 as Earth, and Alto as Mars) around the sun, which is represented by the Piano. Each planet (voice) has a distinct repeating rhythmic pattern whose length corresponds to each planet’s sidereal period (how long it takes the planet to fully orbit around the sun). The repeating rhythmic pattern uses the musical technique of isorhythm, where a repeating rhythmic pattern (called the talea) is combined with separate pitch material (called the color). Venus’s sidereal period is roughly .616 Earth years, corresponding to a 7.5 measure talea. Earth’s sidereal period is 1 Earth year, corresponding to a 12 measure talea (based on the 12 months in a year). Mar’s sidereal period is roughly 1.9 Earth years, corresponding to a 22.75 measure talea. The rhythmic activity increases until the mid-point of each talea, after which the rhythmic value decreases again. This represents how planets increase in speed as they approach their closest point to the sun (perihelion) and decrease in speed as they approach the farthest point from the sun (aphelion).

The entire piece is tuned to the fundamental of Bb, as the lowest recorded note in the universe is a black hole that vibrates at a Bb 57 octaves below Middle C. The piece exclusively uses the Bb Lydian Dominant scale, also referred to as the acoustic scale, which can be created by assembling the first 12 partials of the overtone series based on the fundamental of Bb.

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Spots and Whiskers is a whimsical solo flute piece inspired by a day in the life of a cat. The piece uses extended flute techniques to mimic cat sounds such as flutter tonguing (purring), multiphonics (insistent meowing), and key clicks (claws on the floor). This piece would be a fun and light-hearted addition to any concert featuring solo flute.

It was premiered on June 2, 2018 by Gerardo Lopez as part of the Sound and Fury Concert Series in Los Angeles, CA.

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Lydian Daydream is a whimsical solo cello piece with Lydian and Lydian dominant modal inflections, which are both variations of the major scale. The piece uses extended cello techniques such as pizzicato strumming (imitating a guitar), sul ponticello (playing close to the bridge), and glissandi (sliding between notes). This piece would fit well in any solo or chamber recital featuring cello.

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Evening Comes is a windband ensemble piece dedicated to Maxwell Judah Leviss. The piece has a wide range of emotions, ranging from childlike to aggressive to poignant. Evening Comes ends with a striking reharmonization of the classic melody “Taps”. This piece would work well for any windband ensemble concert.

 

Instrumentation:
Piccolo
Flute 1
Flute 2
Oboe 1
Oboe 2
English Horn
Bassoon
Clarinet in Bb 1
Clarinet in Bb 2
Clarinet in Bb 3
Bass Clarinet
Alto Sax 1
Alto Sax 2
Tenor Sax
Baritone Sax

 

Trumpet in Bb 1
Trumpet in Bb 2
Trumpet in Bb 3
Trumpet in Bb 4
Trumpet in Bb 5
Horn in F 1
Horn in F 2
Horn in F 3
Horn in F4
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba

 

Timpani
Glockenspiel
Xylophone/Triangle
Vibraphone/Suspended Cymbal
Marimba
Snare Drum
Crash Cymbal/Bass Drum

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Vapors explores different sounds the cello can produce and evokes the image of airy and vapory visuals. It calls for advanced cello techniques, including extended passages of natural and artificial harmonics. This piece would work well for a string chamber recital or classical chamber concert.

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Pyramid was inspired by Jennifer Higdon’s 1726, which was named after the address of her school. Similarly this piece is named after the striking blue pyramid of my alma mater, California State University at Long Beach (CSULB). The second movement of Pyramid uses a limited pitch set determined by the German notation of BEACH (Bb E A C B), also an homage to CSULB.

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