A Modern Twist

Around the end of 2019, I came across a 4 bar melody in my sketchbook and decided to expand on it a bit. I posted to YouTube under the title “A Stately Theme (British Period Drama Music)”. About a month later, I was contacted by a film student from the norhtern School of Art in the UK requesting permission to use it for a commercial they were producing for the Nahemy Kodak Commericals Student Film competition.

Here is the finished spot:

And here is the original post with just the music:

Tension & Isolation

Another in my series of “theme” pieces. This piece was conceived as a cue for a drama scene rather than a standalone composition.

I had experimented with adding some strings, but I liked it better just as a solo piano piece.

Melancholy Tango

This is another tune that had its genesis as a 4-bar melody jotted in my sketch book. I expanded it to what might be considered the “exposition” of a sonata movement.

I didn’t develop it any further but posted it to YouTube in this form with the ida that it could be used as an opening theme for a show or podcast.

Arranged for strings and percussion.

Song 13

My daughter does a lot of painting, and although she has not had any formal training, she’s really quite good. I got inspired by some of her works and wrote this music to accompany a slideshow of her works.

The main section is in 15/8 time – divided more or less into a measure of 6/4 plus a measure of 3/8. The bridge shifts to 4/4, ending with a bar of 11/8, and a bar of 7/8 before returning to the main groove in 15/8.

The Relaxed Abalone

This is the first in my series of what I’m calling “Art Songs”.  Taking a cue from Charles Ives, these are piano and vocal pieces, the text being various pieces of poetry set to music.  The text for this piece is an example of “found” poetry which poet Rosemary Waldrop came across in The Joy of Cooking and arranged as verse:

Abalone, like inkfish,
needs prodigious pounding
if it has died in a state
of tension.

Rooms For Tourists – A Symphonic Rhapsody via Glenn Miller

Rooms for Tourists depicts a Cape Cod inn that still stands to this day in Provincetown, Massachusetts near the house the Hoppers summered at in neighboring Truro. Hopper completed at least two sketches in preparation – one depicting the inn during the day, the other at night.

Musically, this is a piece in which my jazz roots are on full display. The first two chords – a Bb Major 7th followed by a Bb Diminished Major 7th – have a very strong WWII-era feel to them, reminiscent of Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade.

Harmonization cell from "Rooms for Tourists."
Harmonization cell from “Rooms for Tourists.”

What’s especially striking about this piece is the way Hopper handles the multiple light sources: the artificial light from inside the inn, the light illuminating the outdoor sign, the moonlight lighting about the building’s facade, etc. This is probably the “cheeriest” of Hopper’s works to be featured in this suite. Where most of the painting depict moments of contemplative silence and solitude, this seems to imply warm feelings of community. One can imagine the sounds of good food being consumed, laughter and good conversation emanating from within.

The Mansard Roof – Excerpt (Adagio)

The Mansard Roof is slated to be the last movement of “Part I” of This Excellent Desolation. It’s one of my favorite Edward Hopper works (I’m a sucker for Mansard roofs as well…) and this piece will, when completed, attempt to capture the ebb and flow of the summer breezes. This excerpt is from the “calmer” part of the day when the winds have died down a bit. The house depicted in the painting was built by Captain Gardner K Wonson in 1873 on Rocky Neck in Gloucester, MA.