Works for solo performers and small ensembles

Table Manners  2020 15′  A theatrical duet, setting three dialogue-poems by Phillis Levin about connection and competition. These clever, droll and insightful poems show us  universal features of getting close. For soprano, mezzo and a few small props. Commissioned by the dynamic duo, Dhegrae & Digression – Lucy Dhegrae and Ariadne Greif.

Avian Moments   6′  Three pieces for flute quartet:  Piccolo, C Flute, Alto Flute and Bass Flute.   Twittering, fluttering, trilling, floating upwards, spiralling in and out of tonality, these three short pieces mimic and explore birdsong, including the multi-phonics produced by an avian syrinx. This work is dedicated to Jayn Rosenfeld, flautist extraordinaire.  Here is a Garritan demo.

Objects – Food – Rooms  7′  This work for medium voice and clarinet sets three prose poems by Gertrude Stein selected from her book “Tender Buttons”. The poems in the book are grouped into three sections, “Objects, Food, Rooms”. Although the poems take as their subject domestic items and make observations or commemorations of everyday domestic life, Stein’s language gives the reader a view through a fractured lens: looping, repeating and sometimes incomplete grammatical syntax, providing a stream of consciousness, or internal voice, meditating on the subject.  Stein’s keen, often droll observations commemorate the common objects that provide a backdrop to life at home.  This work’s title is taken from the subtitle of “Tender Buttons” – “Objects – Food – Rooms”. It includes one song from each of the three sections of Stein’s book.   Commissioned and premiered by Janet Smarr Pape.

A new version, for baritone, bass clarinet and piano with props is in preparation.

Viola Trio for viola, cello and piano.  13′   Lois Martin has been a pillar of the new music community in New York City for the last few decades, responsible for numerous new works, important premieres, and stunning performances.  She asked me to write a piece for her, for some future recital.   I really appreciate how she thrives when she plays chamber music and so wrote a piece for piano trio.

The piece incorporates classical/romantic era tropes and devices, in structure, phrasing and motivic material, but instead of the patient,  poised and methodical development typical of the classical or romantic era, in this work we thrash through the ideas quickly, often urgently, rushing through four movements in just 13 minutes.

Soliloquy   For solo French horn.  5′. Opening with arching vocal-like lines, Soliloquy veers between folk song and speech-like phrases.   Although the French horn originated as a companion to hunting, in this solo work for the higher tessitura of the modern instrument, we hear a solo voice, seemingly in the wilderness, as it sings existential complaints to the trees – not hunting, but communicating with nature.  Commissioned by Saar Berger.  Here is a Garritan demo.  

Wherewith I Strive 12′  for mezzo-soprano, harp and flute.

  1. …wherewith I strive … an Epigram by Sir Thomas Wyatt
  2. For the Days of My Trouble. Excerpt from the Book of Job
  3. Flute Interlude
  4. A Song, by Phillis Levin.

Three poems about mortality and being here: an epigram by Thomas Wyatt, an excerpt from The Book of Job – the epic poem of moral outrage and anxiety that has served us well during trying times – and a lyric by Phillis Levin, plus a solo flute interlude, which can be performed separately.  Here is the interlude:

Variations / Obsessions  9′   for flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello.  commissioned and premiered by Parnassus Contemporary Music Ensemble, Anthony Korf, conductor.  Merkin Hall, NY.

String Quartet  8′  premiered at the Composers’ Conference, by the Atlantic String Quartet.  Winner of the League of Composers / ISCM Annual Competition in 1981.

Belladonna Dreams  12′.  for woodwind quintet and piano.  commissioned by the Borealis Ensemble Debut Recital, Artists International. Carnegie Recital Hall, NY, NY.