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BROWSE & LISTEN

Chamber Music (Instrumental) for Winds

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Sonata (in one movement) (2022) | 8'30"

   Soprano Saxophone & Piano

Sonata (2020) | 29'

   Alto Saxophone & Piano

Inkwash (2018) | 5'45"

   Clarinet in B-flat, Clarinet in A, and Guitar

Still Wing On: Three Transcriptions (2018) | 12'

   Saxophone Quartet

Sonata (2014) | 8'30"

   Bassoon (or Violoncello) & Piano

Soupir II: "Aria Con Fantasia" (2013) | 9'15"

   Oboe & 2 Guitars

Open-Air: Four Seasons in Landscapes by Ivon Hitchens (2012) | 12'

   Oboe (d. English Horn) & Violin

Suite (2011) | 9'30"

   Flute & Clarinet in B-Flat

SopSaxSonata

Sonata (in one movement) (2022)

Soprano Saxophone & Piano

Total duration ca. 8'30"

Single-movement work

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15.00

In the fall of 2022, brilliant saxophonist Nicholas May approached me to compose this as a commission for the Charlotte House Series in Kansas City, MO. Inspired by 20th century French chamber music we both admire, this work is a single movement Sonata, cast in a variant on the traditional Classical form. Its primary material includes high tolling chords first heard in the introduction, a long, lyrical first theme and spritely second theme. Employing one of my favorite techniques, the musical material (both melodic and harmonic) is derived from intervals taken from both Nick’s name, and from composer Maurice Ravel’s name, whose Piano Trio’s first movement and posthumously published Violin Sonata in A Minor were important points of inspiration for this piece. I would also like to acknowledge, with gratitude, my friendship with multi-instrumentalist Ronnal Ford, the point of connection between myself and Nick and without whom this piece would not exist.

Sonata (2020)

Alto Saxophone & Piano

Total duration ca. 29'

Four-movement work

I. Chaconne

II. Soliloquy

III. Rumination

IV. Finale

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Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $20.00

AltoSaxSonata

All artwork is a product of its time, whether explicitly within the work’s content or more subliminally in the effects of the time on the creativity of the composer. It is this second way of understanding the composer-contemporary events relationship that can explain the piece’s unfolding, both in creation and in performance. I began discussing the idea of a large-scale Sonata for alto sax with brilliant musician Kyle Blake Jones in the summer of 2019. Roughly, the movements were written in the order of II. (Fall 2019), IV. (Fall 2019-Winter 2020), I. (Spring 2020-Summer 2020), III. (Summer 2020). Falling roughly half on the pre-COVID-19 global pandemic side and half on the mid-COVID-19 global pandemic side, the piece feel to me like it comes from two different worlds, with the alternating movements reflecting my own emotions and understandings at the time. The second movement, for solo saxophone with piano resonance, has an intimate vulnerability to it; the fourth movement is characterized by a frenzied optimism. In contrast, the first movement is a chaconne (a series of variations over a set harmonic progression) that escalates in speed and panic until its violent and abrupt ending; the third movement is wandering and melancholy, inward-looking and largely static. Just as II & IV seem to reflect something of a mentality more fitting for the end of 2019, the melancholy of social-distanced isolation and the anger and panic at the endless escalation of the American Federal Government’s catastrophic mismanagement of the pandemic and chaos of the fight for racial justice against America’s systemic racism and militarized, white supremacist police forces that have dominated 2020 seem to find voice in the turgid meanderings of III and the spiraling variations of I. While I do not think such a program is necessary to appreciate the piece, with half of the work in the past and half of the work in the present, I hope the result, when performed in order, is a work that expresses in sound an emotional journey that reflects our passage into a brighter future: starting with escalating chaos, finding a moment of breathing room for vulnerability and grief, wandering and searching for answers and ways forward, and, finally, advancing with resolve against opposition and, after protracted struggle, triumphing. This work is dedicated to Kyle Blake Jones, whose name generated the melodic and intervallic material of the work’s electric finale, and whose opportunity to perform this live in a post-COVID future will be, itself, a triumph.

Inkwash

Inkwash (2018)

Clarinet in B-flat, Clarinet in A, Guitar

Total duration ca. 5'45"

Single movement work

Dedicated to Laura Bouffard and Leonel Marulanda

Premiered in July 2019

at International Clarinet Fest, in Knoxville, TN
by Laura Bouffard, Leonel Marulanda (Clarinets), and Joey Grimaldi (Guitar) ​

Listen to a recording on SoundCloud

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Recorded performance, July 20, 2019 at International Clarinet Fest in Knoxville, TN, by Laura Bouffard, Leonel Marulanda, and Joey Grimaldi

Inkwash draws upon the effect of inks upon paper in painting. The intricate, spidery lines of India ink that branch out into the rough grain of a sheet of watercolor paper, the sense of distance and atmosphere that this technique can create are visual analogues to the sound world I have tried to craft in this trio for 2 clarinets and guitar. Several ink and watercolor paintings I own by Douglas Johnson were influential in helping me find the mysterious and hazy mood that enshrouds most of this piece, with momentary glimpses of clear light that dot the experience of this piece. The work is dedicated to Laura Bouffard and her husband Leonel Marulanda. Laura was a former Vanderbilt University classmate, and I am grateful to her for the opportunity to write this piece.

Still Wing On

Still Wing On: Three Transcriptions (2017)

Saxophone Quartet

Total duration ca. 12' 

Three-movement work

1. Those That Returned

2. Rock Me, Toss Me

3. Still Wing On

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to recordings on YouTube

Video performance, posted on June 27, 2022, performed by Ronnal Ford

Video performance, posted on June 29, 2020, performed by Ronnal Ford

Work on this piece began back in 2013 with the composition of a piece for mixed chorus that set the poem “Large Red Man Reading” by Wallace Stevens. After years of unsuccessfully seeking permission from the publishers of this poem to use this musical setting, I had resigned the music to my personal dustbin. Like the ghosts of Stevens’s poem (literary influences, ideas incarnated by their being read), this set of pieces consists of notes and rhythms that return from a limbo of literary escrow. In part: the first movement is a setting of Stevens’s poem, the second is a setting of May Swenson’s “I will be earth,” a poem whose permission I gratefully acquired. The third is a setting of Hart Crane’s mystical “A Name for All,” whose opening characters, elusive night insects, evade the pinioning power of words and labels. Like Crane’s nocturnal moths, these pieces shed the restrictions of words, and still wing on in their purely musical expression.

Video performance, posted on June 30, 2020, performed by Ronnal Ford

Bassoon Sonata

Sonata (2014)

Bassoon (or Violoncello) & Piano

Total duration ca. 8'30"

Two-movement work

I.  (With urgency and forward motion)

II. Stark, percussive

Premiered in January 2015

in Baltimore, MD

by Alex Carlson and Sean Calhoun

Purchase the score

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to a recording on SoundCloud

Recorded performance, January 2015 at The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University by Alex Carlson and Sean William Calhoun

Recorded performance, January 2015 at The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University by Alex Carlson and Sean William Calhoun

This Sonata was composed as part of an interdepartmental collaboration at the Peabody Institute in the fall of 2014. A work conceived to be performed either with bassoon or violoncello and piano, this Sonata explores extremes in emotional, and registral, territory in two movements. From catty, sarcastic repartees and high anxiety in the first movement, to the tragedy and introspective melancholy of the second, the work’s tenor came from a desire to compose a piece that explored emotional boundaries that I felt were underrepresented in the bassoon’s solo repertoire. The Sonata’s emotional geography also draws from my close contact with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, Op. 147, which I performed in the role of accompanist in 2011; work on this piece brought back not only the difficult territory of the Viola Sonata itself but some of my own terror at the time as I grappled with a piece on the edge of my proficiency as a performer. Alex Carlson and Sean Calhoun premiered the bassoon version in the spring of 2015 at the Peabody Institute. Mayte García Atienza and Carlos Amat of NOMOS presented the world premiere of the version with violoncello at the VIPA Festival in Valencia, Spain in the summer of 2015.

Soupir II

Soupir II: "Aria Con Fantasia" (2013)

Oboe & 2 Guitars

Total duration ca. 9'15"

Single movement work

Premiered on March 23, 2014

in Austin, TX

by Lindsey Reymore, Robert Brown, and Andrew Rohwedder

Purchase the score

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15 

Listen to a recording on SoundCloud

The title comes from the French word meaning "to sigh." While called a Fantasia it is primarily a series of variations: varied contexts in which the lyrical melody appears and takes on different colorations and meanings. In the clear melody/accompaniment texture, the piece resonates with my lyrical Soupir for violin and string quartet, hence the se The piece is also arranged for oboe and 1 guitar. My dear friend and Vanderbilt colleague Lindsey Reymore requested this work for one of her Master’s Degree recitals. It is dedicated to her.

OpenAir

Open-Air: Four Seasons in Paintings by Ivon Hitchens (2012)

Oboe (d. English Horn) & Violin

Four-movement work, four interludes

I. Early Winter Walk

- Wind I -

II. Boathouse, Early Morning

- Wind II -

III. Poppies in June

- Wind III -

IV. Terwick Mill

- Wind IV -

Premiered on March 19, 2012

in Nashville, TN

by Lindsey Reymore and Caroline Hart

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to a recordings on YouTube

Video performances, March 19, 2012 at the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN by Lindsey Reymore and Caroline Hart

Inspired by the paintings of British landscape artist Ivon Hitchens, this duet unfolds over the course of four movements, each inspired by a painting of a different season, and each followed by an interlude (and finally a postlude) called Winds, indicating a change of seasons. This piece came together partially as the result of a collaborative project with the Royal Academy of Music. It is dedicated to the participants in this project: Shelby Flowers, David Gorton, Caroline Hart, Midori Komachi, Carly Lake, Chris Redgate, Lindsey Reymore, Michael Alec Rose, Peter Sheppard-Skærved, Michael Slayton, Ruta Vitkauskaite, and Agatha Yim. The friendship I have sustained with the son of Ivon Hitchens, John, began with this work, a friendship that has gone on to inspire large scale works including From Sombre Lands, Grounds, Symphonic Poem: From Forgotten Lands, and Grounds, Retraced. Read more about the Dayton-Hitchens story here.

Suite

Suite (2011)

Flute & Clarinet in B-Flat

Total duration ca. 9'30

Four-movement work

I. Pastorale

II. Divertimento

III. Ostinato

IV. Finale

Premiered on October 23, 2011

in Baltimore, MD

by Sarah Wood and Zach Manzi 

Listen to a recording on YouTube

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Video performance, October 23, 2011, at the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music in Nashville, TN by Sarah Wood & Zach Manzi

The Suite presents four contrasting short pieces for two treble instruments. The first movement develops a series of short but broad vignettes, many based on nervous energy of the trill. The second is a comical exchange of melodies between the instruments with a jumpy accompaniment. The third movement is a slow and mournful meditation on a largely unchanging idea. The fourth movement, like the first, presents a number of short ‘scenes,’ in which some past ideas briefly resurface before the piece ends in an abrupt tumble.

MardeLurin

Mar de Lurín, after paintings by Fernando de Szyszlo (2011)

Oboe & Guitar

Total duration ca. 4'30" 

Single-movement work

 

Premiered on October 23, 2011

in Nashville, TN

by Lindsey Reymore and Professor Joshua McGuire

Listen to a recording on YouTube

Recording, October 23, 2011, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN by Lindsey Reymore & Joshua McGuire

Image: Mar de Lurín by Fernando de Szyszlo. Image used with permission.

The paintings of Polish-Peruvian artist Fernando de Szyszlo (b. 1925) were introduced to me by Dr. Michael Alec Rose in the Spring of 2010 and I was transfixed by the vibrant, saturated colors which Szyszlo used, and by the mysteriously ancient quality and subject matter of his art. Szyszlo has produced many series of the same subject, often in varied colors and with different interlopers in each painting. In a manner analogous to music, Szyszlo's artwork is pervaded by motifs which gain their own significance both within each painting and a universal significance within Szyszlo's œuvre. Szyszlo's paintings of the Pacific Lurín from (a coastal city in Peru) are some of his most beautiful and sensuous works. An effect within this series which I have tried to mirror in my musical response is the concept of large-scale stillness and small scale activity, seen in the broad sweeping waves, filled-in with small geometric shapes. Though Szyslo's rendering is not mimetic, it encapsulates the motion of water gesturally and texturally in a uniquely beautiful fashion. This composition is dedicated to Lindsey Reymore and Professor Joshua McGuire.

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Figments.jpg

Mar de Lurín is featured on the Navona Records CD "Figments, Vol. 2" (NV6259). Performed by Jennifer Slowick and David William Ross.

1500x1500px-cover_Vanderbilt Virtuosi-BG

Mar de Lurín is featured on the Blue Griffin Records CD "Vanderbilt Virtuosi" (BGR577).  Performed by Jared Hauser and Richard Todd.

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