In the previous post, https://hiltonkeanjones.com/2014/08/23/new-anthem/, I had a link to the first of a series of choral pieces based on Transcendentalist poets. The two transcendentalists everyone knows are, of course, Emerson and Thoreau, but there are many more than just those two, and a surprising number of them are women. More than half of the poems I’ve selected are by these women transcendentalists.
The text of the first choral piece in the series, the one featured last week, is by a famous male poet, Longfellow. A friend asked if I was going to post a demo of the choral piece. I didn’t really want to do that–I think choral piece demos sound particularly cheesy (not that other things don’t). What I have done, however–and I intend to do this for every one of the choral pieces–is I reworked them, texturally, into orchestral pieces.
The group of pieces will be called Transcendentalists, and for the orchestral versions, instead of the poem’s titles, I’m using the authors’ names as titles. So, if you want to follow along with some notes, look at last week’s post. Eventually, I’ll post the orchestral score and edit this post to give a link for it.
Here’s the SoundCloud link for Longfellow.
I’m working on a new set of anthems, all extremely easy, all on American Transcendentalist poems. These texts work very well for liberal congregations of any denomination, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic, Judaism, etc., in that they are theistic but not necessarily in an Abrahamic tradition, which also makes them appropriate for denominations such as Unitarian-Universalist or Unity. This is the first of this set of anthems.
|I Look to Thee in Ev’ry Need
music by Hilton Kean Jones
2-part mixed w/divisi women
(Click to open PDF.)
I added a new track to The Geography of Dreams: Amidst the city’s desolation, the Anima appears as a woman clothed in radiant white.
There’s two kinds of programmatic music: what are often called “character pieces,” short pieces with a descriptive title, the music generally depicting the emotions and character of that description; the other being the “tone poem,” longer pieces depicting blow-by-blow actions of a story line. Late Baroque composers and were fond of the character piece and early 20th century composers of the tone poem (a generalization, of course…character pieces have been popular ever since they were invented, even into the present). This movement is closer to the tone poem approach.
The Geography of Dreams with two movements…more to follow.
I was fortunate to have the late Robert Helps perform one of my pieces twice: once at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1999 and once on Hawaii Public Radio in 2000. These are the recordings made of those two performances. He was such an amazing pianist…and wonderful friend of many. Both of Bob’s performances of this piece now posted on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/salve-regina-from-roma-2.
Thanks to the generosity of John Stephan, owner of the Springs Theater recording studio (www.springstheatre.com/home.html), I have been able to record this collection; John also edited & mastered the tracks.
Here’s the SoundCloud link for the entire set: Meditations & Reflections.
In this post, however, I wanted to feature the first track I received back from John: Jasmine.
I’ve started a new suite of pieces, The Geography of Dreams. At various times in my life, I’ve kept a handheld tape-recorder in bed and recorded dreams immediately after they happened. Even before I started doing that, I was aware that certain “places” kept showing up in my dreams. Eventually, I got so curious about this, I drew a map of this dreamworld. It has an actual geography!
So…this suite will portray some of those places and dream-events that happened in them. So far, there’s only this one movement: Busts made of cork spinning slowly through the air — the title (and dream) has sort of a René Magritte feel to it, doesn’t it?!
If you’d like to download the score, HERE is the PDF.
A good cyber friend from Second LIfe is, in Real Life, an expert creative seamstress and doll maker. A recent event for which she designed and made clothes was TribalXFest (also see LuluVoodoo for examples of her costumes).
This music is fascinating to me. In Real Life, the ultra-liberal church I work for has frequent drumming circles. In Second Life there are elven drum circles where groups of fae may jam one electronic drums while others of us dance widdershins. I confess I prefer worked out drumming to jamming but that’s from the perspective of a listener/composer. I’m sure for drumming participants it’s cathartic!
So, this new movement for The Forest is Elven Drums. I used traditional rhythms for part of the drums, tracks (Maqsum and Baladi for the main body of the song and Nawari and Bambi for the relief strain). Please don’t think I know what I’m doing with these rhythms. I tracked them down on the internet and then used them my own way. A purist will, I’m sure, be in pain listening to how I mangled them.
Here is a link to The Fairy Ring, the newest addition to The Forest. The first link takes you to the newe addition and the second link takes you to the complete set (only four movements at this point, but about a dozen anticipated).
If you don’t know for sure what a “fairy ring” is, here’s a good description and some background on celtic fairy rings: http://anamkaracentre.com/Celtic_Fairy_Ring.html.
One of my favorite pastimes has become spending time in Second Life as a fairy. (That’s me in the picture on the left.) This whole set is inspired by my activities and friends there.
Larger pieces evolve and often change direction, entailing a complete reworking of the idea and its parts. That’s what’s happening with this new groups of pieces called “The Forest.” The Soundcloud tags I’m using are “electronic,” “ambient,” “fae,” and “elven.” So…that pretty well describes where this group is settling in!
This involved a makeover of one completed piece, a reassignment of yet another earlier piece, the deletion of another, and, most recently, the composition of a new one (“Forest Dawn”). It feels like there’ll be maybe another 5 pieces or so in this set.
Here’s a direct link to the Soundcloud set: http://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/the-forest, and below is the widget. As I add new movements, I’ll up date the widget.
Below is the Soundcloud widget for Symphonic Waltz, a short, stand-alone, “overture” of the sort every composer is told they should write for orchestra because no modern orchestra will play anything longer than 8 minutes by a living composer. So…here’s my obligatory 8 minute piece. I like it, even if the orchestra board of the local amateur orchestra didn’t. They demanded that I remove their name from the dedication or they would sue me. So, I removed their name. What an honor. Isn’t there some joke with a punch line like that (“I’ve been thrown out of better bars…” or something.)
HERE is a link to a piano condensation of the piece. I think (I’m not absolutely sure) this condensed score is in agreement with the final orchestral score. It’s “close enough” that you can see what’s going on, which is the only reason I’ve provided it.
I just discovered that I’d already posted this before! Ah well…here’s the link to that one–it has a link to the full orchestral score: https://hiltonkeanjones.com/2013/04/06/symphonic-waltz/ This post has a link to a piano condesation which may be easier reading for those interested in how the notes go.