On December 16, I announced my plan to listen and briefly record my responses to the music of the composers who follow me on Twitter. This post is the fifth installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers Kevin Wilt, Nick Norton, Alex Eddington, Thomas Deneuville, and Patrick O’Malley.
Kevin Wilt is a composer teaching at Florida Atlantic University. From Kevin’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Song Of The Phoenix, for orchestra, Variations from Prelude and Passcaglia, for flute and piano, and Fanfare for Winds, for wind ensemble.
I perceive Kevin’s music as very clear and approachable, but not in an apologetic way. For example, Song Of The Phoenix is an exciting work, which I would be thrilled to see on a program and, I believe, most audiences would really enjoy. While Kevin’s music certainly isn’t the only to achieve such a balance, I find this quality admirable.
Nick and I attended the European-American Musical Alliance summer program together in 2008. From Nick’s website, I listened to String Quartet No. 1: London, and And The Band Gets Played, for clarinet, string quartet and audience.
These works, though very different, are impressively cohesive in spite of the wide range of content each features. Although And The Band Gets Played is, at its heart, a chance piece (the audience gets to choose what the ensemble plays), I still credit its persuasiveness to Nick’s sense of compositional design – an ability on full, unfiltered, display in String Quartet No. 1.
Alex is a composer and theatre actor based in Toronto, Canada. From Alex’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Light Looked Down, for chorus, Big Muddy, for piano six hands, and People Are Not Cars, for electronics.
Alex describes his music as, “experimental and not-as-experimental,” terms I found both charming and apt – Light Looked Down is fairly conventional, and the other works are not. Understanding that the above selection over-represents Alex’s, “experimental”, impulse, it bears mention that Big Muddy and People Are Not Cars are very different, and suggest Alex’s experiments, to my delight, take many forms.
Thomas is a composer and social media strategist based in New York. From Thomas’ website, I listened to Phototactic, for piano, the song cycle Cyclothymic (Love) Diaries and an excerpt of Three Short Ostinatos, for orchestra.
These works suggest Thomas’ music is typified by clear harmonies and pervasive rhythmic ideas. I found rhythm to be most powerfully present in Phototactic, where it seemed to be a more forceful element of the music than anything pitch-related. Thomas describes this work as a meditation, and I felt its rhythmic ideas contributed significantly to the contemplative affect he desired to achieve.
Patrick and I attended the Aspen Music Festival together in the summer of 2011. From Patrick’s website, I listened to Superimpose, for orchestra, Five Scales, for brass quintet, and Fantasia for Two Bassoons and Piano.
The expressive language of Patrick’s music appears to be built on a foundation of contrast. In Superimpose and Five Scales, this element is manifested in contrasts of dynamics, material forcefulness and energy, while the contrast in Fantasia is more dependent on contrasts of pure pitch material. To Patrick’s credit, despite these differences, these three works share in a tremendous bounty of evocative and compelling moments.