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 sixth installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers Joseph Eidson, Tina Tallon, Kenneth David Stewart, George Heathco and Laura Olson.
Joseph is a composer teaching at Gettysburg College in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. From Joseph’s website, I listened to this is the garden, for orchestra and Cradling Persephone, for flute, clarinet and cello.
Joseph describes his music as containing rhythmic drive, crisp harmonies and lyrical melodies; and, I noticed, in addition to these qualities, these two works possess clear, well-executed forms. For example, I found the form of this is the garden so well communicated, I was rooting for it to play out a certain way – the way Joseph designed it – and I was very satisfied when it did so.
Tina is a composer currently studying at the University of California, San Diego. From Tina’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Heliotrope, for cello, clarinet, saxophone, piano and cello, selective defrosting, for string quartet and Sphinx, for soprano and clarinet.
These works display the seemingly opposing qualities of intense instrumental noise and emotive lyricism, which abound in Tina’s music. Sphinx is an extreme example of Tina’s penchant for pure sound, while the lyricism in selective defrosting sounds rather traditional. In a Goldilocks-ian turn, Heliotrope marks a more cohesive and contained unfolding of these characteristics within the scope of one work.
Kenneth David Stewart:
Kenneth and I overlapped for a couple years at Rice University, he currently studies at Duke University. From his SoundCloud page, I listened to the electronic works Visual Silence and Four Splices, and T H E T A S T A T E, for jazz trio and pre-recorded sound.
All three works moved through their material very fluidly – the electronic pieces, in particular, possessed an ambience, but even T H E T A S T A T E, with its greater degree of internal contrast, operated smoothly. Interestingly, Kenneth has collaborated with non-classical ensembles – the band Faster Than Light and the jazz group The Bad Plus – which evidences the genre-ambiguity (or genre-flexibility) of his output.
George is a composer and guitarist based in Houston, Texas. From his website, I listened to nine moments for cage, for electric guitar and marimba, and shifting landscapes, for violin, clarinet and piano.
There was something very warm and personal about these pieces. Perhaps this is more obvious in the setting of nine moments for cage’s intimate scoring, but I felt this in shifting landscapes – a decidedly more active and diverse sounding work – as well. In some way, both works indicated that, despite the evidence of models and influences, their sound was very individual to George’s artistic discretion.
Laura is a composer based in California whose online presence comes through the recording label – Blue Steer Studios. From the label’s SoundCloud page, I listened to the tracks Sirius The Dog, Mossflower Country, and Prologue And Family from the soundtrack to the web series Border Guardians Of Ackernon.
These pieces have sweeping, lyrical melodies and are scored with synthesizers buttressed occasionally by concréte or processed sounds. Though only one works is designated as a soundtrack, all three convey strong imagery and internal narratives, a characteristic I’m sure serves Laura well when her music is paired with other media.