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 fifteenth installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers Luke Gullickson, Karen Siegel, James Ricci, Kirk O’Riordan, and Alex Temple.
Luke Gullickson is a composer based in Chicago. From Luke’s SoundCloud page, I listened to the song The House, Valley of the Moon in Big Horn Mtn Range Sheridan Wyoming, for fixed media, and Outer Channel, for two pianists and two percussionists.
I found these works touching and fundamentally sentimental. The House and parts of Outer Channel convey this character through a style that feels genuine,warm and modern, but not cloying. Valley of the Moon uses different materials to achieve a similar sense of nostalgia, insofar as it features audio samples of friends telling stories, presumably around a campfire.
Karen is a composer, vocalist, and conductor based in Hoboken, New Jersey. From Karen’s website, I listened to “October 1st” from October in Galicia and “Felucca: The Listening” from Reflections on Espionage, both for voice and string quartet, as well as Vit encore la mousque, quel pasir!, for choir.
Karen describes the delightful Vit encore as a, “re-imagining of fifteenth century Franc-Flemish chanson,” the spirit of which I believe applies to all three works. The two art songs clearly respect the Romantic vocal tradition, but do so in a manner distinct and distant from these precedents.
James is a composer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. From James’ website, I listened to the third movement of Quintet, for pierrot ensemble, Indigo Blue, for flute and piano, and To the Solar Winds, for wind quintet.
These works demonstrate a wide range of musical expression, as well as a notable keenness for instrumental color. For example, the third movement of Quintet and To the Solar Winds are nuanced, energetic and contrapuntal. Indigo Blue is, contrastingly, very sensual and lyrical; and, while the other two works deftly exploit instrumental color, Indigo Blue highlights this musical element the most.
Kirk is a composer, conductor, and saxophonist based in Easton, Pennsylvania. From Kirk’s website, I listened to Chaconne, for violin and orchestra, River Lights, for orchestra, and the first two movements of Ductus figuratus, for saxophone and chamber ensemble.
Chaconne and Ductus figuratus are concerto-esque works (the Chaconne is also part of Kirk’s violin concerto), and, as a matter of course, feature melody. River Lights, however, is decidedly unmelodic and atmospheric, a timbre-centric work that shines against two other well-orchestrated pieces. Beyond the skillful use of color, these works are bound by their captivating and expansive characters.
Alex is a composer based in Chicago; we occasionally correspond online. From Alex’s website, I listened to “Introduction” from The Travels of E.C. Dumonde, for voice and electronics, Thick Line, an indeterminate piece for saxophone and wind quintet, and Stile Antico, for flute and piano.
These works evidence a wry sense of humor. You can hear it clearly in the textual delivery of E.C. Dumonde, or in the wild gestures of Thick Line. This sensibility is more subtly present in the older Stile Antico, which suggests this wit may be a persistent, underlying presence in Alex’s music.