Archive for May, 2004

Concerto for Musician

Sunday, May 9th, 2004

         I finished writing a new guided improvisation orchestra piece called Concerto for Musician. Concerto for Musician, what does that mean? Unlike traditional concerto, which are usually for a particular instrument, Concerto for Musician is for a multi-instrumentalist. The first movement is for a soprano instrument, then second movement is for an alto instrument and the last movement is for a bass instrument. At the world premiere the “musician” was me, the composer. I played the first movement on flute, then second movement on alto saxophone and the third moment on bassoon.

        Each movement has a feeling or sound, which is reflected in the movement’s title. The first movement is entitled: Cosmological. This movement has a vast sound with flares of energy and twinkling. The first movement tapers in to the second movement, which is entitled: Mechanical. This movement has a fast pulse and sounds like many mechanisms working at once. Aqualogical is the title of the third movement, which has an organic and liquid sound. One can hear the depths and breadth of the ocean in this movement.
        Concerto for Musician uses an unusual compositional technique: guided improvisation. As apposed to free improvisation where everyone does what ever they hear or see fit during the music, guided improvisation uses some rules to limited the sounds and directions so the composer can get the sound and feeling he is after. Standard Jazz music could be considered guide improvisation, but the “rules” in Concerto for Musician are different then the rules of Jazz music. Some of the techniques used in this work are based on Larry Ochs’ “Radar” techniques. The soloist follows some rules as well, but is basically aloud to do want he/she wants. The soloist is encourage to use extend techniques like multi-phonics (playing more then one note at a time) and sounds on the instruments that are appropriate to the movement. The SFCCO premiered this piece (Program Notes) on May 9th, this performance would not be possible if it was not for the Subito grant I was awarded from the American Composers Forum.