Monday, October 30, 2023

Conversation With a Tree (Oak)

 This one came as a surprise. I was looking through scores yesterday afternoon and came across this one, which was dated 2021, but I had forgotten all about it. It needed just a couple small tweaks, all but one being dynamics and articulation. The only thing that makes sense is that it was written so quickly that I didn't get around to playing with it; I must've  written it all in one or two sittings. And for some reason, it seemed important at the time to specify that the tree in question is an oak. I don't remember why.

The main idea is stated right at the beginning -- an upward minor third, a pretty simple motif. It appears initially in the basses -- B/D (B minor) -- followed by col legno strings to emphasize the wooden nature of trees. It's not just minor thirds everywhere -- other themes appear as well -- but while most of the minor thirds are B/D, the trumpets get it on A/C, there are other, more disguised ones in other keys (including E/G), and finally it lands on F#/A before ending back in B. I could've dissected it and added more detail or expanded it (no percussion apart from a few notes from the piano), but since I didn't really remember all of my thinking at the time, I decided that it was already doing what it was supposed to do, so here it is:

Tuesday, October 3, 2023


 Another color piece for string quartet, this one started while working on Brown. It's in F Major, but it takes a while to get there. The first violin opens with ascending fourths while the second violin traces a G minor chord, with the lower voices providing punctuation between episodes. Then the viola and cello get the melody, this time a winding figure, with the violins providing punctuation, leading to a cadence on F-sharp major. This is repeated with some changes, leading into a brief contrapuntal passage in F major (finally) that ends up landing on an A major chord. Then we go through the thing a third time, this one ending up in a somewhat longer contrapuntal passage leading directly into a short coda that ends definitively in F major. Sounds like a lot of stuff, but it's over in less than two minutes:

Next up will probably be Brown, which will be a little longer and calmer. All that's left is an ending and one bar somewhere in the middle that needs fixing.