Welcome to my blog

I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Concertino for Alto Sax and Wind Ensemble

I have started on the Concertino and have about 20 seconds completed. For me, getting started is always the most difficult. I find it difficult for two reasons. The first is that I fear repeating myself. One of the criticisms of art that I frequently hear is that it is not original. I take that as critics are always looking for artists to invent something new. I think this is where music went astray during the 2nd half of the twentieth century where newness was more important than quality. I think that traditional materials can be used in new and refreshing ways. The second reason is that my music tends to get too complex too soon. This saxophone Concertino exemplifies how I dealt with these two concerns.

I began by creating some of the melodic lines and scored them so that the saxophone and wind ensemble alternate with each other. The melodic lines are fairly simple and are characteristics of my style where I like minor modalities and slide easily between different modes and tonal centers. It is hard at the beginning to know if one is just being consistent with their style or becoming repetitive between each composition. But I soon find that each idea suggests its own treatment that is often different than anything I have done before.

After getting most of the melodic lines written, I began to fill in the harmony and orchestrate the ideas. Even though the meter for the composition is 2/2, the phrasing is in a pattern other than 2/2. For example, the beginning starts with a 3 beat phrase followed by a four beat phrase. When the saxophone comes in, the horns accompany the soloist with a rhythmic pattern that repeats every 2 1/2 beats. This creates a complexity behind what appears to be simple ideas. If I started with a complex melodic idea, the counterpoint and rhythmic transformations would not work as well.

I'm heading on a camping trip for two weeks to visit family. While I might not blog, I hope to get composing time in on both my projects.

To see and hear what I have composed thus far, go to http://www.cooppress.net/concertino_blog.html

Dr. B

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Back Composing Again

Hello again to all my readers. I have now completed my move to Arizona and we have set up our new home and music publishing and recording business. Everything took longer than expected, but it is nice to be settled and we are enjoying being in the southwest.

I am now back composing. I am currently working on two projects. The first is a new concerto for alto saxophone and band for my former colleague, Dr. Andy Wen. Andy premiered my Lan Na Thai for Alto Saxophone and Pre-recorded sounds at the world Saxophone Congress in Thailand during July. The second project is a reworking of an orchestral piece of mine called "Legacy" for the award-winning chamber music group enhaké. The group consists of clarinet, violin, cello and piano.

This is the first time I have worked on two projects simultaneously. But since one of these is more arranging than composing, it should go smoothly. I'll be reporting on my progress with the saxophone concerto and linking to where you can see and hear this progress. As usual, I welcome your comments.

Dr. B