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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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wonderland for Chamber Ensemble

I am now beginning a 15 minute good high school/early college level composition based on characters from Alice in Wonderland for a chamber ensemble of 3-5 players. It is called "Wonderland" and contains descriptive movements such as Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Queen, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mock Turtle. The composition would be created so that it can be customized to fit either unusual instrumentation or standard instrumentation. Rebecca Hovans' review in the Winter 2014 Flute Quarterly of my compositions on the Ardente Duo CD states, "Many of the pieces are adaptions for flute and clarinet of works previously composed for other instruments. However, had I not known this from reading the program notes, I would have never guessed. The pieces fit the flute/clarinet pairing perfectly."

This piece is being created as a result of the Wonderland Commissioning Consortium consisting of groups who promise to pay a $25 commissioning fee upon completion of the work with the possibility of having the fee refunded upon submitting a program from a performance and a recording. For more information about the consortium, visit http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page385/index.html

The way that I plan to go about this is to create the score in four unspecified SATB parts. This would give me the flexibility to expand to five instruments or reduce to three instruments as needed. If the group uses piano, that can be accommodated as well. I plan to create specific versions for each of the participants as articulations and balance will need to be customized. The participants in the consortium will always have the ability to request a version to fit their changing instrumentation needs without any further charge.

Below is an outline of each movement:

Alice – This movement will be in two main sections. The first will depict Alice falling down the rabbit hole by lots of descending lines and a fast tempo. I would also like to try to incorporate some augmentation over the descending lines to give the illusion that while she is falling rapidly, it appears to her that she is falling slowly. The second part would musically represent Alice as she constantly changes size. I would accomplish this through changing the texture of the orchestration and rapid changes in dynamics.

The White Rabbit – This movement would have a scherzo quality as the rabbit is always trying to outrace time.

The Cheshire Cat – The Cheshire cat is always disappearing, therefore the musical ideas in this movement will gradually disappear as well.

The Mad Hatter – Sentenced to perpetual tea for killing time, the hatter’s tea party is one of chaos and confusion. The music will be chaotic and confused by rapidly changing ideas and free use of dissonance.

The Mock Turtle – The Mock Turtle’s story is sad and he is always shedding tears. This movement would be lugubrious in its minor mode and mournful melodies.

The Queen of Hearts – The Queen is always unhappy and goes around threatening to cut off everyone’s head. The music for this movement would depict her unhappiness and anger.

Epilog: Alice’s Awakening – Alice awakens in her sister’s lap and relates her dream. The music would use ascending lines punctuated by remembrances of each of the characters.

I am looking forward to working on this composition and sharing my progress here.

Dr. B

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