» Music for Contemporary Dance

Orchestral/Large Ensemble (2017-present)

Acqua (2018)

cello octet (plus contemporary dancers)
14 min. 30 sec.

Acqua was conceived as a work for eight cellos (with musicians to be seated in a circular configuration), in collaboration with a small group of dancers.  The music’s formal structure draws roughly from Indian classical music, with a slower introduction section, followed by a more rhythmic section—with rhythmic patterns inspired both by Indian classical music, as well as by the music of Mali.

The piece is tied to the various states of water, beginning with ice: transparent textures, simple yet elegant ornamentation, plenty of space to breathe—melting into ripples, and agile layers of rhythmic energy and activity.  Then, there is the plunge into the climactic section: “Water is the driving force of nature”, wrote Leonardo da Vinci.  Water truly is the source of life, too—without it, we would not exist.  It is both a subtle and an incredibly powerful force.  Finally, the piece transforms into rising “vapour” at the end of the work.  Acqua is an exploration of extremes: an ode to the gentle beauty and power of water.

Acqua was written for and premiered by members of Allegra Chamber Orchestra (directed by Janna Sailor), and premiered at Notional Space, Vancouver, on September 15th, 2018, with dancers (directed by choreographer Linda Arkelian).

Sheet music is available through the Canadian Music Centre:

(sheet music link to come soon)

 

Equinox (full orchestra) (2017)

full orchestra
7 min. 

Equinox refers to the time of year when the sun crosses the celestial equator; when days and nights are of equal length. For this work, I was thinking in particular of the autumnal equinox, when nature shifts from a lush green palette and long stretches of sunny days, to a more compressed, colourful existence with a briskness in the air, heralding the fall season.

This piece was originally composed for a Macedonian ensemble, Music Progressive Quartet, (Vladimir Lazarevski- oboe, Vladimir Krstev- violin, Marko Videnovic- viola, and Paskal Krapovski- cello), whom I had the pleasure to tour with, while visiting the Balkans in the summer of 2012. There are many references to Balkan rhythms, melody, and ornamentation in this music, though not in any traditional context. Equinox is a convergence of elements that creates the unique sense of vitality and shifting of balance inherent in the changing seasons.

Equinox (in its original quartet version) was written in 2013, and premiered on March 30th, 2014 (with Geronimo Mendoza- oboe, Mark Ferris- violin, Manti Poon- viola, and Sue Round- cello), at Pyatt Hall, Vancouver, Canada, at the closing night of the Sonic Boom Festival. The orchestral version of Equinox was created in 2017, at the request of Maestro Bujar Llapaj, for premiere by the West Coast Symphony Orchestra (of Vancouver, Canada), while on tour through the Balkans in March 2018.

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* Performance Note: Since this work was originally written for quartet (oboe, violin, viola, and cello), it features prominent solo parts for these instruments. The work can either be performed in concerto-style, with a quartet of soloists positioned in front of the orchestra, or it can be performed with the soloists in regular orchestral seating.

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Sheet music is available through the Canadian Music Centre:
http://musiccentre.ca/node/149971

Wind on the Downs (2017)

chamber orchestra (flute, clarinet, trumpet & strings), and female narrator
10 min. 15 sec.

Wind on the Downs was inspired by a poem of the same name by British writer, Marian Allen. The poem was written in May 1917, a few days after Allen heard the news that her fiancé, Arthur Tylston Greg, had been killed in an air battle over France. He was 22 years old.

You will hear a female narrator reading Allen’s poem, while the music leads the listener on a path through the various emotional stages of grieving a loved one.  The piece incorporates some melodic ideas based on military bugle calls, which will gently morph as the poet winds her way through the journey of making sense of her loss.  Although the poem is a very personal one, I believe it’s also universal—the challenge of moving through the loss of someone close, to eventually find some kind of renewed hope in life.

Wind on the Downs was commissioned by the Allegra Chamber Orchestra, and received its premiere at Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, Canada, on Remembrance Day (November 11th), 2017.

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“I like to think of you as brown and tall,
As strong and living as you used to be,
In khaki tunic, Sam Brown belt and all,
And standing there and laughing down at me.
Because they tell me, dear, that you are dead,
Because I can no longer see your face,
You have not died, it is not true, instead
You seek adventure in some other place.
That you are round about me, I believe;
I hear you laughing as you used to do,
Yet loving all the things I think of you;
And knowing you are happy, should I grieve?
You follow and are watchful where I go;
How should you leave me, having loved me so?

We walked along the towpath, you and I,
Beside the sluggish-moving, still canal;
It seemed impossible that you should die;
I think of you the same and always shall.
We thought of many things and spoke of few,
And life lay all uncertainly before,
And now I walk alone and think of you,
And wonder what new kingdoms you explore.
Over the railway line, across the grass,
While up above the golden wings are spread,
Flying, ever flying overhead,
Here still I see your khaki figure pass,
And when I leave the meadow, almost wait,
That you should open first the wooden gate.”

–Marian Allen (1892-1953)

 

Sheet music is available through the Canadian Music Centre:
http://musiccentre.ca/node/149448