About the recordings........
The compositions on this page, except for "Sonata II for Accordion" which is a studio recording, have been recorded using virtual instrumentation. I realize that this will immediately rub many people the wrong way --- so let me start by saying that I know these instruments are pale in comparison to actual artists. I use the virtual world simply as a means to hear and fine-tune my music, in particular my orchestral works, because I don't have access to live musicians. I also know that i can invest much more time making the virtual instruments sound more realistic, but in the end it will still only be an orchestral representation and not the real thing. Consequently, I record these to the best of my abilities with the time I have to work on them. For those of you who are purists, I hope you can look beyond the technology and give the music a chance.
Each work contains a brief (and sometimes not so brief..) explanation of the work. Many of my compositions are in the realm of tone poems --- I guess that makes me a Neo-Romantic! These explanations help explain the story, the concept, the myth being depicted. For those works that are absolute music, the explanations are simple outlines of the over-arching structures of the works.
The styles of these works are varied. My opus 1, "Freeway Episode", is very simple, almost pleasant sounding. This was written years before I began experimenting with dissonances, and yet, it makes extensive use of quatral harmonies which still hold an important position in my writing. "Freeway" was originally written for accordion sextet. I recently re-orchestrated it for string orchestra.
"Sonata II" represents the point in my writing where I started to push the tonal envelope. Still not as harmonically far-reaching as my mature works, it does show the early signs of a more dissonant musical vocabulary. I wrote this at a time when I was concertizing regularly. This piece was a mainstay in my repertoire since it exploits many of the features that make the accordion such a great solo instrument.
For those of you who prefer chamber works, there are several to choose from. From the quasi-impressionistic "Impressions Elasticity" to my recently completed first string quartet, "Aspects". "Impressions" was one of a series of piano trios I composed in college. They were written at a time when I was studying Impressionist paintings. They all feature lush, planing harmonies a la` Debussy or Ravel ; 9ths, 11ths, 13ths galore. Sounds tame enough, but dissonance was still at play in these works, albeit much more diluted when compared to other works during that time. My favorite of the chamber works is "Double Helix". Harmonically, it has much more depth and creativity when compared to the "Impressions" works. The counterpoint is also key to creating the helix effect I was shooting for. Though imitative in concept, the difference in timbre and meter between the 2 voices create the symmetrically spiraled feel.
For those lovers of symphonic music, there are also a number to hear. Of them all, I'd say "The Muses" is the most interesting. This symphonic suite is written in 9 movements, each vastly different from the others. There's the luscious and seductive "Terpsichore", the ethereal "Urania", the bombastic "Clio" and the homage to Bach, "Euterpe". In addition, there are 2 settings of tunes that may be familiar to some of you; "Polyhymnia" is a harmonization of St Thomas Aquinas' "Tantum Ergo" and "Melpomene" is based on the chant "Lux Aeterna". Though it takes awhile to get through the entire suite, it certainly runs the full gamut of my compositional and orchestration techniques. The sister work, "The Damned of Tartarus" has many similar traits.
The most accessible of my orchestral works is "Dialogues for "Orchestra". Though still based in strongly dissonant harmonies, the use of registration softens the dissonances as the backdrop for a number of easily recognizable melody lines. The "dialogues" are created by pitting each section of the orchestra against each other to produce a fundamentally antiphonal effect. The way melodies whistle through the instruments of each section as the section leads the conversation creates interesting color changes in the orchestra while also giving rise to several sections based on motivic segments of the themes.
My recently completed "Concerto No 1 for Accordion" is a melding of all elements of my musical career; the accordion, composition, orchestration and "tune writing". Give it a listen. There's an extensive write-up attached which explains what I was hoping to achieve with this work.
On the more esoteric side, "Impressions : The Persistence of Memory" combines 12-tone rows against an amalgam of 2 modes. This serves to create a "mood" piece rather than a melodic work.