Folk Settings

Folk Settings

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Scoring & Instrumentation
Viola
Alternate Title

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Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
10
Movements
I. Black is the Color
II. Cocaine Blues (W. Guthrie)
III. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream (E. McCurdy)
IV. Moondog

Files & Media

Audio

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Video

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Sample Pages

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Detail

Description

Composer's Note:

Composition and editing of these four pieces in their current state spanned almost a decade. They need not be performed together or in the order presented here. While instructions for bow techniques, dynamics, and tempo indications are to be observed, the whole suite is best served performed with a sense of abandon and freedom that is only sometimes alluded to (with text markings) in the score. Always, the performer must act as their own folk artist – approaching the score with personal flair, phrasing, and effects that remain unwritten or under-notated.

Treatment of source material in anything but literal, with the traditional song Black is the Color being the most recognizable. Materials from Cocaine Blues and Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, by Woody Guthrie and Ed McCurdy have much more fleeting melodic references. Moondog, the closing movement of this edition, takes its inspiration from several melodies of Louis Hardin, but his melodic material never truly emerges from it. The ordering is then from the most literal arrangement to the most abstract treatment, with the two middle movements occupying the ground in between.

I have always had an interest in American folk musics, and I wrote these pieces while being exposed to new recordings. It is no coincidence that the people showing me recordings of Pete Seeger, Ed McCurdy, Nina Simone, Woody Guthrie and others were mostly violists, but I wasn’t writing these pieces with a particular performer in mind. It was not until 2014, seemingly by chance, that Carrie Frey first performed the first two movements in a Manhattan coffee shop, and then later at a church in Brooklyn.

In the years since those performances, I have written other material that is inspired by historical music and/or figures. Moondog was originally conceived as a string quartet that I always intended to realize as a solo work. There are two other string works in my catalogue that refer to renaissance composers – a violin duo called Carlo Gesualdo, and a transcription of Cypriano de Rore’s madrigal Calami Sonum Ferentes. All these compositions for string instruments explore the space between historical and contemporary practice, while also interrogating the sometimesdefinite line between composer, arranger, and re-composer.

First Perfomance
9/9/2015, Church of the Ascension (Brooklyn, NY); Carrie Frey, Viola
Recording

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Text Language - Non English

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Text Source/Author

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Title Number
Ensemble Type
solo instrumental (non-keyboard)
Genre/Theme
Folk Music Influence
Instrument
viola
Purchase Options
PDF License & Download
PDF Price
Print & Ship
$15.50 score
ACA-BELJ-006