Get 'em while they're hot! The Tower is formatted and re-physicalized

Added on by Patrick Greene.

I've always found formatting the final score to be a bit daunting. With a piece as long as this one is, it's just about impossible to catch everything---and sometimes, when you do correct an error (collisions, auto-spacing disasters, etc.), it somehow sets off a chain reaction thirty or forty pages away. Notation software is a tremendous asset, but self-publishing means you're not just accountable for the music; you're accountable for the professionalism of the final, physical product as well.

It's pretty damn enjoyable when it goes well, and just about the worst part of writing music when it doesn't. I've checked and re-checked this whole beast a few times, though, so I'm hoping it came alright. 

Anyway, here are a few shots of the finished product!

Front cover - pretty straightforward

Back cover - geometric rendering of a key scene. 

Performance notes page - loadbang is an extremely adventurous ensemble, so I've tried to give them plenty to work with.

The first batch is done! They're currently en route to NYC.

Progress! THE TOWER Rises

Added on by Patrick Greene.

Just wrapped up a very productive weekend working on The Tower, my new collaborative piece with playwright Kevin Kordis and actor/director/my lovely wife Micah Greene. The project is unlike anything I've done before, so there's been lots to figure out (especially w/r/t notation, interpreting stage directions musically, incorporating long blocks of monologues into the music, etc.). It's shaping up to be a fun one to work on.

I can't wait to hear loadbang ensemble premiere it! Be there on June 3 for "Asides," the final concert of the Fifth Floor Collective's fourth season, where this (and other new works worth experiencing) with be welcomed into the world.

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Next project: THE TOWER

Added on by Patrick Greene.

There'll be much more on this in the coming months, but, for now, I'll just say that I can't wait to get working on this! The creative team is dynamite: it'll be performed by the loadbang ensemble (and a talented cast of live actors), composed to a libretto by playwright Kevin Kordis, and will be directed by (and starring) Micah Greene. It's an honor to work with such talent.

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Program Note - JUICY: Spectral Studies for a Citrus Juicer (2013-14)

Added on by Patrick Greene.

 

Program Note – JUICY: Spectral Studies for a Citrus Juicer (2013-14)

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JUICY, a shimmering little piece for electronics, represents two things for me: an homage to a classic piece of postmodern design, and a chance to fully embrace the lifelong habit I’ve had of smacking steel things together and listening to the resultant sounds.

The “design” homage is to the Juicy Salif, an aluminum squid Philippe Starck created as a citrus juicer as part of his contract with the Italian housewares maker Alessi in the late-‘80s. Starck’s genius isn’t in improving functionality (the Salif is actually a pretty awful juicer). It’s in redefining the lens through which we observe the built environment around us. He turns things askew so that we examine them, discuss them, come together and laugh and think a bit. This has become the droll go-to for a generation of postmodernists, but in the twilight of the Reagan years it was something novel and important.

When I finally found a Juicy Salif on sale, I leapt at the opportunity. It arrived at our doorstep a few weeks later, a gleaming, angular cephalopod just begging to be struck against a hard surface.

Let me explain.

Since I was a child, I’ve been endlessly fascinated by the ringing overtones that erupt whenever certain objects collide. I could honestly sit alone in a room with a triangle and a steel beater and be perfectly content for hours. Maybe days. It’s this same appreciation for harmonic partials, I think, that attracted me to music in the first place. Striking a supported piece of metal is like shining a light into the acoustical darkness with which we surround ourselves—one perceives that fundamental, resonant frequency, but one also hears buzzing, beating tones stretching out ad infinitum. When I knocked one of the Juicy Salif’s legs with a fork, I immediately perceived an extremely strong G and C (-ish), but this quickly dissolved into a harmonic wash that spread out and surrounded me. I knew immediately that I’d have to find an excuse to write a piece using these sounds.

As an homage to Starck, I’ve turned off (or at least quieted down) the left side of my brain in composing JUICY. The only pre-compositional work I undertook was analyzing the various spectra of the Salif being struck with assorted implements. I tried to highlight the relationships of the constituent harmonics with one another, to amplify and diminish certain intervals, to magnify interesting aspects of the juicer’s timbre, to manipulate and transpose partials, etc. The resultant piece is nothing more than a chance to bathe in the refulgent complexity of a piece of aluminum being struck with all manner of household objects.

I hope you enjoy it.

JUICY: the home stretch

Added on by Patrick Greene.
This is only semi-candid. And by "semi-candid," I mean I asked my wife to get on the couch and take a picture of me working so I'd finally have something else to post here.

This is only semi-candid. And by "semi-candid," I mean I asked my wife to get on the couch and take a picture of me working so I'd finally have something else to post here.

Sorry for the radio silence as of late! I took a few months off from "career schtuff" to dedicate my full attention to our new baby. Jude, by the way, is over four months old already. I simply can't believe it.

Anyway, I'm putting the finishing touches on Juicy, my piece for electronics programmed on the Fifth Floor Collective's PLUGGED IN 2 concert on January 14th. "Hercules," a nor'easter (why are we naming these things?!), ground Boston pretty much to a halt today, and I took advantage of the forced time indoors to work on this icy little piece.

Anyway, this one has been great fun to work on. I've gotten to use a whole battery of my favorite software (SPEAR ftw!), and I've been smashing a super-cool aluminum juicer against more or less every stationary object in our home. Jude's been loving it. Micah, not quite so much, but she's patient and supportive. I might be posting a brief preview of the piece in a few days, so be on the lookout!

 

 

San Francisco Premiere of VARIATIONS FOR STRING QUARTET

Added on by Patrick Greene.

If you’re looking for new music and you happen to be in San Francisco this weekend, be sure to swing by the FFC Special Event: Friction Quartet concert on Saturday! They’re playing myVariations for String Quartet, alongside new works by Joseph M. Colombo, Andrew Paul Jackson, and Mario Godoy.

For more info, check out the Fifth Floor Collective’s website.

 

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And so it begins ...

Added on by Patrick Greene.

Just a brief note: our first child, a boy, entered the world on August 22, 2013. Jude Anthony Greene is a beautiful, vivacious little miracle, and I am constantly in awe of him.

I’ve never been so proud. I’ve never been so astounded by the depths of my wife‘s strength. And I’ve never been so inspired.

Welcome, my son. I can’t wait to see where life takes you.

 

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Slow and steady wins the race?

Added on by Patrick Greene.

I’m putting the finishing touches on my final notes to the recording engineer from last summer’s WGBH Tortoise and the Hare sessions in Boston! Look for this in CD/digital form in a few months—details will, of course, be posted here.

Boston Musica Viva, Marimba Magic, and Steve Aveson did a truly incredible job with my music and Mr. Pickett’s libretto. We can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you.

 

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Media from STEEL SYMPHONY

Added on by Patrick Greene.

The premiere of Steel Symphony (July 2, 2013) by Christopher Houlihan in Hartford was truly one of the great nights of my musical life. It simply couldn’t have gone better—it was phenomenally well-attended, Chris played superbly, and the whole program really came together beautifully.

Steel Symphony, which was commissioned for this performance by Trinity College Chapel Music, was also one of the first pieces to be performed on Trinity College’s new four-manual Austin console. It proved itself very much up to the challenge.

I’ve posted some pictures below (thanks to Mike Raciti and Trinity College Communications for taking them!). You can watch a video of the third movement here, and I’ve added audio to my Music page. Here are quick links to the audio files: I. Putto 4 over 4 | II. Lincoln | III. Armour Boys. Chris and I were interviewed by Bob Parzych on WRTC’s Kitchen Sink the day before the performance, as well—you can check that out here, if you’re interested.

I’m now officially on hiatus, for at least a few months, as my wife and I eagerly await the birth of our baby boy! Jude is due August 12, and Steel Symphony was dedicated to him. I sincerely can’t wait to show it to him someday.

 

L to R: John Rose, Director of Trinity College Chapel Music (and a great teacher and friend to Chris and I); Charles Dodsley Walker ’40, renowned organist and conductor; Christopher Houlihan ’09, a great friend and collaborator (and a true organ phenom); me (’07, for the record); and James F. Jones, Jr., the president of Trinity College and a hugely positive force in the musical life at Trinity.

L to R: John Rose, Director of Trinity College Chapel Music (and a great teacher and friend to Chris and I); Charles Dodsley Walker ’40, renowned organist and conductor; Christopher Houlihan ’09, a great friend and collaborator (and a true organ phenom); me (’07, for the record); and James F. Jones, Jr., the president of Trinity College and a hugely positive force in the musical life at Trinity.

There were close to 1,000 people in attendance.

There were close to 1,000 people in attendance.

The new console was made even more brilliant with some spiffy new lighting.

The new console was made even more brilliant with some spiffy new lighting.

The line stretched well down the Upper Long Walk.

The line stretched well down the Upper Long Walk.

That’s me, cloaked in darkness, speaking with Jimmy Jones after the concert. He’s just a wonderful man, and a great advocate for many of us musical alums.

That’s me, cloaked in darkness, speaking with Jimmy Jones after the concert. He’s just a wonderful man, and a great advocate for many of us musical alums.

Standing ovation!

Standing ovation!