Jubilee (2006) for solo glockenspiel and electroacoustic audio (7')
This work was inspired by the ancient Hebrew concept of the Jubilee, which was a year of emancipation and restoration provided by law to be kept every fifty years. The Jubilee was not a celebration of past achievements and successes, but rather an opportunity for social and spiritual renewal. It often involved the freeing of slaves, the restoration of seized property to its former owners, the forgiving of debts, and the deliberate omission of land cultivation. On an emotional and spiritual level, the Jubilee represented a conscious rebirth for both the collective society and individuals in it. Taking this as a point of departure, I imagined a work that would contain a sense of intimate celebration that would transform itself into a kind of open-endedness that such a leap of faith implies. I chose the glockenspiel for it's timbral brilliance and melodic possibilities and intended the electronic audio as the emotional underpinning of the work. While not directly influenced by Indonesian musical techniques, the audio track has a textural soundscape reminiscent of gamelan music.
Myotokuji (2000) for solo marimba (10')
Myotokuji was inspired by a tour of Japan I made in the fall of 1998. After visiting a variety of Zen Buddhist temples, I was impressed with the elegance and simplicity of their architecture (in particular, the temples Myotokuji in Amakusa and Ryoanji in Kyoto stood out) and through these experiences, some compositional ideas began to come to mind. It was also at this time that Japanese marimbist Mika Yoshida first asked me to compose a piece for her. My intention was to distill those experiences into a work for solo marimba that would be reflective of the mental process and physical phenomenon of meditation, with a focus on the contrast of the serene, outer aspect of the practice against the inner agitation it attempts to address.
Love in the Park (1989) for solo percussion and electronic audio
Love in the Park is a semi-programmatic piece based on a short story of the same name by Canadian author William McConnell. The story concerns the musings and memories of an old man as he walks through a park he has known all his life - as an infant with his nursemaid, as a young child with his mother, as a boy with his friends, as an adolescent with his lover, as an adult sent to war, and as an old man with his thoughts. He comes to realize that the park has always represented love to him in all its forms, whether it be romantic, familial, nationalistic, fraternal, religious or otherwise. In this piece I have tried to convey the drama of the work as it unfolds on a psychological level when this revelation confronts the old man's memories and emotions.
Shona Dream Dance (1987) for marimba solo (7')
Shona Dream Dance is a work for solo marimba inspired by the mbira music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. The mbira is better known as a kalimba or thumb piano, and its music is traditionally based on a fairly simple harmonic sequence, which is then developed by layering two or three voices in various rhythmic patterns and syncopating them in such a way as to imply a variety of downbeats. The inspiration for this piece came from my initial studies of the mbira and of a dream I had, while writing it, of an African woman dancing.