Category Archives: Recordings

A Long-Awaited Publication

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Megan McDevitt premiering Confession for double bass, 2/17

I had hoped to make this announcement months ago, but now I can finally go public. Megan McDevitt is an excellent bassist and (full disclosure) my partner in life. She commissioned me to write a piece for her in 2016. This was part of an ambitious recital project in which she commissioned four new works as responses to, and performed along with, established bass repertoire. Confession for double bass was written with Persichetti’s Parable for solo double bass in mind. This is partially because my plan is to write a series of solo works all under the title of Confession, just as Persichetti did with his Parables. Since the premiere, I have made some small revisions to the piece, and reformatted the music from its original, and somewhat unwieldy, 17X11 format to a more portable 11X14 size, which is now available for pre-order in my shop. The official release date is November 15.

The Confessions of Saint Augustine, a book that is essentially an autobiography framed as a confession to God, serve as the namesake of the series. In confessing to a higher power, we invariably move into our own minds, and this kind of inward spiritual expression is precisely where my Confession lives. Its virtuosity is not in the traditional outward mode, but in a highly exposed, vulnerable mode.

While this piece certainly isn’t the kind of show-stopper one might expect from solo repertoire, I hope some members of the bass community will find it suits them for performance.

 

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New Piece, New Recording (choral)

Back in 2015, I had just started the PhD program at University at Buffalo and an opportunity arose to have Voxnova Italia sing my piece, Noli esse vana, in a workshop at UB. I wanted to make some small revisions to the piece, which I wrote in 2013 and premiered with the (now-defunct) group I was singing in at the time, Ut Re Mi.

Instead of revising the first piece, I wrote a new piece entirely, but set the same exact text as in 2013 from the Confessions of Saint Augustine. The reading session with Voxnova was very instructive and illuminating, but we didn’t get a good recording of the piece.

Luckily, my friend and colleague Jessie Downs started a group here in Buffalo called the Sotto Voce Vocal Collective. From Sotto Voce’s Facebook page: “The group aims primarily to perform works by living composers, with a focus on fair representation of early to mid-career, women, and other under-performed composers.”

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Sotto Voce Vocal Collective

At Jessie’s request, I delivered the score of the 2015 version of Noli esse vana to Sotto Voce, and joined the group as a singer too, to have it performed.

The concert took place on 15 March 2017, with Jessie conducting the group: Julia Cordani (soprano), Kristen Smigielski (alto), Jonathan Sandberg and Ethan Hayden (tenors), and myself singing bass. The recording is below. The earlier version can be heard here.