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Andrew Martin Smith
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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
This is difficult, since there are aspects of every epoch that I long to experience personally; but if I had the opportunity to choose one time period in which I could compose for the rest of my life, then I would choose the Renaissance…without hesitation. There is a great deal of imagination, elegance, and wit in Renaissance compositions. These are things I endeavor to incorporate into my music...well, throughout the entire compositional process really! Beyond this, I like the thought of composing during a time in which there were no recordings. Sure, there are plenty of advantages to living in an age filled with recorded sound...but there are disadvantages too. The most significant disadvantage (in my opinion) is that recordings have the potential to
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
Cats! Their idiosyncratic nature brings a smile to my face.
3. Would you rather…have the ability to rewind 24 hours three times per year or be able to consciously control your dreams and remember them in great detail?
I find the ability to consciously control my dreams, while remembering them in greater detail, to be the most appealing of these choices. But let's face it...I'd use the ability to be more productive; I would love having the opportunity to compose in my sleep...and remember what I wrote! There just aren't enough hours in the day...
4. You’re trapped on an island. There is one electrical outlet connected to a boombox from 1992. When you were stranded here you only had time to save one cassette out of collection of singles. What is the one pop song you will listen to for the rest of your life?
Whitney Houston. “I Will Always Love You.” ...there, I've said it!
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: John Dunstable, Johannes Brahms, Witold Lutosławski
Present: Christopher Chandler, Jennifer Jolley, Dan Tramte
Dataflow (2011) for chamber orchestra
Beautiful colors from the ensemble. Even with the rhythmic drive, Andrew still pays a lot of attention to interesting instrumental groupings and color above density. I think when composing fast music is our primary concern, timbral ideas are the first to go out the window. It is the small details that give this piece its character and separate it from being just another “new-musicy-sounding” piece. The beginning of the slower section is really very nice. It left me wanting more, but ultimately glad I didn’t get it. It is always a balancing act between not enough, just right, and too much.
It feels like it isn’t over. It seemed like the ending had just started and then it was gone. I would be interested in hearing why Andrew chose the proportions he did for the various sections and how much weight was given to the ending.
Animans (2011) for soprano, clarinet, and alto saxophone
Such an interesting vocal/instrumental combination. Actually, just about anything that includes voice and isn’t for voice and piano is a winner in my book. Not enough pieces are out there that employ the voice as a member of an ensemble and not the star of the show.
Sinewy is the word I would use for the melodic writing. It twists and turns in very nice ways. I don’t know that the obligatory wind instrument key clicks needed to be in the piece where they occurred. I didn’t seem like they served a larger purpose for the piece and as a momentary texture/gesture they gave an otherwise really effective piece a “new-musicy” feel. I don’t think I would have felt this without them.
This singer is kind of a badass with a badass part written for her. Way to go on both accounts.