2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
I love cats, but I'll go with a goldfish (my first pet was a beta, not a goldfish, but close enough)
3. Would you rather…Not be able to wear clothes or not be able to speak?
I compose music because I can't express my deepest thoughts in words, so I'll go with being naked. Indeed, each performance makes me feel quite exposed.
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?
"In Bloom" by Nirvana
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Ludwig van Beethoven, Arnold Schoenberg, György Ligeti
Present: Andrew Smith, Frank Stemper, Jason Thorpe Buchanan
Parable (2011) for baritone, three percussion, and piano. Chris presented this during his guest composer presentation at the festival. What really strikes me is the instrumentation. It reminds me of a Pierre Boulez style instrumentation. As if to say, my ideas are so clear that only these sounds can express them. I don't know how Chris came to the instrumentation but, I like the sound of it quite a bit. I've already written about the single note opening pet peeve. Not as egregious here because it is four notes giving the impression that it will mean more to the piece. Alas, I don't hear the connection other than the bookends. That aside, I really enjoy the sound world that is created when the piece gets going. The percussion instrument choices remind me a lot of the very early percussion works. The delicacy that Chris employs when writing for such big, loud instruments is refreshing. But, you've gotta hit some drums at some point. Am I right?
I think the vocal speaking is more interesting than the sung portions. As I remember, some is spoken, some is sprechstimme, some is sung. I think we talked about this at the festival but, I wish the entire poem was spoken. A dramatic reading is fine. But, something about the vocal writing is off-putting to the rest of the sounds being created. The moments when the text is only spoken really stands out in a good way.
Leaving the Nest (2014) for bass clarinet solo. Chris wrote this as part of the speed writing portion of the festival. With that being said. it is an impressive work to come out of someone when little to no time was allocated for composition and we were up late almost every night socializing (the thing you are supposed to do at a new music festival). I really dig gestural writing for the bass clarinet in the middle of the piece. The ending is really very nice as well. I like that it ends so quietly but it hangs around that dynamic for some time. It gives the piece a nice shape instead of the more common fade-in-the-last-10-seconds shape.