Clear, cold light and quiet introspection infuse two moods of existential contemplation on a winter’s day. – RW
There is a sense of suspense and uncertainty in taking steps in the night. It brings to mind the evocative aural qualities of someone moving through the dark – at times boldly, other times more carefully measured. – RW
“Steps in the Night” was the winning suggestion entry by J. Shea in a “title contest” sponsored by the Cello Museum.
Video features bassist Joel Braun’s beautifully sensitive performance of the version for unaccompanied double bass at the Butler School of Music, University of Texas/Austin.
Program note: Full Circle is a contemplation of cycles of emotion that continually emerge and recede throughout life. The music is written for a subtle interplay between the soloist and the orchestra, rather than the traditional role of the soloist being in the forefront. My intention is a shifting of perceptions in which the soloist emerges from the orchestra, in much the way that intense feelings rise from the unconscious, giving voice to emotional currents, and then recede back into the subliminal. A metaphorical image is of a figure becoming discernible as it emerges from a dense mist, then recedes, blending again into the atmosphere, only to reemerge as a presence again. – RW
Originally scored for low wind, I reworked the piece into this version for double bass.
The video features a wonderful home recording by bassist Joel Braun, who included it in his presentations at the Texas Music Educators Association 2021 Convention and the 2022 ASTA National Conference. I love the sense of lyricism and sensitivity of dynamics he brought to the work. Plus, I’m very grateful that he shared his thoughts on the technical aspects of the work.
In my presentation I’m giving it as an example of an intermediate level piece… so maybe a 4 or 5 out of 10 on a scale? Note-wise it’s not terribly difficult. The end of the first page and second page offer some challenges because it requires covering a little more space with the intervals in the longer lyrical lines. There are also intonation challenges since it leaves the bass so naked and there’s enough repetition that if it’s not the same for each time it’s very noticeable. Otherwise, most of the challenges are musical like you mentioned – dynamic contrasts, timing/tempo, etc. So I think an intermediate player could handle it but also be challenged and pushed musically.
(Score shown here is transposed for Solo tuning.)
Program Note: Composed near the end of my mother’s long descent into dementia, in bearing witness to the widening gap extending beyond reach, I sought an emotional release through music – in wordless reflection and acceptance. – RW
Both versions of the work as a duet for two cellists and a duet for cello & double bass are available through the score purchase link.
Score for cello & double bass
Score for two cellists
Originally composed in response to a call for viola miniatures and additionally reworked as a version for solo cello. – It is an interesting challenge to compose a work that is meant to fit within a very short timeframe, and have it stand as a complete piece of music that moves through a sense of emotional depth and development. The title refers not only to the mixed time signatures within the music, but also to a brief expression of mixed poignancies of yearnings encountered at different times in one’s life. – RW
Video features the premiere of the viola version performed by Karen Bentley Pollick so beautifully.
(Also this SoundCloud track is a midi realization of the cello version.)
PDF score of the bass clarinet version.
PDF score of the cello version.
A miniature originally composed as a submission for Suzanne Mueller, cello & Thomas Piercy, clarinet, 15 Minutes of Fame.
(Video features Géraldine Fastré, clarinette & Bruno Ispiola, violoncelle at Osmose Intermezzo concert, Centre Culturel d’Evere – l’Entrela’ Bruxelles, Belgium)
Recorded by cellist Carmine Miranda.
Carmine breathes life into music with his soulful artistry and nuanced mastery. I am very grateful to include his beautiful recording on my album.
Program note: Finding a sense of acceptance and inner strength – a reaffirmation of emotional resolves in life. – RW
Program note: A moment’s questioning of an emotional circumstance.
(Audio is a concert performance at Turtle Bay Music School, NYC)
A brief intimacy of a shared moment in confidence. – RW