Monday, September 8, 2008

Christmas in September?

Anyone like to celebrate Christmas all year round? I've had the pleasure of doing so whilst writing a new collection of Christmas arrangements for solo marimba! I've been chipping away at it since November of 2007. Actually, I arranged two tunes (Silent Night & God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen) and stopped for about 7 months. Here's a YouTube performance of "God Rest" at a clinic I gave in Salem, OR back in December. Please excuse the less-than stellar audio quality (and the wrong note at the end).

I started back up in July, planning to do a total of 6 arrangements for the collection until two of my always helpful colleagues (read: opinionated) told me that I needed to do 8 so that the book would be thicker (and therefore more marketable). I just finished the eighth and final arrangement and the collection is now reaching the final stages of the publication process. Here's the list of tunes and the beautiful cover designed by Ed Morgan of navyblue design.

Silent Night

God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen

O Holy Night

Carol of the Bells

What Child Is This?

In the Bleak Midwinter

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

Deck the Halls

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about the release of this one. It'll be available from my publisher in mid-October, just in time for people to pick it up and learn some festive tunes for Christmas.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hodge-Podge of New Publications

So, it's that time of year again ... that time when I get to see how truly productive (or unproductive) I was in my little world of composing. Turns out I was maybe a little lazy this year. I have 5 new publications plus a handful of piano reductions and orchestrations I did for other composers' works. Here's the list in alphabetical order:

The Celtic Xylophone (Book 2)
This is the second book (duh) of Irish tunes I have arranged for solo xylophone and marimba trio. The idea behind these arrangements was to provide and alternative to popular xylophone rage by using similar instrumentation and maintaining the virtuosic qualities of the solo xylophone. Any of the arrangements in Book 1 or 2 would work great as encores. In this collection are Echo from Leinster, The Foggy Dew, and Comes Haste to the Wedding. Click on the links to hear recordings of each.
More Info

Edge of the World
After being commissioned to write a marimba/vibraphone duet for former students and current friends Michael & Sara Wood, I decided to write a second piece for them as a wedding gift. Based on a story/vignette of the same title by Brian Andreas of StoryPeople fame, the piece has a very sweet and romantic quality to it, capturing the lush qualities of both instruments. Listen here.

Here's the story by Brian Andreas:
they came to sit and dangle their feet off
the edge of the world and after awhile
they forgot everything but
the good and true things
they would do someday

The Foggy Dew
This is simply the Irish ballad I arranged for The Celtic Xylophone (Book 2) set for solo xylophone and concert band (Gr.III). Listen here, but understand this is an electronic MIDI recording and leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Legend of the Sword
In the spring of 2007, a good friend of mine called me up in a pinch and asked me to write an opener for his high school marching band show. I had the unfortunate task of creating a piece of music to fit into an Asian-themed show (rather broad and generalized, but OK). Not wanting this piece to go to waste after marching season had ended, I decided to modify it slightly to make it appropriate for the stage rather than the football field. Listen here.

Rock House Creek
Commissioned by Michael and Sara Wood, Rock House Creek is infused with the progressive bluegrass sounds that have emerged out of the last 10-15 years from such players as Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Mike Marshall. What resulted was a duet for marimba and vibraphone with the option of adding standard bluegrass to the mix if desired.

Listen to the duo version

Watch the duo version w/ added bluegrass instruments