SATB unaccompanied, c. 2’30” (sung in Yiddish)
This choral setting of the popular Yiddish folksong employs the use of instrument-like sounds imitating the strumming of the balalayka, a Russian folk instrument similar to a guitar, and contrasts the upbeat “Tumbalalayka” refrain with dark harmonic colors and occasional smooth polyphonic textures.
The performance in the video is the Dordt College (Iowa) Chorale, Benjamin Kornelis conducting. March 1, 2017
New for 2018/2019
The Noble Art of Music
SATB unaccompanied, c. 2′
A short fanfare-like setting of two well known musical quotations by Martin Luther. It was premiered in December, 2017 by San Francisco Choral Artists, with whom I served as Composer-in-Residence for the 2017-18 season.
The Ballad of the Lost Lamb
SATB unaccompanied, c. 5’45” (sung in Yiddish)
A theatrical setting of Di Balade Funem Farloyrenem Shefel, a colorful allegory by Yiddish poet Itzik Manger telling the story of a shepherd boy searching high and low for his lost lamb, only to discover that he has found something more important that he didn’t know he was looking for. It was premiered in March, 2018 by San Francisco Choral Artists as part of my 2017-18 residency.
Fare Ye Well, My Darlin’
SATB unaccompanied, c. 4’30”
Based on an American folksong, perhaps dating from the Civil War, collected in South Carolina. A soldier bids farewell to his beloved, informing her that he has enlisted to fight in the war. It was premiered in June, 2018 by San Francisco Choral Artists as part of my 2017-18 residency.
More Short Works
SATB unaccompanied, c. 3’15”
A setting of the Rumi poem in its 19th-Century translation by Reynold A. Nicholson. Premiered in July 2017 by the Kodály Summer Institute choir at Holy Names University, conducted by László Nemes. Recommended for more advanced choirs. (Recording currently unavailable.)
Ducks in the Garden
SATB unaccompanied, c. 2’25”
A short a cappella piece based on a very silly poem by Will T. Laughlin. It was premiered in June, 2012 by San Francisco Choral Artists. Recommended for more advanced choirs.
Roll the Tide
SATB unaccompanied, c. 3’30”
A short a cappella work with the flavor of a spiritual. The text is a poem by Bay Area poet Elisabeth Eliassen.
Extended Works With Instruments
Most This Amazing
for SATB Chorus, 2 Pianos and Percussion, 11’40”
This uplifting setting of e.e. cummings’ “i thank You God for most this amazing” is an excellent choice for pairing with the Killmayer reduction of Orff’s Carmina Burana. There is unfortunately no live recording of the work. The computer-generated recording with score in the video attempts to give a general sense of what the piece is like.
Cycle of Friends
for soprano solo, SATB Chorus and chamber orchestra, c. 25′
A lush, emotional journey through five texts taken from such diverse sources as Tang Dynasty poetry of China, Sappho and Emily Dickinson, each dealing in its own way with the universal theme of friendship. The video below is an excerpt, the second movement of the piece in its premiere performance by the Music Group of Philadelphia with Orchestra 2001.