Monday, October 4, 2010

Another side of yours truly

Some of you know that I "dabble" in composition.

In my college years  (Jacksonville State University in Alabama), I actually entered the MTNA College Solo Composition Contest and won at the state level (Alabama) and at the regional level (Southeastern).  With no composition lessons.  My piece was a piano sonatina, my "opus 9" at the time.  I played this sonatina at the 1980 Alabama Music Teachers Association Convention, held on the Auburn University campus.  This work was dedicated to Susie Francis Dempsey, my piano teacher during my undergraduate years at JSU.

After that, I took a few composition lessons, which did not work well for me, and partly as a result I wrote nothing for ten years.  (More on that later.)

When I returned to piano teaching in 1990, I began to shift my focus from avant-garde works that leaned heavily on serial techniques and/or shifting rhythm (or what I thought were serial techniques) I realized that what I really needed to write was music for the developing piano student.  (More on that later, as well.)

Here is a video of yours truly in a performance of "Nuit d'etoiles", a wisp of French Impressionism that I wrote in 2009, during the week of my 49th birthday.  It is dedicated to pianist and teacher George Mann, who has performed one of my compositions, "Arietta", in many recitals.

I promise not to trouble you with too much of "my" work, but I am more than a little proud of this particular one of my "children".

Whatever happened to that sonatina?  It was a four-movement work.  I scrapped two of the movements, and the first and second movements were kept and compiled with the third movement of my high-school work "Mirror Images, op. 1" to become my "new" Opus 1, "Three Moods for Piano".  These three short pieces are the earliest things that I wrote that I feel still stand up pretty well.

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