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Mozart's Musings

Posted: 03 Jan 2016 00:54
by MozartsMusings

Hi! I'm MozartsMusings here in the forums, but out in the real world, I tend to
go by simply, Clay. Call me either one, your choice. No preferences here.

I'm a Music Composition student out in the Midwest, and I would love to share my music with you all! Two instruments that I tend to write a lot for are piano and voice, because I actively practice those two things, both in my classes and in my spare time. While a lot of the music I write is intended for concert hall performance (as I call it "formal" music), I do also write a lot of "informal" music. These are electronic piece meant to be listened to wherever you may choose to listen to them. Regardless, my favorite pieces go up on my website, and even more go up on my SoundCloud, so I'll link to both of those below.

To get this thing rolling though, I'd love to share with you all one of the highlights of my 2015 year. Back in October of 2014, I had written a choir piece called Touch the Sky, based off a poem one of my friends wrote. It's a simple six-line poem, and I was thrilled that he let me use it for the piece. Fast-forward to May of 2015, when I'm visiting my old high school, and my choir teacher and I got to talking about what I had been writing, and I showed him the piece. Long story short, he absolutely loved it, and he asked me if they could perform it in the fall. Obviously I said yes; who wouldn't want their work performed? In October of 2015, I finally got to hear the premiere of my piece Touch the Sky, and I couldn't have been a happier guy. Those kids absolutely nailed it, and I'm so grateful that they took the time to really dig into it the way they did.

That concert was recorded, and so without any further rambling from myself, I'm going to let you explore the links below. I'm also putting the score down there too so you can read that as well. You'll find the entire poem on the front page. Happy listening!

Touch the Sky:


Re: Mozart's Musings

Posted: 07 Jan 2016 20:38
by vaarky
Welcome! Touch the Sky is nifty--if you have any a cappella pieces (esp. with lots of divisi), I'd be interested to find out more.

Re: Mozart's Musings

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 02:48
by MozartsMusings
vaarky wrote:Welcome! Touch the Sky is nifty--if you have any a cappella pieces (esp. with lots of divisi), I'd be interested to find out more.
Thank you! I actually run, write for, and sing in an a cappella quintet (SATTB). Really, that second "T" is more of a baritone part. For the quintet, I arrange songs that either I love to death, or that need new life in them (for example, Amazing Grace). It really just depends on what you're looking for. My favorites that we do are "Bright Morning Stars", "Wayfaring Stranger", and the national anthem.

Side Note about the National Anthem Arrangement (skipable):
When I was picking songs one day to arrange for the quintet, I was going through a list of "overhead" songs (like Amazing Grace) that we as listeners passively listen to, and I hit the national anthem because we hear it everywhere. We never really listen to the words, or harmonies anymore, we just sing along because that's just what happens. So this was written, not to be used in place of the symbolic nature of the national anthem, but rather as a piece to actually be listened to. During performance, I usually make it clear that it is not expected of you to stand or salute anything the entire piece, but rather to take it in as you would any other performance. I just want the anthem to be heard again. With that being said, I've also spiced it up quite a bit in terms of chords. Definitely not what you'd normally hear, but still definitely tonal.
I also have a men's choir piece that I was working on using parts of the text from Psalms 69, but I never really finished it. I had too many mixed feelings on it, and other projects were picking up steam at the time too. Take that for what it's worth, but if the quintet scores sound interesting to you, let me know and I'll post them up here!

Re: Mozart's Musings

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 03:55
by vaarky
I had classes with an English teacher in high school who took what may be a similar philosophy regarding cliches or common turns of phrases, wanting us to really listen to them and use them judiciously rather than in the sort of automatic way they tend to roll off the tongue. It's helpful to highlight things so people hear them in a fresh way and really notice.

Unfortunately, SATTB is probably too few voices for what we generally seek (also arrangements or reworkings of existing songs are not likely to work for the type of programming the group tends to aim for). Thanks, though...