Silence in Forty-Two chamber version posted

My Vernacular Songbook was intend as a collection of songs about everyday issues facing working class people. I want the songs to fuse elements from the art song tradition and the chamber ensemble that has become ubiquitous since the mid-twentieth century, rhythm section plus voice and melodic instruments. (For example, most rock songs feature drum set, bass, guitar or keyboards, voice, and a few other melodic instruments.) My friend and colleague Dustin M. Hoffman has done a masterful job of adapting some of his flash fiction for the first set of songs. Silence in Forty-Two, the first to be premiered, was originally written for piano and baritone. While I was happy with the piece as is, after the premiere I began to wonder if it might be more effective if it were scored for a hybrid ensemble, part art song, part rock. To this end, I have created a new version of Silence in Forty-Two for baritone, viola, piano, bass, and drum set. The piano and baritone version will remain intact and the piece will exist in two versions. The addition of the viola part helps to support the vocal line and adds a layer that points to the art song genre. The bass and drum parts are more or less typical of the bass and drum parts found in most rock and jazz music from the last fifty years. It is my hope that the new version will bridge the gap between traditional art song and contemporary song writing. Both versions are now posted on my scores page and I hope to have both versions recorded soon. Stay tuned.

The next installment in the Vernacular Songbook will be Dustin’s Building Walls. It is well underway and features baritone, alto saxophone, piano, bass, and drum set. It is sort of a day in the life of a construction crew building walls and emphasizes the endless repetition and monotony of the never ending work day. Character development is also important as we get to know the crew. More soon…

Please visit Dustin’s web site. He is a remarkable writer and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with him.

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