|Title||Voicing or Instrumentation||Type||Description||Duration|
|Above the Green Night||Guitar quartet||Chamber|
Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Poem of the Deep Song” is steeped in strong, beautiful imagery of love and death. I took some of these images as points of departure for Above the Green Night. The first movement, Blind Archers, is fast and unsettled like a chase, interspersed with two brief dream-like sections. Each player is given a chance to rest and sing in the second movement, Hour of Stars. The third and final movement, Dark Rain, unfolds out of the second movement with no break. Beginning with tremolos as a backdrop, it is meant to convey an ultimate resignation to fate.
|Alma Beata et Bella||SSATB a capella||Choral|
I found the poem from which the text for this piece is excerpted when perusing an old book of 15th-century Italian poetry. I decided to set the poem in its original Medieval Italian dialect. The piece is a six-minute slow swirl of voices moving toward heaven and light. It culminates by “blooming” as the soul reaches heaven.
|Amy Lowell: A Rare Pattern||Mezzo-soprano and Piano||Opera & Drama|
|Amy Lowell: A Rare Pattern (song cycle)||Mezzo-soprano and piano||Solo Voice|
An excerpt from program notes by mezzo-soprano KrisAnne Weiss:
Early 20th-century poet Amy Lowell was an unforgettable figure: at five feet tall and 250 pounds, she smoked cigars in public, captivated audiences with her theatrical speeches and poetry readings, and relished the attention she attracted. This collection of songs is excerpted from a longer theatrical work which explores Amy's life and her relationship with actress Ada Dwyer Russel. With the exception of one or two sentences, the entire libretto of this piece is comprised of Amy's juvenilia, poetry, prose, and epistolary exchanges with other writers. There are also letters she wrote to "Nell," the actress and arts patron Eleanor Robson Belmont, who was one of Ada's closest friends. Unfortunately for modern literary voyeurs, scholars, and would-be librettists, Amy requested that the letters she exchanged with Ada be destroyed upon her death. Ada honored this wish, thus depriving us of the most important firsthand account of Amy and Ada's dynamic. It seems, however, that the voice that Amy reserved for Ada comes through in the poetry, and this passionate and tender voice forms the heart of these songs.
|Apparent Solids||Mezzo-soprano, flute (doubling piccolo), percussion, violin, viola, cello||Solo Voice|
These poems, by Minnesota poet Joan Wolf Prefontaine, offered many wonderful coloristic possibilities and deal with very deep, emotional aspects of life and the passage of time. Ideas of life as both circular and linear informed my musical decisions in Apparent Solids. The cycle opens with a piccolo tune that represents ‘the boy.’ The cycle also ends with the piccolo tune, so it sounds as if the piece could begin all over again. The cycle incorporates music that is circular and repetitive as well as music that is very linear—where the listener is not sure where the next turn will be.
|Bells, The||SATTB or SSATB a capella||Choral|
Originally written for SATTB one-on-a-part, this sprightly and tintinnabular piece works well for both large and small choirs. It’s a setting of one of Edgar Allen Poe’s more cheerful poems, and is well-suited for holiday programming.
|Between the Limbs, Music||Soprano and piano||Solo Voice|
"Between the Limbs, Music" is a set of four songs that deal with themes of love, life and death. "The Book of Hungers" establishes the idea that we are all connected by our mortality and desire for love. "Hummingbird" moves into the wonderful realm of young love—pure, fantastic passion. "Autumn Dusk" is about mature love – a love that has endured. "Between the Limbs, Music" reflects on the paradox of life – there cannot be joy without sorrow, passion without solitude or life and love without death to drive us forward, make us yearn. It ends with a soaring “ah” – an expression of joy and passion.
|Bike Let Loose, The||SSAA and piano||Choral|
A bright, athletic piece for women's choir and piano. "The Bike Let Loose" uses rapid notes and soaring melodic lines to create a fantastical ride for both singer and listener.
|Birthday, A||SATB div. a capella||Choral|
"A Birthday" was composed for Floyd Farmer and the Camerata Singers of West Michigan in commemoration of their 25th Anniversary. The Christina Rosetti poem is about a birthday, and its many references to silver were perfectly suited to a “silver” anniversary. I played with the birds in the poem by weaving bird songs throughout the piece, which begins with the women’s voices chirping “cherry up cherry dee.” The Muskegon Chronicle called the piece “delicate and sprightly with a foundation of dignified solemnity.”
|Bow Echo||Solo amplified cello||Solo Instrumental|
I often use a non-musical idea as a point of departure. In the case of Bow Echo, this idea came in the form of a lightning bolt on a Sunday morning in July. Lightning struck my house, blowing a hole in the roof, splitting wood in the eves, taking out all electrical outlets and appliances. I was blown away by the power of the storm, and Bow Echo was born. A Bow Echo is a formation of storm clouds that usually spawn severe storms with high winds, hail, dangerous lightning and possible tornadoes. The three movements follow the life of a storm from slow approach to violent rage to eerie calm.
|Butterfly Effect||Solo piano and orchestra||Instrumental||12:00|
|Cantico delle Creature, Il||SATB chamber chorus a capella||Choral||15:00|
|Circle of the River||SS & percussion||Choral|
This piece explores the linear and cyclical aspects of flowing water, and pays homage to the great Mississippi River. The linear and cyclical parts of the piece mimic the flow of the river from one point to another and the cycle of rain and evaporation that happens simultaneously. It was commissioned by the American Composers Forum for Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial, and premiered at the Minnesota State Fair by the Minneapolis Youth Chorus.
|Cold Blue Night||Solo flute||Solo Instrumental|
"Cold Blue Night" for solo flute came into being shortly after I moved to Minnesota and braved my first upper-Midwest winter. It was inspired by the kind of Minnesota night when the sky is dark, dark blue, the temperature is well below zero, and a full moon lights the snow with a pearl-blue glow. It is beautiful and pristine, yet cruel and dangerous. This piece explores the harshness and the soft beauty of a frigid mid-winter night.
|Dazzle of Day||SATB div., S, A, T soloists, guitar||Choral|
Pablo Neruda’s poem, “Deslumbra el dia” (Dazzle of Day), finds beauty in simple things like smells and sounds in the air, drying clothes in the wind, and taking a breath. I wanted to capture its joy in my music. The idea of a continuously moving, shimmering color became the structural core of the piece. The color begins subtly in the tenors as the words unfold in the foreground. The color weaves in and out of the text, remaining in the background until the very end when all voices join in, as it becomes a huge, wordless expression of joy.
|Dog from Duluth||SATB a capella||Choral|
I wrote the text for this piece as a journal entry one evening as I watched my sweet dog Gobi sleep. In his last days I was fortunate to be able to write a piece celebrating him and rejoicing in the precious innocent spirits that are our animals.
|Draw the Strings Tight||Solo guitar||Solo Instrumental|
I wrote this piece just after finishing "A Sound Like This," and I was still very much absorbed with the writings of 15th-century Indian mystic/poet Kabir. This piece is based on phrases and ideas from "He Draws the Strings Tight." I was especially focused on the phrase, "Open the window to the West of you," using this image to inspire music about being open, anticipating the future and seeing what might be outside yourself. Each movement contrasts the others. The last movement is especially grand--I wanted to show the breadth and depth of the guitar as an instrument.
|Fenix, The||SATB div. a capella||Choral|
The text for this piece about death and rebirth is an excerpt from the Exeter Book, an anthology of Anglo-Saxon poetry from the 10th century. It is set in the original Anglo Saxon language, maintaining the poem’s mysterious, magical feel. The choir narrates the story of the Fenix (phoenix in modern spelling), while a soprano soloist provides the voice of the Fenix herself, ideally from a balcony or other off-stage space where her voice can appear as if from nowhere.
|Flights of Fancy||Solo cello||Solo Instrumental|
This piece is made up of three little fantasies for solo cello.
|For God So Loved the World||SATB and piano||Choral|
This piece is a setting of the beautifully poetic King James version of John 3:16. It is simple and elegant, and suitable for church choirs. It was commissioned in 2001 for Pastor Douglas R. Roper, on the occasion of his retirement from Minnewashta Church, Shorewood, Minnesota. Pastor Roper, who sang in his church choir, had been rehearsing the piece for weeks without knowing it was a special commission or even a new piece. On his last Sunday, it was announced that the piece had been written in his honor.
|From Me and America Sent||TTBB and piano||Choral|
The text for this piece is an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. It is a toast from America to the world, recognizing the splendor of the entire earth and how each nation is only a tiny part of the whole. Whitman talks about foreign lands as being a part of his own body, exploring how the earth exists in all of us and how that connects us as citizens of the world. A terrific piece to take on an international tour!
|Give Me the Deeper Pearls||SATB a capella||Choral|
This setting of a poem by Annabelle Moseley is about the beauty of love and its vulnerabilities. I love how the poem explores the potential for love to be both a safe resting place and a place of deep heartache. This, I think, is “the honest mystery of things.”
|Giver of Stars: Six Poems of Amy Lowell||Mezzo-Soprano and Piano||Solo Voice|
|High Plains Revelry||Symphony orchestra||Instrumental|
|Icarian Songs||Oboe and piano||Chamber|
This piece is based on the ancient Greek myth of Icarus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall to his death in the Aegean Sea. I was inspired by the reach for something dangerous and possibly fatal—I believe it’s always better to reach, even if there is great risk involved.
|Illuminated Transience, An||SATB a capella||Choral|
Composing An Illuminated Transience was a wonderful journey into light, color, and perception. Each movement opens a small window from which we can see a poet, a painter and a scientist observe, ruminate on, create and experiment with light. Ultimately, the piece is a celebration of curiosity, passion and love of learning.
|Invocation||Solo flute (C flute, piccolo and alto flute) and orchestra||Instrumental|
Commissioned by flutist Susan Rotholz, this piece is very close to my heart. It is about rebirth and moving through challenge.
|Jambalaya Stomp||Concert band||Instrumental|
Jambalaya Stomp began to simmer in the fall of 2005 after meeting with members of the Orono (MN) All-District Bands. These students were brimming with enthusiasm and ideas. Our discussion produced concepts like “low and loud,” “slow and flowing,” “fast with a driving rhythm,” “jazzy” and having the piece tell a story about something happening in the world today, like hurricane Katrina. I kept a list of these ideas on my piano to inspire me. The students gave me the recipe for this jambalaya! The piece is about collaboration and coming together to face a challenge.
|Jammin' Town Musicians, The||Flute (doubling piccolo)*, Bb clarinet, bassoon ( doubling contrabassoon)*, french horn, tenor trombone, narrator, percussion, violin, cello*, bass* (*instrumentalists double on found percussion)||Chamber|
Based on the famous Brothers Grimm tale, “The Bremen Town Musicians,” I’ve adapted the story with the help of translations from the original German by Andrea Leap. I was inspired by this wonderful tale and infused it with my own love of American music and a special place in my heart for old animals.
|Land Meeting Sky||Flute and cello||Chamber|
The fierce, unyielding beauty of New Mexico’s landscape inspired Land Meeting Sky. Upon viewing this untamed land, one cannot help but realize the real balance of things. ZENITH is a description of the sun climbing to and descending from its peak in the sky and the waves of heat that radiate from the plains. CUMULONIMBUS is an approaching thunder storm that rapidly builds in intensity. BLAZING TWILIGHT describes a desert sunset. Finally, in MOON SHADOWS, cello and flute act as moonlight, and melodies outline long, black moon shadows.
|Little Lovely Dream, A||SATTB a capella||Choral|
Based on a poem by Sarojini Naidu entitled “Cradle Song,” "A Little Lovely Dream" is a lullaby in three verses. Each verse is cradled by a sung and hummed wordless interlude. The piece was premiered by Dare to Breathe and recorded on their album titled “Dream a Little Dream.”
|Marvellous Error!||Unison chorus & TTB semi-chorus||Choral|
The text of Marvellous Error is an Antonio Machado poem translated by Robert Bly. The piece plays with the idea of wakefulness and dreaming, what is true and what is fantasy, and the suggestion that perhaps what is in our dreams may be our reality as well.
|Mi Sheberach, A Prayer for Healing||Solo baritone and unison chorus or congregation||Choral|
Mi Sheberach is a prayer for healing. The piece is written in antiphonal style for baritone solo and congregation or choir (a unison line).
|Music of the Sphere, Aria and Dance||Treble voices, harp, percussion, piano||Instrumental|
|Poem for 2084||SSAATTBB a capella||Choral|
I was drawn to this poem because it addresses life, death and renewal on a number of levels. It is both personal and universal. It is both hopeful and heedful. I wanted the music to reflect all of these elements. The piece begins with a slow unfolding of the very first line of text. For the middle of the piece, I chose to use "take heart" as a call to also "take heed." At the end of the piece, the sopranos sing "take heart" in the form of a question. These two words became an anchor for the entire piece.
|Prelude and Allegro||Trumpet and piano||Chamber||08:00|
|Prelude: Before Dawn||TTBB a capella||Choral||00:45|
|Prelude: Dusk, Fantasy: The Night Sky||Flute (doubling alto flute), cello and harp||Chamber|
I have always loved to watch the sky. This piece is about the fading light at dusk and the magical opening up of the sky at night. The prelude is scored for alto flute, harp and cello and is meant to convey a grounded, earthly feel. The prelude ends with the first star (illustrated with a harp harmonic). The fantasy takes off into the cavern that opens up when the sun goes down. As our eyes adjust to the dark, we are able to see more and more. The piece ends with the morning star—again illustrated by harmonics in the harp.
|Questo Muro||Mezzo-Soprano and piano||Solo Voice|
A lush and passionate setting of Anita Barrows' poem about overcoming loss and facing personal challenges
In Questo Muro, Anita Barrows adopts Dante's striking image of one person confronted by fear and trepidation, symbolized by a wall of flame. She asks:
Will you pass through it now, will you let it consume
whatever solidness this is
you call your life, & send
you out, a tremor of heat,
a radiance, a changed
Edie's challenging setting features dramatic lines elegantly soaring over surging piano figures reminiscent of fire.
|Saint Anthony Prayer||Children's chorus SATB chorus viola||Choral|
This piece celebrates Saint Anthony, patron saint of lost things, known especially for his love for children and the poor. Composed for the Basilica of St. Mary (Minneapolis) parish choirs, it features adult and children’s choirs, and is cradled by viola at the beginning and end of the piece.
|Sherman: Scenes and Celebrations||Chamber orchestra (strings and winds)||Instrumental|
SHERMAN: SCENES AND CELEBRATIONS is a tribute to a small New England town on the occasion of its 200th birthday. Nestled in the hills of western Connecticut, Sherman has managed to preserve much of its small town flavor while growing to reflect the changes of 21st-century America. I chose to begin the piece with Naromi Brook because it runs from one end of the town to the other, passing though the very heart of the town much like the many people in the town’s history came through and made their mark. The second movement, entitled Overlook, is meant to depict a personal memory of a breathtaking vista I used to encounter when running hills on my high school cross country team. Finally, the piece ends with Fanfare. The music is celebratory and high-spirited, surrounding a recollection of both Naromi Brook and the Vista of Overlook and ends in a sparkling flourish.
|Sinar Surya||Solo piano||Solo Instrumental|
"Sinar Surya" means “sun shaft” and is the name of a ship that sailed the Spice Islands of Indonesia in the 1970’s. When I compose, I often begin with an extra-musical concept as a point of departure. I chose this one because of the parallels that can be drawn between composing and performing a new piece of music and setting sail on a voyage. Plotting a course insures some predictability but there are always variables that make that course a challenge, and a different one, every time it is taken.
|Sound Like This, A||Nine-part male voices||Choral|
I created "A Sound Like This" for the superb male vocal ensemble Cantus. Former Artistic Director Erick Lichte and I had a vision for a piece that would beckon the audience to “listen.” I chose Robert Bly's translations of 15th-century Indian mystic/poet Kabir because they so eloquently and powerfully achieved this goal. They also resonated with me on a deep level, and spoke to my core life philosophy: that one must actively listen, seek, think, hope, and jump into experience. Composed for an ensemble of soloists, the piece features duos and trios to enhance the voices’ colors and textures.
|Spark!||Clarinet, piano and two percussionists||Chamber|
I wrote this piece during a very stressful, transitional period in my life. I thought for a while that I had lost my ability to compose, my ability to be inspired. “Spark!” was the piece that broke through that mental block. It came as a welling-up of energy that I needed to express. It’s about cause and effect, how one thing charges another, and how one sound can ricochet off of another. A tiny spark can create a blaze.
|Splash! Leap!||SSAA and piano||Choral|
“Splash! Leap! is a result of planets aligning just right! After a dinner meeting with some Twin Cities Women’s Choir fly fishing enthusiasts, I set out to find a text that would do justice to the banter about being one with nature, being fully present and alive, playfulness, and the beauty of interplay between water, light and fishing line. I found a gem in Ailm Travler’s essay, "Run-Off", from an anthology entitled “A Different Angle" : Fly Fishing Stories by Women. Like Travler (a.k.a. Peggy Beck), I have tried to capture both playful and meditative feelings in my piece.
|St. Lucia 4:15 a.m.||Tape and variable instruments||Mixed Media|
It is December 21st, 2006, the longest day of the year on the overgrown sand-dunes of Saint Lucia, South Africa. Today, in the triple-canopy broadleaf rainforest on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the sun rises at 4:19 a.m. In order to capture a surround-sound recording of the coming “dawn chorus” of birdsong, our party must be up and in position by 3:45 a.m. Fortunately, African Wood-Owls sound off noisily in our camp before we can over-sleep our alarms. Then, beginning at 4:15 a.m., the drama of sounds unfurls around us. This piece is a collaborative project between Edie Hill and field ornithologist and clarinetist Andrew Lamy.
|Thaw||SSAA a capella||Choral|
This wonderful text by Lola Ridge leaves itself open to multiple interpretations. I chose to picture myself as the “I” in the poem—a spirit or part of self that is not bound to the earth. At the end of the poem the speaker identifies with children playing, even though they may not recognize the speaker as one of them. The piece is a celebratory looking back and acknowledgement of age, recognizing that in order to avoid becoming “snowed in,” one must continue to be in touch with the inner imp.
|There is No Age||SATB a capella||Choral|
"There Is No Age" is about the power of collective voices and how the coming together of human beings to sing transcends the boundaries of time.
|Thinkers, Listen!||Open, flexible||Choral|
Excerpted from “A Sound Like This,” this piece is a wake up call. It beckons to the audience, encouraging us to pay attention, savor, and recognize the connection between the self and the universe.
|This Floating World||Solo flute||Solo Instrumental|
"This Floating World" is a collection of five musical illustrations of the following Haiku by Basho as translated by Robert Hass. I often use extra-musical material as a means of generating structure and color in my music. The idea of using these elegant images as a jumping-off point was very appealing to me.
Winter solitude –
A wild sea –
|True Heart Is Waiting, A||TTBB a capella||Choral|
Commissioned for Cantus and the Miami University of Ohio Men’s Glee Club, "A True Heart Is Waiting" is about the weight of leaving and coming home, but also savoring the path along the way. I began work on it in 2005, during the early part of the Iraq War, and I was struck by the juxtaposition of the intense sadness of a soldier and his family parting, perhaps forever, with the intense joy of being reunited after a dangerous journey. The piece follows a sea journey and builds to the final voyage home, where “a true heart is waiting” for the weary traveler.
|Undercurrents, Echoes and Blue||Two pianos||Chamber||20:00|
|Voice, A||SSA a capella||Choral|
This piece is about searching for your voice. The May Sarton text explores the importance of listening to what’s inside of you and following your muse.
|We Sing With Heartfelt Joy||SSA and piano||Choral||01:30|
|Wind||SATB a capella||Choral|
|Windhover||Solo organ||Solo Instrumental|
This piece uses Gerard Manly Hopkins' poem of the same name (printed below) as a jumping-off point.