This album features a full string orchestra – eight violins, four violas, four celli, two basses, piano and percussion. The music is a seamless whole – fiery, uplifting, exciting, stimulating, both vehemently rhythmic and evocatively atmospheric; startling at times, soothing at others….but always powerful, transcendent and breathtakingly beautiful.
Wispercussion: Five Portraits of Warren Smith
Wispercussion is a five-part suite for chamber orchestra that features percussionist Warren Smith. Each movement is a solo feature for Warren on one of the many percussion instruments that he has mastered.
Movement one: Vibraphone in a twelve tonal setting with sections of motif and textural repetitions.
Movement two: Marimba in an open fourths and fifths setting structured on African polyrhythm.
Movement three: Tympani in a solo portrait that explores the melodic potential of this instrument. This movement is centered on the blues.
Movement four: Gongs in a modal chorale setting with four improvisational events.
Movement five: Drum set in a portrait that will feature individual and collective use of the snare drum, cymbals, tom toms and bass drum. This final movement uses Brazilian rhythms as a foundation.
Shadrack: Portrait of Bill Cole
Orchestrated originally for mixed reeds, then brass ensemble and finally for string ensemble. It features Bill Cole on the South Indian Nagaswaram, a double reed instrument with a haunting but beautiful tone. Shadrack is Bill’s middle name and also his great uncle who birthed him, his son Atticus and grandson, Tighe. Bill’s great Uncle Shad, was a pioneer who with four other surgeons founded the first Black Hospital in the state of Virginia in the late 1800's.
Doretha and the Blues: Portrait of Wanda
Orchestrated originally for brass ensemble in 1971, a composition to celebrate life with my beautiful soul mate Wanda Doretha. 2014 marked our 43rd year of marriage that has produced two wonderful children (Christopher and Devorah) and a gifted grandson (Wynton).
Industria, a variation on Diligence from The Seven Heavenly Virtues. Taken at a slower, strikingly deliberate pace, mith’s tympani blends with Elektra Kurtis’ plaintive violin leading the organically evolving strings into a force of relentless motion. It moves like a spectacular lava flow – irresistible, mesmerizing, blazing, but oh, so incredibly beautiful. The twin basses of Ken Filiano and Ben Brown add viscerally to the darkly luminous texture.