This work uses a construction of mine I call non-octave-repeating scales. This particular scale's pattern repeats at the perfect fourth, instead of the octave:
This idea was first explored in the middle movement of Vesuvius, and is more fully realized here. One thing that makes the scale interesting to me is that register is dictated by harmony, and harmony is dictated by register. A chain of three parallel voices will change chord quality in surprising ways. Balancing chords in the orchestra is often a challenge, as not every not every note is available for doubling or for a typically desired distribution.
"Oneironaut" means "explorer of dreams." It is used primarily to describe those who practice the art of Lucid Dreaming. A lucid dream is one in which the dreamer is fully aware and conscious during sleep, and able to directly influence the shape and direction of the dream. This work was intended to evoke the feeling of such a journey -- the sudden and often fleeting moments of clarity, and the ever-shifting visuals and story components.
Though at first glance, Equilibrium may appear to be a piano concerto, It may be better described as a concerto for orchestra with piano. The line between solo and accompaniment is pushed, blurred, and often simply doesn't exist. The writing is highly chromatic, yet almost always implies common, though shifting, tonal centers.
I wrote Summer Music as a dedication to DC Youth Orchestra Program founder Maestro Lyn McLain to honor his service to the arts and to the community. Many years ago while I was in Program, McLain was a personal inspiration to me, helping me to grow both as a musician and a composer. The title refers to my fond memories of the summer concerts of which I took part.
These five short works attempt to capture impressions of hypnagogic images that came to me during long bouts of insomnia. The suite (minus the third movement) was a finalist in the 2006 Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Composition Competition, and was performed twice by that orchestra.
2006, Ulysses James, Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic