My Saxophone Concerto was composed in early 2013, the first work to follow the huge, three-hour oratorio, “The Gospel According to the Other Mary.” One would normally be hard put to draw lines between two such disparate creations.
The first work deals with such matters as crucifixion, raising the dead and the trials of battered women. The other has as its source my life-long exposure to the great jazz saxophonists, from the swing era through the likes of Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Wayne Shorter.Continue Reading
The idea for “Absolute Jest” was suggested by a performance by Michael Tilson Thomas of Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella,” a piece that I’d known all my life but had never much paid attention to until hearing MTT conduct it.
Hearing this (and knowing that I was already committed to composing something for the San Francisco Symphony’s 100th anniversary) I was suddenly stimulated by the way Stravinsky had absorbed musical artifacts from the past and worked them into his own highly personal language.Continue Reading
Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with generous support from Lenore and Bernard Greenberg; the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Barbican, London; the Lucerne Festival; Cité de la Musique-Salle Pleyel (Paris); the NTR ZaterdagMatinee, Radio 4’s concert series in the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam).Continue Reading
City Noir was first suggested by my reading the so-called “Dream” books by Kevin Starr, a brilliantly imagined, multi-volume cultural and social history of California.
In the “Black Dahlia” chapter of his Embattled Dreams volume Starr chronicles the tenor and milieu of the late Forties and early Fifties as it was expressed in the sensational journalism of the era and in the dark, eerie chiaroscuro of the Hollywood films that have come to define the period sensibility for us.Continue Reading