About Each Composition

The Rose of SharonEach day I worked on this piece, I sat at the keyboard, prayed that my thoughts would be in synchronicity with the movings of the Spirit, and worshipped while composing. I often felt distinctly impressed, while working on it, to proceed in a certain direction, when my natural inclination was to go in another direction. The resulting work is probably my strongest, but I'm not sure I can take full credit for it. Perhaps it is better to say that it was channelled. When rummaging for a name for the piece, The Rose of Sharon suggested itself. Not being botanically minded, I googled it and found out that it was the official flower of Korea, where I lived while writing it, and a symbol of Jesus Christ, whom I credit for inspiring it and my journey to Korea.Rhapsody EspanoleEmerging from a transcription of a piano improvisation I recorded into Cakewalk (back in the days before Sonar), Rhapsody Espanole began life as a piano piece. I seem to compose best at the keyboard. After purchasing the Garritan Personal Orchestra, I was looking for a piece to orchestrate and chose this one for its dance rhythms and natural sense of color.OrientalisI met a Chinese ghuzeng player who lived in Korea and taught Chinese for a living. We became friends and she introduced me to the ethereal sounds of the ghuzeng, a Chinese zither (sometimes called a Chinese harp). I wanted to write a piece for ghuzeng and orchestra, but then decided it would be better to just pay homage to all that I thought was beautiful about Chinese, Korean, and Japanese music without leaving the domain of the Western orchestra. The main theme of this piece is a reworking of a Chinese song she played for me. The harmony and orchestration are my own.PavaneIn high school, my piano teacher gave me a transcription of Faure's Pavane. I fell in love with the piece. Later, I came to admire Ravel's Pavane. My own attempt at the genre began in college, when I composed a piano piece dedicated to a friend from high school, an overweight girl with low self-esteem and an almost tragic life. Thinking of her elicited a mixture of melancholy, sympathy, and wistfulness. The piece was originally in a New Age style. Then I rewrote it, expanding it into a sonata, but deemed it overinflated. Eventually, I cut it back to a simpler ABA form, which better suited its simple themes. Like Ravel, who orchestrated his piano pieces, I'd like to orchestrate this piece one day.In the Light of the Trinity (Lux Trinitas)Of all the pieces I've written, this has given me the greatest frustration. While doodling at the piano one day in college, I worked out the main theme. Over the years, I revised it and developed it. Eventually, I began to conceive of the emerging work as the first movement of a symphonic poem on the Trinity. However, I was never quite happy with the piece, and always found reasons to fault it. I have nearly a hundred drafts of this piece, each developed differently, some I like better than the current one posted here. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get a decent performance of them from my software synthesizers. Perhaps, if I upgrade to EWQLSO, I can actually get a decent performance recorded.NocturneWritten during my first sojourn in Korea for a friend, this piece has a theme that bares more than a passing resemblance to what later evolved into the Rose of Sharon. Since I like the Rose better, I've often thought I should suppress this earlier work, but it has its own merits.CanzonaAn unusual piece in that it sprang from nowhere inside of me, Canzona is an homage to a similarly titled piece from the Renaissance I found reprinted in a college music textbook. I was interested in the idea of imitating mentor texts or parallel writing, that is, composing a piece of music using an original theme but developing it in the manner of a model composition by another composer. In this way, I hoped to distill the essence of their style while avoiding reworking their themes. It was a student work and took me into uncharted territory, Renaissance polyphonic instrumental music. I would like to rework it into a kind of Karl Jenkins-style pop/classical hybrid one day.
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