Composering

Dreadful marches to delightful measures

Tonic and Bitters stoptime_0003

Guerrieri: Tonic and Bitters (2019) (PDF, 109 Kb)

Guerrieri: Hopeful Monster Rag (2019) (PDF, 119 Kb)

Guerrieri: King Richard Stomp (1995) (PDF, 146 Kb)

The first two double bars to emerge from the newly-relocated Soho the Dog HQ find my compositional astrology once again ensconced in the house of ragtime, so I thought I would pull an older effort out of the files and dust it off for 21st-century consumption. Seeing all three rags lined up like this, I am realizing that the collected reference points—Richard III, somewhat obscure scientific controversy, and cocktails—epitomize a disconcertingly large portion of my personality.

Y schal rise vp eerli

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Guerrieri: Mine Heart Is Ready (2019) (PDF, 176 Kb)

Guerrieri: O God, If Thou Art Love Indeed! (PENDLETON’S HILL 8.8.8.8.8.8) (2019) (PDF, 30 Kb)

I am getting near the end of my tenure as music director of the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, but a couple of new pieces have snuck in under the deadline of my impending relocation. The first one is particularly noteworthy: an anthem marking the installation of the Rev. Desiree Lawson, our new pastor. After five long years, the flock has found a long-term shepherd! I am looking forward to watching jealously from a distance as great things transpire in Sudbury.

Also, another hymn. I may be starting to get the hang of these, after all these years—and just when I will no longer have a church choir and congregation on which to experiment. Time to brainstorm….

For upkeep and flowers

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Guerrieri: Gracious Spirit, Love Divine (FAIR FIELD 7.7.7.7) (2019) (PDF, 110 Kb)

Guerrieri: New Every Morning (2019) (PDF, 175 Kb)

Guerrieri: Progress: Five Sandburg Songs (2006) (PDF, 823 Kb)

Some more composing, tossed into the ether. Church business first: a new hymn and a new introit, plugging gaps in this spring’s calendar. The song cycle is an old one that I managed to rescue from a forgotten hard drive. The style is interesting to me because it’s intricate in a way that I gave up not long after, but I played through it and I still kind of like it. (Now, if I could only find those choral folk song arrangements from the late 90s….)

Inventory

Dynaflow Drive Descant m1_0003The collected evidence of my compositional life has long been in a scattershot and often inaccessible state, owing to a) my persistence in hand-writing my scores well into the 21st century; b) my excessively casual habits of hard drive backup and maintenance; and c) my general indifference to self-promotion. Thanks to an uncharacteristic spasm of gainful behavior, however, you can now access many more of my scores than before by investigating the “Compositions” tab on that upper menu up there. There’s an intricately daffy bit of chamber-orchestra metaphysics, a string quartet engineered from leftover Beach Boys DNA, some pop-culture graffiti for solo flute, a flock of choral music, and more.

There’s a few more old pieces I’d like to engrave and upload, but I like how the list already reads like a coded autobiography: you can see when I was working hard to get traction as a composer, when I started my church job, when freelance work would go through a dry spell so I would compose out of boredom, when life took over, &c. Sounds make their own oddly-textured archives.

Multitasking

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Guerrieri: Jesus, Thy Servant Is Resign’d (MORVEN 8.6.8.6) (2018); introit version

More fruits of my church-job labor, this one a hymn that we’re singing as an introit for a few weeks in order to soften up the congregation for it. Familiarity breeds… familiarity? That’s the hope.

“Morven” was the Ossianic name of the Princeton mansion that was home to Annis Boudinot Stockton (1736-1801), author of the text. Stockton was a member in good standing of the early American power elite, such as it was: her husband signed the Declaration of Independence, and she maintained a correspondence with George Washington.

Let them when they leave thy altars / Kindle others in thy name

office

This space has been quiet for four months, but, for once, I have a decent excuse, as I have doing my utmost to take advantage of the flatteringly good fortune of a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. The full, worldwide panorama of post-World War II music requires diligent pursuit! Nevertheless, I am giving it a shot. If you’re in Cambridge, feel free to drop by.

Still, it’s a good time to catch up on collating some other work. I am very happy once again to be mingling with the fine souls at NewMusicBox, this time with some ruminations on music’s ability (or lack thereof) to connect:

Courtesy of the implacable nature of the church calendar, there’s also two more choral introits to add to the ever-expanding list:

And the Globe column has been scaled back to a monthly affair, but continues to lurk around the edges of the newspaper industry:

Put it all in one place like that, and I seem really productive. Negligence has its advantages.