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.

Who’s prepared to pay the price

For research (some fruits of which may emerge soon), I’ve been spending another stretch buried in post-World War II, mid-century magazines. And I ran across this ad for Ella Fitzgerald’s 1956 Cole Porter Songbook album:

 
Fitzgerald Porter Songbook ad 1956.jpg

 

The drawing is by David Stone Martin, for many years Norman Granz’s go-to artist for album covers. (If you have more than a couple jazz albums from the 50s and 60s, Martin probably did one of the covers.) But the interesting data point here is the suggested list price: $9.96. That is a lot of money; adjusted for inflation, the album went for about 90 2018 dollars. Record albums—some albums, anyway—were not always the disposable-income commodities that they would eventually become.

Just for fun, a few other random gleanings:

Jeri Southern Birdland ad 1956.jpg

Fargo sales ad 1957

Bourbon Vegetarian 1962

Black Orchid Chicago ad 1958

Multitasking

Jesus Thy Servant antedate_0002

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.