Hiraeth is near and dear to my heart as it was simultaneously the last piece I worked on in undergrad and the first piece I worked on during my master’s (I actually showed Frank Ticheli a very early sketch of the piece in a masterclass at WMU four years ago today, back when I was writing this for solo piano!). I channeled a lot of the emotions I felt during this transitional time in my life into this piece in order to portray the sense of yearning and sentimentality that the piece is about.
It was such a cathartic experience hearing the CMU Chamber Singers bring this piece to life with their moving and heartfelt performance after all of these years!
Hiraeth (pronounced HEER-eyeth) is a Welsh term, loosely translated to a longing and nostalgia for home. More than mere homesickness, it is an expression of a bond for a home to which you cannot return; a home that never was. This piece portrays this feeling of eternal longing through unresolved dissonances and a melody riddled with anticipations and suspensions, feeling as though it is constantly chasing and unfulfilling the harmony. The text used for this piece was written by Tim Davis in 2007 and is as follows:
Hiraeth beckons with wordless call,
Hear, my soul, with heart enthrall’d.
Hiraeth whispers while earth I roam;
Here I wait the call “come home.”
Like seagull cry, like sea borne wind,
That speak with words beyond my ken,
A heartfelt cry with words unsaid,
Calls a wanderer home instead.
I heed your call, Hiraeth, I come
On westward path to hearth and home.
My path leads on to western shore,
My heart tells me there is yet more.
Within my ears the sea air sighs;
The sunset glow, it fills my eyes.
I stand at edge of sea and earth,
My bare feet washed in gentle surf.
Hiraeth’s longing to call me on,
Here, on shore, in setting sun.
Hiraeth calls past sunset fire,
“Look beyond, come far higher!”
I’m excited to announce that I’m starting a consortium for a 3-4 movement sonata for trumpet and piano with my good friend, trumpet phenom, and fellow WMU alum Sam Gustavson!
We have decided that the piece is going to be about the Coronavirus, both on a global scale as well Sam’s personal experience working in a pharmacy during the pandemic and contracting the disease. Tentatively, the titles for the three movements of the sonata are going to be Chaos, Solitude, and Bloom.
Chaos will depict the sudden and extreme adjustments to the early stages of the virus, with schools and businesses shutting down, events being cancelled, and pretty much the whole world standing still and going into quarantine. The second movement, Solitude, will recount Sam’s experience with quarantining for two weeks after testing positive for the virus, but will also portray the general feeling of isolation and loneliness felt by many during this time. The final movement, entitled Bloom, will be an optimistic end to the piece, representing our society’s resilience as we more towards some level of normalcy (we’re not necessarily in this stage yet). Since these stages of coping with the virus didn’t always occur in a set order and often overlapped with one another, several motives and themes will recur throughout the three movement structure.
Consortium Fee: $100 ($50 due up front, $50 due upon completion of the piece)
Deadline to Join: August 31, 2020
Anticipated Completion: November 30, 2020
Duration: 12-16 minutes
Benefits to Consortium Members:
- Names of consortium members included on the title page of the score
- Exclusive performance and recording rights until Dec 31, 2021
- Input on musical material and title of piece
- Composer will travel to performances, if able
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’m looking forward to collaborating with everyone on this piece!
Arrangements include music from How to Train Your Dragon, The Greatest Showman, and Pinocchio, songs from bands Twisted Sister, The Romantics, and Ricky Martin, and pieces by composers Gustav Holst, Leonard Bernstein, and Michael Giacchino. I also have a handful of original compositions for marching band, including the short stand cheers that I wrote for the WMU Bronco Marching Band six years ago.
Band directors who are looking for custom arrangements for next school year are more than welcome to contact me as well! I’m happy to help in any way that I can.
Here is a performance of A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman, performed brilliantly by the 2019 Utica High School Marching Band!
The saxophone sextet (SAATTB) version of Volcanic Ash is now available through Murphy Music Press! Thank you to Mark Smith and the Quantum Sextet for commissioning this version of the piece and giving an incredible premiere performance at this year’s Coltman Chamber Music Competition, where they earned second place!
It’s been an honor and a pleasure to collaborate with the Donald Sinta Quartet over the past four years! I can’t thank them enough for all of their support, as well as their passion and enthusiasm for my music.
Their album ‘Ex Machina’ released this past weekend and features my piece Volcanic Ash (the album released exactly three years after I first completed the piece!). When I was writing the piece in 2017 I had no idea that it would take me where it has – with performances at concerts and festivals around the world, including this performance at the 2019 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
I’m humbled and grateful for the piece’s success and feel indebted to the Donald Sinta Quartet for their advocacy and for inspiring me to write the piece in the first place. Be sure to check out their extraordinary recording of the piece on ‘Ex Machina’!