“The Shepheardes Calender — September”

Albumleaf 144: September 20, 2018 (Bologna)

Diggon Dauie travels to a far-off land in search of fortune, but finds instead a den of treachery and sin and loses all his sheep.


“Little Vanishing World 5 (Cloud Garden)”

Albumleaf 143: September 11, 2018 (Bologna)

Because the world has been clamoring for more atonal miniatures, I’ve decided, after a seven-year hiatus, to return to my Little Vanishing World series.  Buon ascolto!

 

“Dorian Rings”

Albumleaf 142: September 5, 2018 (Bologna)

Normally I like process music about as much as I liked processed food. But every once in a while, if you fool around with it and don’t follow the directions, it can be okay.

 

“The Shepheardes Calender — August”

Albumleaf 141: August 19, 2018 (New York City)

Willye convinces Perigot to participate in a singing contest in which Perigot will provide the undersongs to his “roundelay.” Cuddie declares the two shepherds of equal merit and sings a lament by Collin.


“Etude (RH 4-5)”

Albumleaf 140: July 31, 2018 (Granville)

Had to record this one before my right elbow fell off.  Ravel quote for music geeks.

 

“Dormiveglia”

Albumleaf 139: July 22, 2018 (Granville)

I’ve got as much swing in me as a Corelli concerto grosso.  But I’ll take those harmonies thank you, jazz.

P.S.  In English, the best you can do for the title is “drowsiness.”

 

“The Shepheardes Calender — Julye”

Albumleaf 138: July 20, 2018 (Granville)

Thomalin in the valley and Morrell on the hill debate the merits of tending their flocks down low or up high.   (Listen closely for the sly fox.)

 

“Winding Down After A Big One”

Albumleaf 137: July 5, 2018 (Bologna)

Chillaxin’.



“Plier Tree Revisited (Odin at the Spring)”

Albumleaf 136: July 3, 2018 (Bologna)

If ever a title required explanation, this is it.

Back in November 2012, I began writing an Albumleaf inspired by Mooney Warther’s wooden sculpture “Plier Tree” (pictured below).

I quickly became mired in “masterpiece mode,” completing page after page of sketches, throwing away music, starting and restarting, and so on.  At a certain point, I threw in the towel.  Rather than build upon all the work I’d done, I artfully stitched together a few passages, recorded them, and moved on. 

Since then, I’ve often thought my “Plier Tree” was a respectable failure—too bogged down in its low-bass opening and lacking a rewarding follow-through and climax.  Recently I’ve been preparing performance scores for the Albumleaves, and I came upon old number 92 and decided to dive in again.  “Plier Tree Revisited (Odin at the Spring), number 136, is the result.  At ten minutes in length, it is easily the longest Albumleaf I’ve written, and, frankly, probably the longest I will ever write.  (These pieces should be short.)

One problem I had in 2012 was a surfeit of inspiration.  Soon after beginning the piece, I hit upon the idea of portraying Warther’s plier tree as Yggdrasil, the world tree from Norse mythology.  In addition to having the roots and the trunk and the branches, I then had to have the spring.  And once I had that, I needed the birds.  And then—then, I needed Odin, who, in the quest for knowledge, drank from the spring and was attacked by the birds, losing an eye.

“Plier Tree Revisited (Odin at the Spring)” portrays all of these images and events.  But it is also inspired by personal history.  I vividly remember as a child visiting the Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio, and it’s one of the first places I took Gabriella when she came here.  I can’t help but be taken with the thematic overlap between childhood—where a person starts to learn—and Odin’s own desire for knowledge.  So in a way, this is a piece about childhood, too—both of an individual and of (for lack of a better word) mankind.

Back in 2012, I couldn’t hold it all together.  Now, I hope to have done so.

Buon ascolto!

–Granville, Ohio, July 20, 2018

 

“The Shepheardes Calender — June”

In this installment, Colin isn’t feeling too summery after Rosalind’s rejection and despite Hobbinol’s entreaties.

Albumleaf 135: June 10, 2018 (Bologna)