Author Topic: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)  (Read 294 times)

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Offline Cato

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A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« on: December 31, 2016, 05:43:11 AM »

As some GMG members know, I composed a good deal of music (some of it in an eccentric quarter-tone style) 40-50 years ago, but gave it all up for assorted reasons, which I delineated here:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,4143.msg99876.html#msg99876

My manuscripts had become a source of depression to me, so many years ago I destroyed them all.

Or at least, I thought I had destroyed them all.  Occasionally things surface from other areas of the vast Cato Archives! ???   ;)   One item was a very nice sketchbook, where I had begun a quarter-tone string quartet, an impossibly complex work.  I removed my sketch and sent the otherwise blank book on to Karl Henning!

In October 2015 another sketch surfaced for a 9-voice choir.  I read through this seed from the early 1970's, and found the work to be of interest, even in embryonic form.  One morning I awoke with the music playing in my head: so I thought, well, let's see what we have here!

By Spring of 2016, I had completed the sketch: I had been sending pages of it to our composing expert and expert composer Karl Henning during the process.  He suggested that I use a computer program to make the manuscript look professional, and allow a MIDI version to be created, which would be necessary for those unable to "hear" music from a printed a page alone.  SO.... I found an online program called NoteFlight ($8.00 a month!) and transferred the manuscript to that.  I almost gave up the whole project, since I found everything connected to the transfer tedious and frustrating, but I persisted.

KARL HENNING I cannot praise enough in this endeavor!  He transferred the NoteFlight score to his Sibelius file to adjust the notation for the singers and to create a two-piano reduction.  He has also recommended the work to two choirs: we shall see what happens!

Exaudi me is a hymn for double choir and a solo soprano: the work uses a 9-tone scale, with a few sections that use only the three missing notes (C#, G, E). 

The work opens in medias res with nonuple polyphony: Karl Henning has prepared MIDI versions with computerized voices (on vowel sounds) and with synthesizers.

The score is also attached with a translation of the fairly simply Latin text.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kuipcg6shg1hswx/Schulte%20Exaudi%20Me%20voix%20-%202nd%20mix%20-%2030%20Dec%2016.mp3?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9gemfrymok152er/Schulte%20Exaudi%20Me%20synth%20-%2030%20Dec%2016.mp3?dl=0
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 06:06:36 AM »
The generous praise is making me blush.  I am glad to have helped, the piece is highly engaging, so that work on the project (the typographical and proofing work on my part, that is) never became tedious, because I found the music ever rewarding, its crystalline austerity setting off the Psalm text with a rich poignancy.  The score has a ritualistic monumentality which I find powerfully impressive;  and I believe it no exaggeration to call it a major new contribution to the unaccompanied choral literature.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 07:08:47 AM »
I am glad to have helped, the piece is highly engaging, so that work on the project (the typographical and proofing work on my part, that is) never became tedious, because I found the music ever rewarding, its crystalline austerity setting off the Psalm text with a rich poignancy.  The score has a ritualistic monumentality which I find powerfully impressive;  and I believe it no exaggeration to call it a major new contribution to the unaccompanied choral literature.

Many thanks for the compliment!

I should mention that the work is shorter than the original sketch indicated, with two sections cut, one an 81-bar extravaganza of nonuple polyphony toward the end, before the bell-like conclusion.  Given that the work already lasts 25 minutes or so, cutting those parts was not imprudent!  :D
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline jessop

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2017, 01:43:07 PM »
Wow!!! I'm very excited about this! I look forward to hearing it live! It seems a very ambitious work to compose, and very ambitious for a choir to sing as well considering its length and complexity :o :)

Offline Cato

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2017, 04:32:21 PM »
Wow!!! I'm very excited about this! I look forward to hearing it live! It seems a very ambitious work to compose, and very ambitious for a choir to sing as well considering its length and complexity :o :)

Karl Henning is gently pushing the work, as I mentioned above.   8)

Thank you for the nice comments: as far as being "very ambitious," all I can say is that the original work would have been nearly an hour long, i.e. I simply had a certain conception for the structure in my head 45 years ago, and certain melodies of course, and did not really think about the length, and did not consider the work to be ambitious at all!   8)  When bringing it to fruition a year ago, I began to have second-thoughts about the length, and so cut it short by c. 100 bars.

And of course my mental choir has lungs like hot-air balloons, and can sing like Pavarotti and Callas;)  However, in "orchestrating" the piece, I did stay conscious that singers need to breathe now and then!  In my earlier days, I may not have been so cognizant of that necessity!
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2017, 04:51:15 PM »
But an 81 bar extravaganza of polyphony does have appeal...

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 05:50:51 AM »
A gorgeous piece, Cato. Sounds even better now in Karl's realization. I listened to it twice yesterday and will listen again today.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 06:01:15 AM »
It's really an addictive listen, I think, Sarge.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 06:05:56 AM »
A gorgeous piece, Cato. Sounds even better now in Karl's realization. I listened to it twice yesterday and will listen again today.

Sarge

Yes, Karl was able to tinker with the voices more than I could with my online program.

It's really an addictive listen, I think, Sarge.

Many thanks for the nice responses!

I must admit that the work at times sounds very dark and even foreboding, and the impetus (c. 45 years ago) was originally the opening, which appeared in my head one day.  But as the sketch proceeded back then, and as my fulfillment of the sketch proceeded, I discovered that a kind of persistent hopefulness is present.

But an 81 bar extravaganza of polyphony does have appeal...

Yes, it does!  :D   But I suspect that the section will remain in sketch form.

"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Cato

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 08:19:24 AM »
Wow!!! I'm very excited about this! I look forward to hearing it live! It seems a very ambitious work to compose, and very ambitious for a choir to sing as well considering its length and complexity :o :)

As I mentioned above, Karl has recommended the work to two choirs, one in Philadelphia.

We shall see what happens!

"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline Cato

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Re: A Work by CATO, Who Is NOT A Composer! (?)
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 06:04:29 AM »
In a private message, a member has inquired about the Solo Soprano part being perhaps too much for a singer, even a skilled opera singer.

The work lasts about 25 minutes, depending on the conductor's interpretation of Adagio and Largo in (mostly) 9/8 time.  I thought that there were enough periods of silence in the work for the Solo Soprano to rest, but...I do not really know if the work is too taxing for a good singer.

I told Karl Henning that the piece ultimately is centered around one bar, bar 163 (q.v.), and the Solo Soprano does need to have a High C ready for that, and the choir's intonation of their notes is also of course crucial.

If a performance is ever arranged, I suppose I will then discover whether two sopranos might be needed to divide the music.
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

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