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1. Concerto Duo with Demarre and Anthony McGill [LIVE]

Concerto Duo with Demarre and Anthony McGill [LIVE]

Premiere of Joel Puckett's Concerto Duo (for solo flute, solo clarinet and orchestra) Demarre McGill, flute Anthony McGill, clarinet Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra Allen Tinkham, conducting Recorded live at Orchestra Hall in Chicago on May 13, 2012 PROGRAM NOTE: As I began work on this concerto for the brilliant brothers, Anthony and Demarre McGill, my thoughts naturally turned to family and childhood. To shared experiences and the joy of comradery and sibling rivalries. Although the entire piece is dedicated to the brothers, the movements take their inspiration from, and their dedications are given to, three very special toddlers. The first movement carries the title, “Great American Scream Machine.” Growing up in Atlanta, my folks used to take my sister and me to Six Flags over Georgia every summer. That park features the world’s largest wooden rollercoaster, the Great American Scream Machine. Even as a child, I knew in my heart that it was probably a terrible idea to build a rollercoaster out of wood and an even worse idea to be proud of having the LARGEST one. Needless to say, this thing terrified me [and does to this day]. This movement is dedicated to Roya McAllister whose parents are my dear friends, Roshanne Etezady and Timothy McAllister. I first came to know Roshanne’s music when we were in graduate school together. She wrote a fantastic piece about motorcycles [and life] for the Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire project. I remember thinking, “That first measure is AWESOME!” In December, Roshanne and Tim welcomed their daughter Roya to the world. I stole my memory of her first measure and created a sketch version of what eventually became this movement as tribute to her and a testament to little Roya to make sure she knows how cool her mom is. Roya, you are a lucky little girl! If you have ever tried to put a toddler down for a nap, you will understand the sentiments behind the second movement. The image of the soft lullaby gently and smoothly soothing children to sleep seems ridiculous in the face of my nightly reality! My daughter fights sleep like a heavyweight prizefighter. Our nighttime routine has become set in stone. I give her a bath, put her in her pajamas, and we read a book or two. And then we come to my favorite portion of the routine: the lullabies. Doing my part, I sing her slow lullabies while rocking her and she does her part, fighting the onset of sleep. By far her favorite lullaby is the one my grandmother [Mama Dee] used to sing to me: “Sail Far Away, Sail Across the Sea, Only don’t forget to Sail, back again to me.” At least, I THOUGHT it was the one Mama Dee used to sing to me. I got curious about the rest of the verses and found that the song was written in 1898 by Alice Riley and Jesse Gaynor and has only a passing resemblance to the song I remember Mama Dee singing to me. Better yet, it has virtually no resemblance to the lullaby I had been singing to my daughter! So this movement is both a journey of daddy trying to coax daughter to sleep and a journey of daughter enjoying the song, fighting sleep and eventually succumbing to slumber. I have had this material in my head, virtually nonstop, since the day my daughter was born. I first created a winds only version of this “lullaby” as a gift for my daughter on her 1st birthday. Following an extended introduction of the lullaby material by the soloists, you will hear the soloists take turns trying to coax the toddler to sleep only to be interrupted by the little stomps of a very tired and stubborn [but very cute] little girl. Approximately two thirds of the way through the movement a dramatic change over occurs where all involved [daddy and daughter] begin to succumb to sleep. As the haze overtakes daddy and daughter, the lullaby appears in four-part canon, with half the orchestra singing and half the orchestra playing the lullaby then slowly dissolving into a sleepy A-flat major chord that is sung by the entire orchestra. Happy birthday, little A! The soloists emerge from this singing to begin the third movement by passing apeggiations back and forth, slowly picking up more and more steam and launching into a sounds that are reminiscent of the cool breezes and sunshine of Southern California, which is the birthplace of Audrey Simonds’s father. This movement is dedicated to the daughter of CYSO’s own general manager, Joshua Simonds, who has been a sounding board and source of constant support throughout my time as CYSO’s composer-in-residence. Audrey, your Dad is a very special person. Concerto Duo is dedicated to the amazing brothers, Anthony and Demarre McGill and their parents. They are an inspiration and fantastic models for how to live as an artist and, more importantly, as a human. I am humbled and grateful to have them turn their attention to my notes. Concerto Duo premiered on mother’s day 2012, in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra with Anthony and Demarre McGill, soloists and Allen Tinkham, conducting.

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2. Puckett: Infinte Morning (violin and piano)

Puckett: Infinte Morning (violin and piano)

This recording is from the Albany Records release, "Pieces and Passages" by Scott Conklin. Playing on this track are Conklin and Alan Huckleberry. Program note for Joel Puckett's Infinite Morning: In my beginning is my end. (1940)- T.S. Eliot En ma fin est mon commencement. (1587)-Mary, Queen of Scots Every new beginning comes from some other beginning‚s end (ca. 150 AD)- Seneca I love beginnings. I don‚t know why, but it has always been for me that the first line of a book is far more satisfying than the last. I dive into these first lines filled with the hope that I might be reading something life changing or at least reading something old in a new and meaningful way. Full of hope, full of the endless promise that only a new day can bring. Unadulterated optimism for the cyclic renewal of morning. I sketched the opening of this piece while my wife and I were expecting our first child˜full of hope and the promise of that new day. Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended with a late miscarriage. That ending brought devastation and severe depression. This sudden turn from unbridled hope to mourning left us both unsure how to move on. This short piece is a meditation on those days. Postscript: My wife and I have since welcomed two beautiful children into the world and it is partly through that first ending that we are able to fully appreciate these two new beginnings.

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3. Asimov's Aviary [USAF Official Recording]

Asimov's Aviary [USAF Official Recording]

This is the Studio Recording of Asimov's Aviary by The Chief's Own United States Air Force Band (2013). In 1974, Isaac Asimov [creator of the three laws of robotics and father of modern technology based science fiction] predicted in his short story, "That thou art mindful of them," that before humanoid androids would be accepted into mainstream society, robotic birds and insects would be created to desensitize the population. While writing this piece, I frequently imagined Asimov dreaming of an aviary far in the future where robotic insects and birds were given life and flew around in constant electronic swarms. Amazingly, this work has begun. At the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patterson's "Micro-Aviary," these robotic insects and birds—or micro-drones, as the press has dubbed them—are being developed and put into the field as part of a whole host of projects including weather management and environmental monitoring. However, as anyone who has read "I, Robot" or "The Naked Sun" will know, where there is potential for light in technological innovation, there is also the potential for darkness. The piece features tightly woven canonic lines that form a furious web [swarm?] of contrapuntal activity over very slow moving [inevitable?] metallic drones. Asimov's Aviary was commissioned by The United States Air Force Band "The Chief's Own" and is dedicated to the men and women at the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson and premiered at the 2012 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. For more information, please go to www.joelpuckett.com/asimov

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4. The Shadow of Sirius [UT Junkin and Gedigian, LIVE]

The Shadow of Sirius [UT Junkin and Gedigian, LIVE]

My flute concerto, The Shadow of Sirius, in a fantastic live performance by the University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Jerry Junkin conducting and Marianne Gedigian, flute soloist. Find out more: www.joelpuckett.com/shadow.html [To buy a fantastic studio recording of this work, follow the itunes link.] Program note: I have always found comfort in poetry. While in school, I was the guy with a collection of Bukowski under one arm and a collection of Yeats under the other. I have always enjoyed the rhythm of other people’s thoughts and feelings. In the winter of 2009, my wife and I experienced a heartbreak that left me unsure of how to even breathe, let alone grieve. On March 1st, 2009, I found a copy of W.S. Merwin’s, The Shadow of Sirius, and I began to feel myself heal. I have almost no idea what most of this poetry means. But I know that it fills me with a profound sadness that is, at the same time, brimming with hope. I recently heard Mr. Merwin discussing the origin of the title of his collection. He related that scientists have discovered that the star known as Sirius is actually a star system. What looks to our eye like a single object is actually many. Merwin found himself wondering what is on the other side of Sirus, lying in its shadow. A friend once said to me, “many concerti explore a virtuosity of technique but not many explore a virtuosity of expression.” It was with that thought in mind that I began work on my, The Shadow of Sirius, for solo flute and wind orchestra. Each movement offers my reflection on a single Merwin poem from the collection. Although the work is played without pause, the soloist plays unaccompanied solos to separates the individual movements. A consortium of American wind ensembles led by Michael Haithcock and the University of Michigan commissioned The Shadow of Sirius. The work is dedicated to the fantastic Amy Porter. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Copper Press, which has granted permission to reprint W.S. Merwin’s poetry. All poems Copyright 2008 by W.S. Merwin. More information about this poetry can be found at www.coppercanyonpress.com.

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5. I Enter The Earth [The Crossing, LIVE]

I Enter The Earth [The Crossing, LIVE]

Commissioned by The Crossing, Donald Nally, conductor made possible by the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award presented by Chorus America and funded by the American Composers Forum [Animated Perusal Score here: http://issuu.com/joelpuckettmusic/docs/i_enter_the_earth_perusal_v.1.1] I enter the earth was premiered by The Crossing on June 14, 2015 as part of their Month of Moderns Festival. All text for I enter the earth was spoken by Kxao =Oah of northwestern Botswana in 1971, interpreted and translated by Marguerite Anne Biesele and then edited by Joel Puckett. It is excerpted from "Folklore and ritual of !Kung hunter gatherers,” Ph.D. Dissertation Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University©1975 Marguerite Anne Biesele (current pen name Megan Biesele) and used with permission. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Dr. Biesele who has granted permission to set and reprint these words. She asks that anyone moved by them consider making a donation to: The Kalahari Peoples Fund PO Box 7855 University Station Austin, TX 78713-7855 (512) 771-4097 When people sing ... I enter the earth. I go in at a place like a place where people drink water. I travel a long way, very far. When I emerge, I am already climbing. I climb threads. I climb one and leave it. ... When you arrive at God's place, you make yourself small. ... You do what you have to do there. ... Then you return to where everyone is, and you hide your face. You hide your face so you won't see. ... And then you come and come and come and finally you enter your body again. All ... who have stayed behind are waiting for you. They fear you. ... You enter, enter the earth, and you return to enter the skin of your body ... Then you ... sing.

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6. Joel Puckett interview on WORT's Anything Goes with Rich Samuels

Joel Puckett interview on WORT's Anything Goes with Rich Samuels

Live interview with Joel Puckett and Rich Samuels on WORT's Anything Goes from 12.5.2013. Playlist includes studio recording of Puckett's violin concerto, "Southern Comforts," and the radio premiere of Joel's new piano work, "bill•ytude," from Nick Phillips' upcoming album, "American Vernacular." This disc will be available on 1.28.2014. Discussion of life and music and the the influence of popular music on Joel's writing.

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7. Short Stories [string quartet concerto] UMICH LIVE

Short Stories [string quartet concerto] UMICH LIVE

LIVE performance from historic Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. This performance features the McIver Quartet [Marjorie Bagley and Katherine McLin, violins, Scott Rawls, viola and Alexander Ezerman, cello] and the University of Michigan Symphony Band with Michael Haithcock, conducting. Short Stories is a string quartet concerto commissioned by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The University of Michigan, The University of Texas, Northwestern University and the University of Colorado and dedicated to Kevin Geraldi. Approximately 21 minutes long and scored for string quartet, winds and percussion. View perusal score here: joelpuckett.com/Puckett_Short_Stories_perusal Part I: 1. Somewhere near the end [tutti] 2. Introit [quartet] 3. The Priests [viola and cello duet] Part II: 4. Recitative [quartet] 5. mother and child [violin duet] Part III: 6. sonno agitato [ensemble alone] 7. The Bridge [cadenza] [quartet] 8. Ma Fin [tutti] Program Note “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.” — Louis L’Amour, Lonely on the Mountain What makes the construct of the short story itself so unique among other literary devices is the demands placed on the author to create a meaningful narrative. They must describe the relationships between characters, present a conflict, and resolve it in a remarkably short span. It takes a deft writer to cleverly craft within these restrictions, and yet some have pushed the genre further by creating collections of stories that seem at first disparate, but eventually are revealed to be intertwined. Much like these painstakingly crafted works of literature, Joel Puckett’s Short Stories is a study in structure. On the surface, it bears the appearance of eight vignettes strung together into a concerto for solo string quartet and wind ensemble. Upon listening, however, the work’s movements reveal themselves as inextricably linked through a layered thematic language that plays out through a sort of “game of pairs.” The external movements of the work serve as a frame story, not unlike Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Haunted, which the composer cites as an influential on the structure of the work. Between the external movements, Puckett presents three pairs of linked movements. Each of these sections highlights two of the solo voices, featured at the section’s conclusion with a virtuosic duo cadenza. The final internal grouping—the sixth and seventh movements—takes the independent duo cadenzas and superimposes them. It is only at this climactic moment that we hear that the concerto’s primary theme—the basis for both the first and last movements—is the combination of the elements within these cadenzas. In a sense, the entire work evolves from the constituent solo playing of its stars. The opening—amusingly titled “Somewhere near the end”—introduces the notion of pairs in its own way. There is diametric conflict between both the soloists and the ensemble as, until the end of the movement, the two groups play almost exclusively in isolation. The harmonic language likewise poses friction, first hinting at the unbridled optimism of D major, and almost immediately thereafter shattering it with a tempestuous dissonance of extended harmonies in G minor. The effect is that of a series of dramatic wailings that set the stage for the players. The first internal section, comprising the movements “Introit” and “The Priests,” is based on ancient liturgical materials. The introit itself is a part of the Proper of the Catholic mass, and this placid movement also presents a part of the Mass’ Ordinary by way of a “Kyrie,” passed from instrument to instrument in the movement’s center. The dramatic beginning of “The Priests” is a stark contrast with its bold chorale scored solely for brass and saxophones, and the rhythmic ostinato from the low strings (“Regina Coeli”: a reference to the antiphon to the Virgin Mary). Complex mixed meters dominate the pulse as a punchy homophonic accompaniment supports the vivid rhythms of the soloists. The contrasting middle pairing (“Recitative” and “mother and child”) has a basis in Baroque opera, modeling a recitative and aria. “Recitative” serves mostly as an introduction, with a sparse accompaniment of vibraphone, celesta, and harp. The opening of “mother and child” expands the instrumentation to include the woodwinds and horns, dancing about gracefully with a patient, yet lilting tempo. This middle section is the longest single segment of the piece, and harmonically the most static, as it floats past slowly in a cloudy, dreamlike E-flat major. The gentle caress of the violin duet is both captivating and endearing throughout. The tonal center of E-flat remains for the sixth movement, but little else is held as the pleasant dream of the middle section is roused by “sonno agitato”—literally, “restless sleep.” This movement, solely for the ripieno, harkens back to the most tumultuous moments of the first movement. The pulse quickens unrelentingly and the ensemble spills over, out of control, into “The Bridge,” a cadenza for the concertino. Here the previous duo cadenzas are pressed into conflict with each other in a manner that seems incompatible and dissonant. As the soloists play together, however, the argument between them is sated and they begin to find a synergy in their florid and virtuosic variations. The energetic realization of the work’s opening motive ushers in the ebullient “Ma Fin” (a nod to Machaut’s rondeau “Ma fin est mon commencement”—literally, “my beginning is my end”). This finale starts with a return to the first movement, but this time, the soloists come together as one and, with a battering of thirty-second notes, breaks through the restlessness of the ensemble and forces them back on track into the brilliant opening, finally moving together toward their happily ever afters. —Jacob Wallace

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8. Puckett: 15th Night Of The Moon (Craig Morris, trumpet)

Puckett: 15th Night Of The Moon (Craig Morris, trumpet)

Live premiere of 15th Night of the Moon, a trumpet concerto by Joel Puckett. Craig Morris, trumpet; Gary Green, conductor; The Frost School of Music Wind Ensemble. Miami, Florida (USA) November 19th, 2014. Program Note: 15th Night of the Moon: In the past year, I’ve seen the reality of time begin close in on some of the people I hold most dear and as a result I’ve be forced to confront the cyclical nature of life. Joseph Campbell describes an appropriate Bronze Age concept in his lecture, “The Way of Art”: “Out on the plains on the fifteenth night of the moon, at the time of sunset, looking to the west, you see the sun at a moment just resting right on the horizon. And if you look there to the east, the moon will be in the same position on the eastern horizon … And so this also is part of the mythology of the body: the body going through its inevitable course – the long body [from birth to death].” In this moment approximately halfway through one’s life, the body and mind are in balance; equal in their prowess. In the Bronze Age myths, this was considered to be around one’s 35th year. Typically in these myths, the protagonist goes through a transformational journey moving from one phase of life to another. They are reborn into, for lack of a better word, adulthood. In his book, "The Way of the Animal Powers," Campbell describes a different transformational journey, this one as told by a !KUNG bushman: "When people sing ... I enter the earth. I go in at a place like a place where people drink water. I travel a long way, very far. When I emerge, I am already climbing. I'm climbing threads, the threads that lie over there in the south. I climb one and leave it, then I climb another one. Then I leave it and climb another. . . . And when you arrive at God's place, you make yourself small. You have become small. You come in small to God's place. You do what you have to do there. Then you return to where everyone is, and you hide your face. You hide your face so you won't see anything. You come and come and come and finally you enter your body again. All the people who have stayed behind are waiting for you. … You enter, enter the earth, and you return to enter the skin of your body ... Then you begin to sing." These two excepts strike me as related in that the mystical journey of the bushman seems to be a transformational experience much like the one described in the fifteenth night of the moon stories. An experience of change that provokes a profound realization of both the sadness and hope that come with the realization of a circular life. In this concerto, cast into four connected movements, our soloist journeys deep within to find this transformation. Each movement is a projection of a line of text from the bushman’s description of his experience. 1. “When people sing … I enter the earth.” 2. “When you arrive at god’s place You make yourself small. You come in small to god’s place. You do what you have to do there.” 3. “Then you return to where everyone is.” [cadenza] 4. “You enter the earth and you return to enter the skin of your body." The movements are played without pause. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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10. Puckett—knells for bonnie (August 3, 2015) LIVE

Puckett—knells for bonnie (August 3, 2015) LIVE

Bonnie Puckett was my grandfather. He lived an amazingly diverse life: minor league baseball player, WWII veteran, preacher, college professor, chaplain, grandfather who gave me my first baseball glove and loved to have a catch. As with so many of his generation, I never heard a word about his life in 1944 and what, if anything, specifically happened to give his post-war life such a focus on showing a quiet kindness to as many as possible. Rest In Peace, Granddaddy knells for bonnie (August 3, 2015) was commissioned for Sarah Frisof by the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble and conductor, Paul W. Popiel.

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13. My Eyes are Full of Shadow (Premiere)

My Eyes are Full of Shadow (Premiere)

Commissioned by the SEC Band Directors Association I've always wanted to write an "easy piece" for winds that explored the kind of long lines and introspective expression I tend to work with in the majority of my music. When this commission came along, the partners and I were excited at the notion of creating something in that vein for the many great high school and middle school groups as well as for the second and third bands at the fabulous universities across the southeastern united states. It was with that in mind that wrote My Eyes are Full of Shadow. "My eyes are full of shadow, and my part Of life is yesterday." —Edith Nesbit I've always been a person prone to melancholy. My mother used to say that I had periods of sadness interrupted by periods where I was happy about being sad. As an adult, I've learned to be contented in these low periods and in those moments I seek out the healing power of music and poetry. Edith Nesbit's "Age to Youth," from which this work's title is taken, describes looking back on a moment of pain in the past and an inability—an unwillingness?—to move beyond it. Finding this poem brought me great joy in connecting to its sadness. My Eyes Are Full of Shadow opens with an optimism of a new day but as the cadences are consistently left largely unfulfilled, we realize something is amiss. Each attempted restart of the opening results in another aborted cadence and now they are frequently interrupted by a simple, sad chaconne. Reflecting the poem's insistence on living in the past, this interrupting chaconne grows more insistent and eventually gives way to a return to the opening but now colored by the assertions of the chaconne. My Eyes are Full of Shadow was commissioned by the SEC Band Directors Association for its members. This is a live performance from the Palmetto Concert Band with Cormac Cannon conducting. Find out more at joelpuckett.com

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14. Puckett—15th Night Of The Moon Craig Morris, Jerry Junkin UT

Puckett—15th Night Of The Moon Craig Morris, Jerry Junkin UT

Live performance of Joel Puckett's trumpet concerto, 15th Night of the moon with Craig Morris, soloist and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble with Jerry Junkin, conductor. for more information, go to joelpuckett.com

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15. 1) Six Years [from The Greatest Evil, a song cycle on a letter by Edgar Allan Poe]

1) Six Years [from The Greatest Evil, a song cycle on a letter by Edgar Allan Poe]

Commissioned by Lyric Fest. Premiere performance Dumbarton Concert Series, Washington, D.C. Nov. 2015. Lara Ward, piano and Jimmy Reece, tenor. "Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before, ruptured a blood-vessel in singing. Her life was despaired of. I took leave of her forever & underwent all the agonies of her death. She recovered partially and I again hoped." —Published in 1903 Harrison, Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe [Vol. II, pp. 287-325]

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16. Stolen From (Live—Timothy McAllister, Robert Spring, and Andrew Campbell)

Stolen From (Live—Timothy McAllister, Robert Spring, and Andrew Campbell)

A CRAZY live performance of my homage piece for saxophone god [and alpha dog, University of Michigan fan), Tim McAllister's better half, Roshanne Etezady. This piece became the basic material I used for my double concerto, Concerto Duo. This performance is from 11/7/2010 with Timothy McAllister on soprano sax, Robert Spring, clarinet and Andrew Campbell on piano. Find out more @ www.joelpuckett.com

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17. bill-y-tude

bill-y-tude

b i l l - y - t u d e \ˈbil-i-ˌtüd\ n., 1 a state of mind or feeling experienced when playing Billy Joel's piano licks. 2 a composition built on a technical foundation formed by Billy Joel's piano licks. [This is recording is from Nicholas Phillips' American Vernacular CD, released January 7, 2014.] I built my piano [and musical] ground floor upon the stones laid by Billy Joel and Elton John. To this very day, when I hear Falling of the Rain or Laura, I can't help but picture a 16 year old me banging away on an out of tune upright. The Cold Spring Harbor and Streetlife Serenader albums introduced me to the rockabilly piano fills from the 50s and early 60s. These rockabilly fills are all over those albums and I learned quickly that I could throw one into almost any tune and get some smiles. My version of this type of fill takes center-stage in this etude and when the figure combines with some flying octaves that would make Liszt blush, it quickly moves into late night, totally badass piano thumping country. Something tells me my 16 year old self would approve. bill-y-tude was commissioned by Nicholas Phillips with funds from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Academic Affairs Division. The premiere recording of bill-y-tude is available on New Focus Recordings’ American Vernacular: New Music for Piano, Nicholas Phillips, piano. (FCR 144) [Digital copies are also available through iTunes and amazon MP3.] To purchase the score, visit: http://www.billholabmusic.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=103_132&products_id=1485 To find out more information about Joel Puckett, please visit either www.billholab.com or www.joelpuckett.com.

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18. It Perched For Vespers Nine (LIVE The President's Own Marine Band)

It Perched For Vespers Nine (LIVE The President's Own Marine Band)

This is a live performance with The President's Own Marine Band with Jason Fettig, conducting. Program note: My wife’s grandfather was an extraordinary man. He was an immigrant who walked around quoting poetry and whistling tunes from his childhood in Scotland. Like a character from a movie he always seemed to pull just the right verse for the occasion. In the spring of 2007, he fell into a coma following a severe stroke. After weeks of being in this state he awoke and said: In mist or cloud… …on mast or shroud… …It perched for Vespers nine… …Whiles all the night… …through fog-smoke white, Glimmered the white moon-shine. These were the final words of a man who always chose the right words. Within the hour he was gone. Not recognizing the verse, I immediately ran to Google to decipher what message the old man could have been delivering. The verse is from the famous poem of condemnation and redemption, “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”. The poem is the story of a mariner condemned to travel the earth telling his tale of hubris and punishment in search of redemption. The mariner shot an albatross for no other reason than he felt like it and then suffered the wrath of both death and living-death for his gall. The verse my wife’s grandfather quoted is the verse immediately before the one containing the ill-fated murder of the albatross. As they say, the calm before the coming storm. My work entitled, “It perched for Vespers nine,” on a surface level engages the imagery from the verse itself. But at the emotional core of the work is my trying to work out what my wife’s Pop Pop might have been trying to tell us about what awaits us “In mist or cloud”. It perched for Vespers nine was commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association and the University of Florida. For performance materials or any additional questions please contact: www.billholabmusic.com

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19. Short Stories [string quartet concerto] CBDNA Premiere

Short Stories [string quartet concerto] CBDNA Premiere

Short Stories is a string quartet concerto commissioned by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The University of Michigan, The University of Texas, Northwestern University and the University of Colorado and dedicated to Kevin Geraldi. This performance is live with the McIver Quartet [Marjorie Bagley and Fabian Lopez, violins, Scott Rawls, viola and Alexander Ezerman, cello] and UNCG with Kevin Geraldi conducting. Approximately 21 minutes long and scored for string quartet, winds and percussion. View perusal score here: http://joelpuckett.com/Puckett_Short_Stories_perusal Part I: 1. Somewhere near the end [tutti] 2. Introit [quartet] 3. The Priests [viola and cello duet] Part II: 4. Recitative [quartet] 5. mother and child [violin duet] Part III: 6. sonno agitato [ensemble alone] 7. The Bridge [cadenza] [quartet] 8. Ma Fin [tutti] Program Note “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.” — Louis L’Amour, Lonely on the Mountain What makes the construct of the short story itself so unique among other literary devices is the demands placed on the author to create a meaningful narrative. They must describe the relationships between characters, present a conflict, and resolve it in a remarkably short span. It takes a deft writer to cleverly craft within these restrictions, and yet some have pushed the genre further by creating collections of stories that seem at first disparate, but eventually are revealed to be intertwined. Much like these painstakingly crafted works of literature, Joel Puckett’s Short Stories is a study in structure. On the surface, it bears the appearance of eight vignettes strung together into a concerto for solo string quartet and wind ensemble. Upon listening, however, the work’s movements reveal themselves as inextricably linked through a layered thematic language that plays out through a sort of “game of pairs.” The external movements of the work serve as a frame story, not unlike Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Haunted, which the composer cites as an influential on the structure of the work. Between the external movements, Puckett presents three pairs of linked movements. Each of these sections highlights two of the solo voices, featured at the section’s conclusion with a virtuosic duo cadenza. The final internal grouping—the sixth and seventh movements—takes the independent duo cadenzas and superimposes them. It is only at this climactic moment that we hear that the concerto’s primary theme—the basis for both the first and last movements—is the combination of the elements within these cadenzas. In a sense, the entire work evolves from the constituent solo playing of its stars. The opening—amusingly titled “Somewhere near the end”—introduces the notion of pairs in its own way. There is diametric conflict between both the soloists and the ensemble as, until the end of the movement, the two groups play almost exclusively in isolation. The harmonic language likewise poses friction, first hinting at the unbridled optimism of D major, and almost immediately thereafter shattering it with a tempestuous dissonance of extended harmonies in G minor. The effect is that of a series of dramatic wailings that set the stage for the players. The first internal section, comprising the movements “Introit” and “The Priests,” is based on ancient liturgical materials. The introit itself is a part of the Proper of the Catholic mass, and this placid movement also presents a part of the Mass’ Ordinary by way of a “Kyrie,” passed from instrument to instrument in the movement’s center. The dramatic beginning of “The Priests” is a stark contrast with its bold chorale scored solely for brass and saxophones, and the rhythmic ostinato from the low strings (“Regina Coeli”: a reference to the antiphon to the Virgin Mary). Complex mixed meters dominate the pulse as a punchy homophonic accompaniment supports the vivid rhythms of the soloists. The contrasting middle pairing (“Recitative” and “mother and child”) has a basis in Baroque opera, modeling a recitative and aria. “Recitative” serves mostly as an introduction, with a sparse accompaniment of vibraphone, celesta, and harp. The opening of “mother and child” expands the instrumentation to include the woodwinds and horns, dancing about gracefully with a patient, yet lilting tempo. This middle section is the longest single segment of the piece, and harmonically the most static, as it floats past slowly in a cloudy, dreamlike E-flat major. The gentle caress of the violin duet is both captivating and endearing throughout. The tonal center of E-flat remains for the sixth movement, but little else is held as the pleasant dream of the middle section is roused by “sonno agitato”—literally, “restless sleep.” This movement, solely for the ripieno, harkens back to the most tumultuous moments of the first movement. The pulse quickens unrelentingly and the ensemble spills over, out of control, into “The Bridge,” a cadenza for the concertino. Here the previous duo cadenzas are pressed into conflict with each other in a manner that seems incompatible and dissonant. As the soloists play together, however, the argument between them is sated and they begin to find a synergy in their florid and virtuosic variations. The energetic realization of the work’s opening motive ushers in the ebullient “Ma Fin” (a nod to Machaut’s rondeau “Ma fin est mon commencement”—literally, “my beginning is my end”). This finale starts with a return to the first movement, but this time, the soloists come together as one and, with a battering of thirty-second notes, breaks through the restlessness of the ensemble and forces them back on track into the brilliant opening, finally moving together toward their happily ever afters. —Jacob Wallace

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