Autumn Muses, Cats, and Cabinets

August was primarily a month of rest, for me. That’s not to say I haven’t been working on things.

Some of the compositions/projects/things I’ve completed since the last newsletter:

For My Autumn Muse

Composed August 4th, 2022, For My Autumn Muse is a pop/world music-inspired track I composed as a birthday gift for the one and only Mata Hari (1876 – 1917), whose birthday (August 7th) is one day before mine. I composed this piece for her because Mata Hari did indeed serve as my muse for much of my work late last year; particularly (and naturally) in the composition of my suite for unpitched percussion, Mata Hari.

(excerpts from Mata Hari)

Mata Hari’s image has since appeared on many of the albums I’ve released since the Mata Hari album. Thus, For My Autumn Muse was an appropriate gift for someone who inspired – and continues to inspire – me.

Computer Music IV

At some point by the end of the year, I’m hoping to release an album of the computer works I’ve composed and recorded this year. These compositions are in the style of the early electronic music pioneers, such as Edgard Varèse, Pierre Schaeffer, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Podcast Music #3

Recently, I was contacted by someone on Twitter and asked to compose some music for a new podcast. The subject of the podcast is basically Eastern spirituality. I composed two short pieces for this (“intro” and “outro” music). The above video features the intro music. I intended the next volume of Electronic Music to include both pieces I composed and recorded for the podcast.

Alone (for Organ)

I composed Alone on August 16th, 2022. As the title suggests, this piece is an expression of an individual’s sense of loneliness.

(first page of the Alone score)

The opening six or so measures of the piece consists of a solo melody, which is the only part of the score that is truly developed – particularly, following a series of increasingly dramatic interrupted/incomplete-sounding phrases.

As always, many thanks to Carson Cooman for his excellent recording of this composition!

In terms of some of the compositions/projects on which I’m still working:

Harmonium Sonata

(first page of the Harmonium Sonata score)

I’m hoping to include a recording of Harmonium Sonata on the forthcoming Harmonium Music album.

As might be inferred from the first page of the score, Harmonium Sonata is a dramatic work; one whose musical language is very chromatic. The piece has a very different character (“sound”) from many of the keyboard works I’ve composed to this point, though this different character was not completely intentional. One gets a hint of this character/”sound” in Little Harmonic Labyrinth (for Harmonium), a work I composed on July 10th, 2022.

Aurora

Aurora is another recently composed work. The title is provisional. I haven’t yet decided where I want to go with this piece. In this video, it’s entitled Aurora II because I created two versions of this piece. This piece may be a stand-alone track on a future edition of Electronic Music, or it may be the basis for a larger concept work, similar to Clues & Sublimation.

Soundtracks: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and the reissue of The Cat and the Canary

(front cover artwork for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari soundtrack, and the new artwork for the reissue of The Cat and the Canary soundtrack)

Most of my compositional activity in 2021 was focused on scores for Silent Era films. The orchestral scores I composed for The Cat and the Canary and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari are my two largest compositions. Either score is over two hours in duration, when performed in their entirety.

At one point, my YouTube channel featured all the Silent Era films for which I’ve composed scores (with the scores synced with the films, of course), but I decided to remove those videos from my channel and to post no further such videos. I made this decision because ascertaining the derivation of a given print of the film – even when obtained from reputable sites – was proving to both a nuisance and a source of incredible frustration.

The situation was so demoralizing that I ceased work entirely on recording The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari soundtrack (the music of which I composed in summer, 2021). I likewise withdrew The Cat and the Canary soundtrack for several reasons, one of which is that I assumed that the photo I used as the basis for the front cover artwork was in the public domain. When I was not able to determine its international public domain status, rather than creating new artwork for the album, I simply withdrew it. The situation was a bit too frustrating at that time, and by then I was focused on other projects that required my complete attention.

For these two albums (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and the reissue of The Cat and the Canary), I was able to determine the public domain status of all images/promo material for the film that serves as the basis for the front and back cover art, and thus was able to move forward with the projects.

Nonetheless, to give you a sense of these two scores, here are brief excerpts from each:

(Excerpt from The Cat and the Canary score, with video)


(For its reissue, the tracks on The Cat and the Canary soundtrack will be newly edited/mixed)

(An audio-only excerpt from my 2021 orchestral soundtrack for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This video features part of the music heard during the scene when the sleepwalker, Cesare, is revealed and awakened by Dr. Caligari)

Improvisations

Finally, I’d like to share a couple recently recorded piano improvisations which people seem to really enjoy. I hope you enjoy them, too!

For Behar
Lamps
What the Days Have Left Us

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