The Starry Messenger
For unaccompanied choir (SATB). The text for The Starry Messenger comes from a pamphlet of the same title published by Galileo Galilei in 1610. In one section of the pamphlet, Galileo describes his observations, made with his newly designed telescope, of four moons orbiting Jupiter. His writing shifts between the precise language of a scientist and the childlike joy of finding such delightful objects. The music reflects his two states of mind.
Composed for countertenor David Lee Echelard and the University of Minnesota Percussion Ensemble directed by Fernando Meza. The text for The Erlkonig is loosely based on the 1782 poem by Goethe as set by Franz Schubert. In the story, a young child is being lured by a malevolent ghost/king to his kingdom of the dead. The child's father rides maniacally on horseback with the child in his arms seeking help. Only the child hears the sound of the Erlkonig's tempting words. In this version for six percussion and tenor, the rhythm of the horse's hoofs hooves is hyper-driven into a controlled frenzy of phasing rhythmic cells and complex sticking patterns. A text collage of Erlkonig-related stories and biblical passages are freely interspersed in this through-composed, single movement song.
Early Music, for singer and six prerecorded vocal parts, came out of the composer's interest in composition of the 13th and 14th centuries. It was written for countertenor David Lee Echelard and takes advantage of his powerful high soprano range. Sections composed using theoretical rhythmic modes of the 13th century alternate with sections of more florid passages that are partially improvised.