John Williams is 80

(Originally posted on sleepsong, April 21, 2009. Happy 80th birthday, Maestro!) When John Met Igor Older fans of traditional film scores and/or 20th century music will know this one. And almost everyone knows the main musical theme to the 1975 film Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg and his first major success as well as generally… Continue reading John Williams is 80

Nina

I’m blogging on my tablet from the Caribbean, sitting above the beach, looking north to the water through the palms. My wife is napping in our room. It’s a new calendar year, the last month of my 44th year, and there’s hardly been time to reflect. I wanted to update in late December, but that… Continue reading Nina

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Cadence Canon (On Eight Notes)

g’/d’     b♭’/d’     b♭’/f#’      b’/f#’       b’/e’      a♭’/e’     a♭’/c’       g’/c’ a♭/c       g/c          g/d          b♭/d       b♭/f#      b/f#        b/e        a♭/e (2008)

Superscription

“Sequence, symmetry & simplicity”–my composer’s motto, 1996. 15 years later, inspiration strikes and the same schemes still seem sparkly.

Canon on Six Notes

Musical symmetry in the eponymous string quartet I wrote for my grandmother Madra, who would’ve been 105 this year: a”/d’     d”/f’     f”/c’     c”/g’     g”/e’     e”/a’ (1998)

Mahboob

(2009/2011) When I was about 13, without any knowledge of my past beyond the fact that I was a black transracial adoptee, I decided to create an alter ego. In my mind he was a jazz musician, sometimes a cultural diplomat from the West who had reconnected with his own roots in Ethiopia—or depending on… Continue reading Mahboob