ten pieces from “Orchard” (2018/2021)
Duration: ca. 1’00” - 17’00”
GTK Music (ASCAP)
- honeybell tangelo
- sea grapes
- vanilla bean
- sand cherry
Each of these ten pieces were originally composed as part of a larger collection of 50 solo piano works, collectively titled Orchard. Each piece in Orchard is named for and inspired by a botanical fruit. Though originally composed for piano, I’ve always viewed the pieces within Orchard as being easily-arrangeable for other instrument(s), or jumping off points for integrating into larger-scale works, as is the case for my piece West of the Sun which includes an orchestrated version of blood orange.
Four of the original pieces (peach, honeybell tangelo, bael, and vanilla bean) were commissioned by percussionists to perform on keyboard instruments (and may, of course, be performed on piano); this set includes those four pieces, plus 6 others selected and arranged with the assistance of Kevin von Kampen for either marimba and/or vibraphone.
peach was commissioned by Michael Giunta to be performed on vibraphone or piano. In this work, the fuzzy skin of the peach is represented by accelerating or decelerating rhythmic figures (“feathered beaming”), and lots of sustain pedal.
There are roughly 21 varieties of persimmon species throughout the world; similarly, in this piece, there are 21 different chords. Commissioner Grace Huang requested this work be inspired by the music of John Adams, so this work takes inspiration from Grace’s favorite solo piano work by Adams, China Gates (which is also my favorite).
honeybell tangelo was commissioned by Chace Williams to perform on either vibraphone or piano. The name - and shape - of the fruit comes through the music in the bell-like tones throughout.
The bael tree, which produces bael fruit, is considered one of the sacred trees of Hindus. While this piece is not inspired by Hinduism in a literal sense, the religious nature of the fruit was inspiration to the ethereal and meditative nature of the music. This work was commissioned by Michael Garcia to be performed on either vibraphone or piano.
The music in avocado is deep and smooth - I almost imagine it as being lethargic, to emulate the texture of the fruit. Avocado is one of a handful of pieces composed for Eunmi Ko and students in her studio.
sea grapes are small fruits that grow in clusters along long vine-like branches of the plant. I represent this musically by using an 8-note chromatic tone cluster throughout the piece. At the end, this cluster is separated into two chords: one that is major, and one that is minor. This work was originally commissioned by Christy Sallee.
The piano version of pistachio is performed extensively inside the piano with extended techniques such as muting of the strings and harmonics. On marimba, the muted pitches are performed as deadstrokes, representing the hard outer shell of the pistachio. This work was originally commissioned by Vanessa Cornett.
vanilla beans are dark, pod-like fruit. When I imagine vanilla as a flavorI think of it as being “plain,” or at least neutral (even though, really, it isn’t). This is represented at the beginning of the piece with a single pitch being played across four octaves; the music gets a little more interesting from there, with elongated gestures across multiple octaves representing the shape of the fruit. Kasey Strand commissioned vanilla bean to be performed on either marimba or piano.
Commissioned by Ann DuHamel, the pitch material in sand cherry revolves around a single pitch; in the original version and version for marimba, this note is a B (in the vibraphone version, it’s an E). This note, punctuated each time with a forte dynamic, represents the pit found in the middle of the fruit. All other music around this single pitch is much more quiet.
cloudberry was also commissioned by Ann DuHamel as part of a set of pieces about fruits native to Minnesota. The musical texture overall is cloud-like, meant to be generally blurry, and is very loosely inspired by Luciano Berio’s Luftklavier from his Six Encores.
Similar to the full Orchard collection, these ten pieces may be performed in any configuration. Performers may re-order the pieces, intersperse each piece throughout a full program, or choose to play any number of them (even just one).
peach, honeybell tangelo, and bael may be performed on either marimba or vibraphone as written.
sand cherry and cloudberry may also both be performed on marimba or vibraphone; two different versions of each piece are provided.
persimmon, avocado, sea grapes, pistachio and vanilla bean may only be performed on marimba.
Marimba pieces may be performed on a 5-octave marimba or 4.3-octave marimba; when notes fall outside of the range of a 4.3-octave marimba, an alternative note is provided (usually up 1 octave).
In avocado and vanilla bean, entire passages may be performed up 1 octave if performing on a 4.3-octave marimba. Further instructions for this are included with the music.
Pedal markings are provided for pieces that may be performed on vibraphone.
In pistachio, “+” articulations indicate deadstrokes.
Ten pieces from Orchard (marimba or vibraphone)
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