Monthly Archives: January 2011

Now is the Time, Sunday 30 Jan 2011

My contemporary American music program Now is the Time airs every Sunday night at 10 o’clock on WRTI-HD2. Listen on HD radio or online here. The complete schedule and more information are here.

Coming up this Sunday night:

Jan 30 2011. Dream Sequence

Anthony Gatto. Lucky Dreams

Peter Lieberson. Drala

Sanghee Lee. Scented Dream from Two Short Pieces

George Crumb. Dream Sequence (Images II)

Judith Lang Zaimont. Elegy from Symphony No. 2 “Remember Me”

Newburyport summer preview

Jeremy Gaylon

Jeremy Gaylon

I will be the composer-in-residence in the lovely environs of Newburyport, Massachusetts August 13-20, 2011. David Yang, Artistic Director of the Festival, has assembled, as always, a stellar cast of musicians, and they’ll perform a new piece of mine for baritone and string quartet. It’ll be based on writings of folks from Newburyport: more about that later.

Jeremy Galyon will be the baritone soloist. JC Lockwood has just written up a preview of the proceedings here, springboarding from a sold-out Natalie Zhu concert. Seats go fast there, is what I’m hearing!

A new kilesmith.com (no, it just looks different)

There’s a new look to kilesmith.com, but everything functions pretty much the same way. WordPress launches new templates all the time, and I always glance at each new offering, even though I was fairly satisfied with the old look. This template grabbed me right away with its simplicity. I hesitated changing, wondering if I’d lose information, but a check through the Help files emboldened me. One person in a user forum suggested saving whatever customized sidebar widgets there were, and I’m glad I took her up on that. I had to re-upload the header photo, but other than that I haven’t discovered any problems.

A change I noticed a couple of days before the new template is a WordPress improvement to how the menu works. So I spruced up the top menu with dropdown submenus and hover explanations, moved some items around (a lot easier to do now), and moved the now-mostly-unnecessary Pages widget to the bottom of the sidebar.

That got me to updating and cleaning up the sidebar. I deleted one or two widgets, and created one with a list of all my WRTI CD reviews. I’ve been posting those ad hoc, but now they’re all together in one place. They’re also accessible from Radio in the menu.

The About page underwent heavier-than-usual editing. The two bio’s of different lengths morphed into three, and now that I think of it, the Very Short one could be shorter.

All in all, the site should be cleaner and easier to navigate. I’m always tweaking it (when I should be composing), but let me know where you see that improvements may be needed.

Now is the Time, Sunday 23 Jan 2011

My contemporary American music program Now is the Time airs every Sunday night at 10 o’clock on WRTI-HD2. Listen on HD radio or online here. The complete schedule and more information are here.

Coming up this Sunday night:

Jan 23 2011. Fracta

Michael Ellison. Elif

Michael Hersch. Fracta

Pat Muchmore. Broken Aphorism 10

Aaron Jay Kernis. Ecstatic Meditations

Pat Muchmore. Al Gharaniq—Fracture IV

American Spirituals, Books One and Two, in concert

My American Spirituals, Book One and American Spirituals, Book Two are joining Schubert and Bach on a concert Friday night at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. It’s Friday, January 21, 2011, 7:30 pm.

Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim will play Book One, and Pittsburgh  Symphony Orchestra Principal Cellist Anne Martindale Williams, Book Two, accompanied by Paul Jones. Philadelphia Orchestra members Rachel Ku and Joseph Conyers will also solo in the first half, and everyone will come together in the second half for Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet.

I wrote these works for David and Anne as part of a project spearheaded by Paul, and they’ve also recorded them.

More information here.

Bruce Brubaker, PianoMorphosis

The adventurous pianist Bruce Brubaker writes about the effect of notation on the performer’s comprehension in his erudite blog PianoMorphosis. Specifically, in his post “Line break,” he looks at where publishers choose to end the staves, and whether the composer’s intentions are well-served. I think about it in my own music, as I engrave (notate, rather: I’m not an engraver, although I am persnickety) most of mine. How passages relate to page and line breaks do concern me, along with details in spacing, and page turns for parts and scores.

One sentence in his post about book typography got me thinking about parallels between music and text reading, and so I sent in a comment, below. Check out his blog when you get a chance. We have his Inner Cities CD at WRTI, by the way, and I’ve broadcast a couple of tracks of him playing John Adams and Alvin Curran on Now is the Time. He’s a wonderful and smart artist and writer!

Re: “A respect for an economy of character spaces led us to discard double spaces following periods in English prose?”

Bruce, I enjoyed this post very much. The single- or double-space after period dilemma has to do, in modern times, with the transition from typewriters to the variable-width fonts available on computers. We used to type two spaces after the period, since one space didn’t set off the sentences clearly enough on a monospace typewriter. An i taking up as much space as an m (or a period!) creates havoc with the recognition of black and white space necessary for quick reading. With variable-width fonts, just one space is fine, as the eye picks up the demarcation between sentences quite nicely (as long as we’re not using Courier).

But I’ve read old books with beautiful (variable-width) typography that do insert two spaces after the period, so it’s not just the typewriter. I’m not sure if it’s more prevalent in British as opposed to American typography (as it is with the issue of enclosing the period within a quote mark), but it certainly all has to do with the friction between two ideals: recognition and flow. Which is the same as with music notation, as you’ve said.

For my own compositions, one thing I’ve picked up from very old notation that has been almost forgotten these days is variation in beaming; that is, I like to beam notes differently to show differences in phrasing. Rather than inconsistency, it’s just another way of transmitting information to the performer. And with you, I believe that the performer picks up on it immediately, and will comprehend six 8ths beamed together in a 3/4 bar differently from the same notes beamed 2+2+2 (or even a momentary 3+3, breaking the rule by not changing to 6/8). Cheers, Kile Smith

Now is the Time, Sunday 16 Jan 2011

My contemporary American music program Now is the Time airs every Sunday night at 10 o’clock on WRTI-HD2. Listen on HD radio or online here. The complete schedule and more information are here.

Coming up this Sunday night:

Jan 16 2011. 105. Harp, Harpsichord

Peter Child. Fantasia

Dinos Constantinides. Landscape VI—Rhapsody for Harp and Strings

Harold Boatrite. Suite for Harpsichord

Harold Meltzer. Virginal

James Hartway. Detours