Ninth Dear Month by Dr. James Phelps
“Ninth Dear Month”, for female vocals and piano (Luo Ting-Yi), electric guitar and electronics (Jim Phelps) was partly inspired poetically by the ancient Chinese text “ShiJing” (Book of Odes) dating from as early as 1027 BC, Zhou Dynasty. It is considered one of the earliest and most influential ancient texts. “Ninth Dear Month” represents a fusion of this influence together with a broader scope of contemporary American/Chinese cultural “soup”, the latter of which has interested the composer for many years. Essences of American and Chinese contemporary cultures, as experienced/interpreted/realized by the composer, serve as the propellent for this expression of “a ShiJing spirit.” Texts spoken and sung in the piece are liberal edits from one section of the ShiJing, The Odes of Bin. The Preface to the ShiJing, translated and shown below, suffices as a summary of poetic bloodlines for the piece.
Poetry is where the intent of the heart goes. What in the heart is intent is
intent in poetry when issued forth in words. An emotion moves within and
takes form in words. If words do not suffice, then one sighs; if sighing does
not suffice, then one prolongs it [the emotion] in song; if prolonging through
song does not suffice, then one unconsciously dances it with hands and
Emotions issue forth in sounds, and when sounds form a pattern, they are
called tones. The tones of a well-governed world are peaceful and lead to
joy, its government harmonious; the tones of a chaotic world are resentful
and arouse anger, its government perverse; the tones of a defeated state
are mournful to induce longing, its people in difficulty. Thus in regulating
success and failure, moving heaven and earth, and causing spirits and
gods to respond, nothing comes closer to poetry.
21 Elevators by Karen Patton
A consideration of “elevatorness.” Sonically. Metaphorically. Elevators contain life. Carry life. Transport to and from life, if only for a moment. All the world, coming in, within, going out, into itself. The elevator, with its own life, serves.
Siberian Winds by Karen Patton
The Native American shaman on Siberian Winds chants, “I thank you creator, for our song, to all the brothers and sisters of the earth, to Mother Earth, this song will be carried by the wind.” This piece brings together Native American chanting and drums, Siberian whistling, a small Vietnamese bamboo xylophone, ancient Spanish bells, and ringing bowls. The composer takes these instruments and voices out of their musical traditions to create a unique and yet still familiar world of sound that might be carried to us on the winds that encircle the earth.
An Open and Shut Case (10′ stereo fixed media - Audio portion of an audio/video project.) by Karen Patton
Throughout history humans have been challenged by the duality of wishing to be self-revelatory and share in a communal experience with others - the absorption into “WE,” versus a desire to have boundaries and some level of privacy - maintenance of a discrete “I” - this work is a meditation on that conflict.
Terrapin Suite (24′ eight-channel fixed media) by Karen Patton
My interpretation of a monologue originally performed by Garrison Keiller on NPR radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”
II. The Call
III. On The Move
IV. A New Horizon
V. The Outfield
VI. County Road 5
VII. Epilogue: The Nesting Pond
homespace 1 by Nathan Edwards
This work is a live performance and installation that explores the nature of how our living space represents our own individual needs and the means in which we seek solace and comfort. The work is representative of my desire to combine modern musical and artistic disciplines through the combination of traditional and electronic composition, recording technology, and artistic visual elements.