Elliott Grabill

composer | educator

Author: elli9045 (page 2 of 3)

List of works

Below is a list of my best work.

 

Instrumental

Lake Pontchartrain, for string sextet, 9′ (2017)

Endurance, for Pierrot ensemble, 9′ (2017)

Escape, for bassoon quartet, 7′ (2016)

Responses, for clarinet sextet, 3′ (2015)

Rust Belt, for brass quintet, 12′ (2015)

EP, for trumpet and bassoon, 7′ (2015)

Katharos, for piano, 11′ (2010)

Kings Highway / Stillwell Ave., for piano, 8′ (2007)

 

 

 Electronic

Enkidu, for tenor saxophone and live electronics, 17′ (2017)

Urban Sunrise, for alto saxophone and live electronics, 8′ (2017)

Darl, for clarinet and live electronics, 10′ (2016)

Alarm, for flute and live electronics, 9′ (2016)

Pluto, for clarinet and live electronics, 30′ (2015-2017)

Acousmatica, for fixed media, 12′ (2015)

Snowy Shore, for fixed media and narrator, 3′ (2014)

Ocean Mermaid, for MIDI controller, 3′-7′ (2010 – 2017)

After the Storms / Sapa, for fixed media and dance, 9′ (2011)

Pranayama, for fixed media and video, 25′ (2010)

Un Jardin, for fixed media and video, 15′ (2009)

 

Choral and Vocal

When I Have Fears, for baritone and orchestra, 8′ (2016)

I Love Winter, for two sopranos and alto, 3′ (2015)

Making the Year, for mixed chorus, 3′ (2014)

Nantucket, for men’s chorus, 2′ (2008)

 

Orchestral

When I Have Fears, for baritone voice and orchestra, 8′ (2016)

 

 

 

 

 

Pluto

for B flat clarinet and live electronics

Pluto is a thirty-five minute long chamber work for clarinet and live electronics.  It has five movements:

I.  Serenity
II.  Cosmic Rant
III.  Planet Heart
IV.  The Sun’s Quiet Heat
V.  Gravity

Work on this piece began in July, 2015, around the time of NASA’s Pluto flyby.  By the end of the yeaBandanaBlackWhiter, I had a performable draft.  After winning third prize in Peabody’s Prix d’Eté, the final movement Gravity was programmed in the Peabody Thursday Noon Concert Series, with Melissa Lander on clarinet.  The third movement, Planet Heart, was premiered in August 2016 by Michele Jacot at the Toronto International Electro-acoustic Symposium, and performed again by Chase Mitchusson at NSEME in March 2017.  Clarinetist Shawn Earle also performed Gravity at the 2016 University of Virginia Technosonics Festival.

In February 2017 I teamed up with Andrew Im to perform the piece in its entirety.  We did so at the Centre Street Performance Studio in Baltimore.  We performed it again in at the Music City Festival in Orange, NJ, and perform it in Rutland, VT on August 13.

The piece is expansive both in length and in texture, with long undulating loops and delay that continue the clarinet’s sound like a piano’s sustain pedal.  Noise and ring modulation provide contrast to the smoothness of the clarinet.  The electronics allow for loud sections, harmonies, and sounds lower than the clarinet can play– all derived from a clarinet.10574423_742070775834053_9156229990406236303_n

Below are recordings of Serenity, Planet Heart, and Gravity.

 

 

 

 

Sapa

for stereo fixed media, with optional multimedia

This piece started out as music for a dance piece called Sapa, which was choreographed by Danielle Greene Madrid and performed at Temple University in 2011.  The music later set to video by my father, who titled the film After the Storms.

Rust Belt

for brass quintet

 

Rust Belt is about an region of the United States and its culture.   I wrote Rust Belt for the Meridian Arts Ensemble to perform at June in Buffalo in 2015.  I was inspired to write the first movement, Waterfront from sitting by the harbor, listening to oil tankers and feeling the wind brush up against my face.  In Trucks, I also explore the sounds of machinery, assigning each player a limited amount of pitch variation, but ask the players to create pulses at different tempi.

Men and Music have a contrasting feeling.  Unlike the minimalism of the first and third movements, these selections are busy and densely polyphonic, with fast, chromatic runs, glissandi, and occasional tonal sections.

 

 

Responses

for four Bb clarinets, bass clarinet, and contrabass

 

In this tiny, three movement sextet, the players work to create a blended sound which, in turn produces braided, long arced phrases.

 

 

 

 

Nivāhayati

“Nivāhayati,” for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, and double bass.

“Nivāhayati” is a collage of notes, fragments, gestures, and phrases. Its structure explores buildup, growth, and decay, imitating both human form and nature.

The word “nivāhayati” is taken from Sanskrit and means “set to motion.” The piece is probably my most complex instrumental work, with ten solo parts interacting with one another. The work attempts to capture the experience of time as I interpret it, highlighting its dualities: activity versus pause; history versus present; linearity versus cycle; and cause versus effect.

The also piece focuses on my interest in human dynamics.  While writing it, I sometimes pictured a party scene in which the musicians converse with one another, sometimes arguing, sometimes finishing each other’s sentences.  I imitate vocal inflections using glissandi and blue notes.  With the range of timbres available, I investigate the personalities of each instrument and imagine how, if each were a person, they would interact with one another.

I wrote this piece between August and November, 2014. The score can be viewed at issuu.com/elliottgrabill. If you are an ensemble interested in performing this work, please email me at thetruebadour@gmail.com.

 

https://soundcloud.com/elliott-grabill/nivahayati

 

 

 

Acousmatica

for stereo fixed media

 

Acousmatica is a dark, dystopic, post-apocalyptic leather romance with an element of danger.  This piece offers a journey in five short movements, weaving between dense machinery, urban waste, passion, and intimacy.

“Breathing” is a wall of rusty tone color that moves to the rhythm of deep breaths.  A more improvisatory “Spontaneity” then explores circular, undulating gesture.  After “Horizon” depicts a futuristic sunrise, “Trip” continues the gestural motion that “Spontaneity” began, this time with a more abrasive texture.  The piece ends with “I love you,” an electrically passionate conclusion transforming the tension built up in previous movements into sweeping melodic trajectories.

 

 

 

Snowy Shore

for stereo fixed media and narrator

 

“Snowy Shore” is a short, four movement electroaccoustic work featuring a narrator.  In this work, I explore combining poetry with music.  The text, which I wrote, describes the beach in the winter, culminating in a shamanistic journey through the icy ocean swell.  The electronics intensify the experience of the poem’s narrative and imagery.

The music includes recordings of nautical buoys, wind, waves, synthesizer, toy recorder, piano, and Inuit throat singing.   Additional techniques include panning, doppler, and frequency shifting to create microtones.

 

 

 

Katharos

for one or two pianos

This piano piece is composed of twelve sections, which could be played as specified in the score, or in an order of the performer’s choosing.   The piece may also be performed by two performers, each playing separate sections simultaneously, as seen in this video featuring Mila Roushakes and myself at the piano.

Katharos has six main themes spread out over twelve sections.  Thus, one could view the piece as grouped into six pairs of sections– the first of each pair exposing the listener to the theme, and a corresponding section occurring later in the piece to further develop the motive.  When performed with four hands, themes weave together and sometimes create new musical gestures when two parts overlap.  The result is a vast assortment of weird, abstract fragments, sometimes unresolved, sometimes overdone, and often combined to create a dreamlike state.

I originally named this piece “SAVE Room,” the place in New York City public schools where students serve in school suspension to “think about what they’ve done.”

 

The score of Katharos may be viewed here.

 

Making the Year

for small mixed choir  

I asked Nova Scotia poet Bauke Kamstra to write me a poem for this project for a couple reasons.  I knew that Bauke could create a text more profound than I could ever imagine about the seasons.  I also knew that since I was writing for chamber choir, I wanted a sound more intimate than most choral music.  Bauke’s subtle, haiku-like poetry milks meaning from every word, and Making the Year offered me plenty of opportunities to make this text musically come to life.

I explored a multitude of musical settings, styles, and textures before deciding on the sketches that would become the piece.  The themes of growth and decay in the poem compelled me to compose music that sometimes flows from key to key, while at other times remaining harmonically static.  The sections are further differentiated with tiny tempo changes, subtle enough to the listener as the a small shift in the wind’s current or the water’s flow. I also vary the meter.  Sometimes flowing and regular, the last page has several measures in 5/4 time to add emphasis and pause to the words.

This work has yet to be performed.  Click below to hear a demo recording featuring me singing tenor and bass, and Jillian Delos Reyes singing soprano and alto.  The score can be viewed here.

 

 

 

As the filtered end

of the year comes closer

 

the sky grey

the rain wetter than other water

 

then the land

after a brief moment of brilliance

becoming grey too

and a little brown

the colors leaching out

 

preparing the long night

and the white

a clean slate

on which to paint

a new year.

 

-Bauke Kamstra

 

 

Older posts Newer posts

© 2018 Elliott Grabill

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑