for PERCUSSION

Raijin [ 2014 ]

for solo percussion
 

selections from

The Extinction Series [2014 - ]

for vibraphone

 

Danse Macabre [2014 ]

for xylophone

Open Me or Readdress Me

from Night, like velvet:

in twelve letters [ 2013 ]

for solo percussion

for PIANO

selections from

The Extinction Series [2014 - ]

for solo piano

Open Me or Readdress Me

from Night, like velvet:

in twelve letters [ 2013 ]

for prepared piano

 

 

for BRASS

D is for...the fear of being

undressed in front of someone from

Alphabephobia:

something goes

Wrong Everyday

for solo trombone

or bass trombone

 

 

for WINDS

False Memories from

Le Lobster Phone: Seven Surrealist Statements from the Notebooks of

Salvador Dali

for solo flute

 

 

SOLO WORKS |

PORTFOLIO

 
Extinction Series [ 2014 - ]

for solo voices (piano, 'cello, & percussion)

in multiple movements movements

MEDIA

ABOUT

The Extinction Series is a collection of small one to six-minute miniatures written for both vocal and instrumental soloists. Each movement is a musical obituary to an extinct animal on the ever-growing extinction list. The concept for this compositional constraint was developed in 2014, and is an indeterminate and likely never-ending work, as the list of extinct animals is already daunting, and it continues to add members yearly. The sheer volume of the series is a commentary on mankind's carelessly destructive tendencies and manifest destiny attitude towards other living creatures on this planet.

 

With this thought in mind, the composer has chosen to embark on a piece that can never be completed without the necessary reversal of our outlook on the environment and our impact on it. In regard to the presentation of the work, the soloist is encouraged to choose multiple individual movements as applicable for a performance or recording. Works can be freely ordered at the performer's discretion. In this first year, there are 10 completed movements of the collection, which are written for solo 'cello, solo piano, and solo percussion. The composer is planning on continuing her work on the series every year, scheduling performances and recordings of the works as they are completed. 

Danse Macabre [ 2014 ]

for xylophone

(opt. arr. for xylophone, double bass, & piano)

 

MEDIA

ABOUT

The Dance of Death (Danse Macabre) is an artistic genre with themes on the universality of death that originated during the late-medieval era. A typical 'Danse Macabre' consists of the dead, and the personified Death who summons those from the grave to participate in this grand dance.

 

Different 'Dances of Death' were produced as a reminder to people of the fragility of their lives and that this inevitable dance of death is something that unites us all. This conceptual idea is not new to music, and the 'Danse Macabre' appears in works of other composers such as Franz Liszt's Totentanz which is a set of variations on the plainchant melody "Dies Irae", Camille Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre, the 4th movement of Shostakovitch's Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, and George Crumb's Black Angels, to name a few.

 

This Danse Macabre is a jaunty, tongue-and-cheek satire on this popular theme, written for and dedicated to Jonathan Singer and the incredibly talented Xylopholks. An alternate, solo version for xylophone was created for Dr. Samuel Stokes.

Dance Suite [ 2013-14 ]

for solo violin or solo viola

in multiple movements movements

 

MEDIA

ABOUT

Although I typically write for chamber ensembles, or large ensembles that require a conductor, I’ve recently been exploring works for solo instruments. As a composer who is motivated by orchestration, and combining instrumental colors to create new ones, I find that working with one instrument is much more difficult. However constraints do breed creativity, and, when forced to work with one single instrument, you have to really think about maximizing what you can get out of the instrument. 

 

The Masochist’s Tango for solo violin is one of my most performed works to date, to which I am very thankful. It’s a three-movement work with the tango rhythm used as the foundation of all three movements. While this work explores some of the different techniques for the violin, I wanted to explore the viola more exhaustively in this new work for solo viola.

 

The Dance Suite Solo Viola (or Violin) are etudes in writing for viola as an individual voice. Each movement is modeled after a specific dance (and the rhythms and inflections that are associated with them), each with a distinctive character. The Dances for Solo Viola is dedicated to and written for Pedro Vizzarro-Vallejos.

Raijin [ 2014 ]

for solo percussion (& opt. electronics)

 

MEDIA

ABOUT

According to the Shinto religion and general Japanese mythology, Raijin is the demon god of thunder.  A red skinned, horned and tusked sky god, typically depicted in the company of the wind god, Fuijin, and with taiko like drums swirling around him.

 

Scored for solo percussion and centered on the drum set, the work expands the otherwise expected percussive timbres with the addition of various metallic instruments, picked individually by the performer. In an even further break from traditional repertoire, a small mallet or keyboard instrument is also included to play the obsessive and repetitive melodic figure prominent at the beginning and end of the work.

 

After a wash of metallic sounds representing thunder rolling in from the distance, Raijin emerges with a ravenous heartbeat as the timbre moves from metallic sounds to the drum set. While improvisation is not at the heart of this work, there remains a section for the performer to work in his own rhythmic ideas over a set pattern. With such flexibility in both the notated score and instrumental choice, each performance of Raijin is truly unique. 

Night, like Velvet: in Twelve Letters [ 2013 ]

a multi-movement work for mixed ensembles

ABOUT

Night, like velvet: in twelve letters is an interdisciplinary work in twelve movements. George began the project in January 2013, constraining herself to write one movement during each month throughout the year. Each movement was written as a musical letter to someone in George’s life. The instrumentation takes into account the makeup of her ensemble (the Curiosity Cabinet), the dedicatee(s) of each movement, and her desire to include differentiated timbral combinations throughout the cycle. Mirroring the non-linear nature of memory, Night’s monthly letters can be performed in various orders, each of which brings out different structural and expressive relationships. Thus, though a full performance of the work could imply a linear narrative, the cycle remains multivalent, providing a range of affective suggestions.A selection of poetry or prose from Sylvia Plath or Ted Hughes accompanies each movement.

​ ​

Though George chose texts from different periods of each writer’s life—some when they were romantically involved and some not—she maintains a thematic focus on displacements of time, fragmentation rather than cohesion, and the alternately amorous and strained meanderings of communication between lovers. In the composer’s full score (which is excessively colorful due to her penchant for highlighting meter changes), as well as in each instrumentalist’s part, lines or words of the

 

 

selected texts are correlated with specific musical moments. In a sense, these texts are a silent continuo part being juxtaposed with the music, but they are only “heard” through realization by the reader/listener.Evoking the productive tension between process and product, George’s Night is a fragmented yet loosely programmatic reflection of creative life of its composer and nostalgic mediation on the passing time.

movement for SOLOIST

Open My or Readdress Me

for percussion

(alt arr. for prepared piano)

 
The Masochist's Tango [ 2009 rev. 2012 ]

for solo violin

in three movements

MEDIA

SHEET MUSIC

ABOUT

The Masochist’s Tango is broken into three movements in the classical style, although it lacks any clear formal precedent. Eschewing the standard fast--slow--fast structure, the opening movement is a lugubrious quasi- improvisational journey, an exploration of color and line. Double stops and tremolo contribute a deathly pallor to the work, unfolding in layers of pulsating bow work, as though the dance cannot seem to commence.

 

The second movement arrives attacca, containing the eponymous dance, a col legno celebration of tango rhythms and affections. The third section, to be played “with great lust and wanton desire,” is an apotheosis of the two preceding movements, marrying the mood of the first movement with the sultry rhythms of the second, whilst exploring the uppermost register of the instrument.

copyright

Whitney E. George

2020