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5 Short Piano Pieces


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composerclark

 Genre: Classical

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About 12 years ago, a pianist friend asked me if I had any solo piano music, and I said 'not really.' She wondered what 'not really' meant, and I explained that I had written a few short pieces for young-ish students, but nothing serious, and I wasn't even sure where most of them were.

Well, one thing led to another, and I tracked down a bunch of the short pieces I had written and showed them to her, and, to my surprise, she seemed to like them, so we decided to arrange them into some kind of order, which she eventually performed as a set called "9 short piano pieces."

Some of the pieces from the longer set were previously submitted individually here, including Hearing Footsteps and Julia's Prelude, so I decided to group 5 of the shorter pieces together and reorder them somewhat to form this group. I think these pieces can be played by early to intermediate level pianists, and I tried to write stuff that I though kids might like to play.

These are performed flawlessly here by Liana Lam, in a live, concert recording (i.e., no edits).

I hope you enjoy!
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Song Stats
Hits: 7510
Comments: 55
Fans: 16
Plays: 387
Downloads: 185
Votes: 11
Uploaded: Jun 30, 2007 - 08:45:33 PM
Last Updated: Jul 02, 2007 - 09:51:12 AM Last Played: Jul 19, 2018 - 06:51:02 PM
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Comments
Macaudion said 4105 days ago (June 30th, 2007)
Reasons why you are rightfully named...
Youngish students?... Youngish, genius-like students - Really... what do you mean by, "youngish"?

A wonderful composition, indeed, Mister Composer!

Some wittyness... Some playfulness... Some thoughtfulness... Some seriousness...

You don't say things like, "you're very talented", to people like yourself. Duh... You just try to be present w/ a high factor of, 'shut up and listen', and when all has been told, you try to look dignified as you waltz away...

Always! Always! a treat! A wonderful piece! Thank you, Sir! Macca
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composerclark said 4105 days ago (June 30th, 2007)
Thanks
By 'young-ish' I guess I meant people like yourself, of course!

I guess I meant that they were written for early- to intermediate-level piano students... the first one, 'waltz,' is relatively easy to play, so maybe a near beginner could play it? I dunno, really... I never actually taught piano, but I took lessons for a number of years, and I was just trying to write stuff that I thought I might have liked playing when I was a student.

I'm impressed at how quick off the mark you are! I thank you for that, and for the generosity of spirit behind your comment! I'm pretty sure I've told you this before, but I think you're filled with musical talent. Everything I've heard of yours shows that.

Now, can we get back to discussing running shoes? Please?

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Feter said 4105 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
5 Short Piano Pieces
Gorgious ...!!
these have awesome feelings ...!

thank you for sharing such joyfull
pieces here with us ...Peace !
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composerclark said 4105 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Thanks
Thank you, Feter. Both your words and your music express deep feeling.

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said 4105 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Envy
in the most gracious of ways is the one thought I can muster about this work of works with a dollop of "Im glad I stopped to listen"
composerclark said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks very much for your comment. I don't think there is anything to be envious of here, but I appreciate the flattery all the same!

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Warren Smith said 4105 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Sum thoughts
In arranging these five pieces, you choose to go with a "soft" opening (rather than, say, with the second piece, which would've been a harder-hitting start, if the two were switched). I'm not suggesting this would've been "better," just more expected ... and I'm curious how you weighed those options.

Not that it greatly matters.

One of the nice things I like about listening to music digitally is you can shuffle the order. By altering the progression you can examine context from different perspectives.

Similarly, I think it is interesting how fragments can be strung together to build a new whole, as you have done here. The five sections have distinctly different moods, yet the quintet feels like a unity - both in how it was written and how it was played. That magic doesn't happen until the pieces are put together - making, perhaps, a good metaphor for teamwork ... where the sum of the parts creates a greater whole.
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composerclark said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks for the great comment, Warren. You've got me thinking about the order again, and you're right; the effect is subtly different in this or any collection of works when you reorder them.

For reasons I've never been able to fathom, I don't actually write a lot of music that screams "Pay attention!" upon first listening, so I suppose I was just following past practice by putting the 'Waltz' first.

Thanks again, and Cheers!

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kristyjo said 4105 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
I like these pieces very much
and i can see my own kids (except Paul, who just got a big fat 'Beatles' book which he practices out of incessantly) enjoying playing these pieces.

This set flows together really nicely. In scope, it is right for the youngish student.

Nothing more to say, besides, 'I loved them.'
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composerclark said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Thanks
Wow! I'm really pleased you enjoyed them! Thanks for the comment.

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peacepiano said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Bravo
Well played and well written. I can see why the soloist liked them. A fine set of piano pieces. I thank you for sharing these.
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composerclark said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks very much! I am grateful that you were able to listen and leave a comment.

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ktb said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
what macca said
that was my 1st thought :-) gifted students. On a second listen I could sense the deliberate pacing and construction. Really exceptional what you've compiled here. Its lean and elegant and I could see your students digging in wholesale. Short and sweet. Bravo performance by Liana
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composerclark said 4104 days ago (July 1st, 2007)
Thanks
Ha! Well, as I said to Maca (Macca?), the first one is pretty simple to play, so simple even I can play it! The inventions are REALLY short, and I'm pretty sure an early stages piano student could play them with some practice (although RH/LH independence is a little tricky to learn in the early stages of piano study). The last two are a bit trickier, though.

In the full set -- these five come from a longer set of ten -- the difficulty level ramps up substantially for a couple (the last two), one of which is Hearing Footsteps(, the piece I just uploaded to MacJams a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, those are really thoughtful comments, and I really appreciate them.

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said 4104 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
The last note

I love it !
It brings a nice "not too serious classical music" wink .
The 5 pieces sound very good .

composerclark said 4104 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks, Henri, and welcome to MacJams! I am afraid that I am unfamiliar with your music, but I look forward to rectifying that situation now.

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Bowman said 4103 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
Seemingly effortlessly...
Bach inspired, lucid and expressive work. I could listen to this music for hours.
And I agree that ordering and arranging music is an art in itself and is in fact an aspect of composing. Something you do quite well Clark.
Best,
Charlie
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composerclark said 4103 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks Charlie. I guess by "Bach inspired" you might be referring to the two inventions? It's hard to imagine writing an invention without have some awareness of Back in your mind, since I would guess 99.9% of musicians who ever heard or played an invention started with Bach inventions. Unlike Bach, however, these are ridiculously short, but I was commissioned to write them by a music publishing company to put into piano repertoire books for students whe weren't quite ready to play Bach inventions, which is why they are short and relatively simple.

Anyway, thanks again for the comment, Charlie!

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Cameron said 4103 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
thoroughly enjoyable
Piece #1: Simple and elegant, with some pleasantly unexpected harmonies.

Piece #2: Reminiscent of Bach.

Piece #3: More technical and advanced.

Piece #4: Seems related to #2 and #3. In fact, all three of these pieces could be combined into one coherent, well-balanced whole.

Piece #5: Rather like Brahms in feel, especially with the bass-line.

Thoroughly enjoyable compositions and the performance was absolutely first-rate!
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composerclark said 4102 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks very much, Cameron. I am especially glad you appreciated the performance; Liana is an astoundingly good pianist, and I felt priveleged to entrust my music to her, which isn't always the case.

For me, the first one sounds kind of Frency, maybe a little Debussy harmony in there, maybe not, but it feels like early 20th-c. French music to me.

Thanks again!

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futzpucker said 4103 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
More beauty from Newfoundland
Liana did a wonderful, subtle, expressive job of bringing life to these pieces. Listening brought me to a slower, more centered place, which is an experience I could use several times every day. This collection will go on my iPod for me to enjoy and slow down to as needed.

Your talent covers a wide spectrum of music, Clark. What a great gift you've been given, and you've developed it to a point were we all get to enjoy it and learn from it. Thank you for sharing your music with us here.
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composerclark said 4102 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
Thanks
Profound thanks for such a nice comment, Patrick! I was a relative late-comer to classical music, and felt completely inadequate in the talent department for years, relative to the people I went to school with, so it is especially touching to receive your compliment.

For the same reason, I found it astounding that Liana, who had a doctorate in piano performance, had studied at Juilliard, and had been something of a child prodigy (played Schuman and other piano concertos with orchestras at the age of 9) actually liked these pieces. I don't get it.

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guitapick said 4102 days ago (July 3rd, 2007)
I enjoy...
...very much, clark.

These are really well written and performed. I love short works like this.

Bob

I think that the playing was beautiful and enchanting. I, being a piano player, am very, very jealous. I hope that someday i can get this good... well, hope these song become a hit!!!

Ava
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composerclark said 4102 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks very much, my palindromicly-named friends! This, I think, is a first; I don't think I ever received two comments in one before; very cool!

And thanks especially for complimenting the performance by Liana.

All the best!

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guitapick said 4101 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
Interesting...
...that you'd notice the palindromes. Your so smawt! One consonant based and one vowel. Unplanned...but cool.

Yep...please pass our compliments on to Liana.

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Ed Hannifin said 4101 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
These are really lovely, Clark...
Do you realize that I've spent a little time this afternoon listening and downloading at MacJams after a bit of a layoff, and everything I've downloaded so far has been marked 'classical'?

Funny thing, that...

I think you and Paul Page, in different ways, are re-educating my ears in this realm...Lovely, sweet and elegantly structured pieces...

Very spacious, graceful and natural recording... Oughta send this to Stereophile for that audiophile market...

Ed
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Ed Hannifin said 4101 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
Aaaannndd....
It downloads with a cute picture....

Ed
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composerclark said 4100 days ago (July 5th, 2007)
Thanks
You may want to cut back on your classical listening a bit. Side effects can include introducing clever enharmonic modulations into your own music,the use of augmented sixth chords that resolve not just to V, but to I as well (!), favouring double-chromatic mediant relationships over more traditional tonic-dominant ones, and making obnoxious song comments in which you admonish others for not modulating, or for not doing so cleverly enough, or for breaking the 'rule of 3' in suspensions.

The genres in which you curently specialize -- Disco (Unplugged), Trip Hop, and Fingerstyle Piano are fine, upstanding, and certifiably dope; be proud -- to the point of arrogance -- of these genres, for they are the Future, and classical music is the Past.

Only reason I write this stuff is because it's what the kids are demanding nowadays, and consequently it pays so well.

... I think I just got carried away... but thanks for the comment, Ed!

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thetiler said 4101 days ago (July 4th, 2007)
Very nice
pieces. My fav is the last one. Seems that they would work for classical guitar as well.
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composerclark said 4100 days ago (July 5th, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks, Bill. I really appreciate the comment. I never thought about arranging these for guitar, but you're right; I bet some would work pretty well on guitar. Now you've got me thinking about this...

Thanks again.

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cchaplin said 4100 days ago (July 5th, 2007)
In a long line of...
Short piano pieces at their best: beautifully simple. Ones to keep next to Schumann's 'Kinderszenen', Bartok's 'Microcosmos', and Prokofiev's 'Visions Fugitives'.
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composerclark said 4100 days ago (July 6th, 2007)
Thanks
Woah! I'm pretty sure I don't belong in such heady company, but many thanks for the compliment! Your comment has made me feel like I should keep writing these short pieces... Bartok wrote his Mikrokosmos throughout his life, so not only do we get a huge quantity of short-ish piano pieces to hear and play, but we get a collection that shows his evolving style as a composer.

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echoroom said 4098 days ago (July 7th, 2007)
Wonderful playing
Clark - these are really lovely pieces, which I've downloaded and for a few minutes at least will make my drive to work more enjoyable. The pieces segue into each other really well, and the playing is faultless.

Wat a gift - thank you!

Steve
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composerclark said 4097 days ago (July 9th, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks very much for the comment, Steve. I'm glad you were able to have a listen, and I touched that you enjoyed this. (For the record, people have always said I am "a bit touched," and now I am admitting it.)

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jiguma said 4098 days ago (July 7th, 2007)
:)
My daughter would have loved playing these as she moved through the grades when she was learning. Very nicely played by Liana. Recording in this context must be very difficult - much more so with a real piano with all it's acoustic challenges than with the audio-friendly digital variety.
Very pretty tunes Clark.
Neil
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composerclark said 4097 days ago (July 9th, 2007)
Thanks
That's an exceptionally cute child you've got on your knee there, Neil. You look like a very (and justifiably!) happy man. Is this the child of the daughter you mention in the comment?

Thanks so much for having a listen and leaving such a nice comment! Cheers.

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jiguma said 4096 days ago (July 10th, 2007)
only granddaughter
Yes Clark - my only daughter's only child .... and she's really not spoilt at all ;)
Neil

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paul f. page said 4098 days ago (July 7th, 2007)
One of...
...the comments you made back to (Ed H.) I think, suggested that Classical Music is becoming a thing of the past. I am pretty sure you were slyly kidding, since your erudite professor-like explanation of the intrigue of classical music is a clear indication of your dedication and continued fascination with the endless possibilities of, well, musical composition, period! [He said by ending with an exclamation point.]

And, then, to get to my point: these little piano numbers are really superb, Clark. As you know, I hate it when people say, "you music sounds like so and so...", but I just can't help giving you a little Shostakovian pat on the back. You've no doubt heard his 24 Preludes and Fugues. It only took a moment for me to recall them when listening to your little numbers. I mean that with high praise indeed, and encourage you to write and post more of these little gems. They are not simply kids' music. They are pieces that anyone can enjoy. ... And isn't it interesting that folks here are starting to sit up and listen to "us long hairs" who think form and style and substance are still pretty darn well suited to the language of music? ... I just loved these. ... and you are lucky to have Liana. Her interpretation, phrasing, etc. are wonderful.
Peace.
Paul
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composerclark said 4097 days ago (July 9th, 2007)
Thanks
(The site seemed to crash while I was writing my reply a few hours ago, so here is my second attempt:)

I was hoping you'd get a chance to have a listen, so thanks for doing so and leaving a comment.

To address your point about my reference to classical music as a thing of the past, yes, you are right; I was kidding; Ed (EJH) seems to bring out the silliness in me, and my comment about modulation was a reference to the fact that I have suggested he consider modulating in his own music (well, specifically in his most recent submission, I think it was).

Clearly, in a very broad sense, classical music is a thing of the past, in the sense that it mostly refers to music written before our time. But the fact that you and I, and thousands of others around the world, still write this stuff, and many others are still interested in hearing contemporary classical music, is a clear indication that, while steeped in tradition, it continues to live and evolve in our own time as well.

I am very pleased you liked them, and extremely appreciative of your comment. I am especially flattered and intrigued by your reference to Shostakovich, as he is one of my favorite composers, and someone who I think has been unfairly undervalued within academia. In my entire period as a music student (covering something like 16 years if you include my conservatory days), we were never once asked to analyze anything by him, although he was someone we learned about in history class, of course, but even then in a mostly superficial way. I became a huge fan of his while I was a student, after hearing the Toronto Symphony play his 10th symphony (the scherzo of which he later referred to as a "musical portrait of Stalin"), and this led me to listen extensively to his music, and to read about it as much as I could. But it's been a long time since I heard his preludes and fugues, so you've motivated me to go back for another listen--thanks for this!

And thanks as well for the compliments about Liana's playing. She was a colleague over ten years ago, but I have never forgotten how beautifully she played piano--Chopin, Bach, Ravel, Mozart, Rachmaninoff--you name it, she played it all incredibly well. She even used to let me play through Beethoven symphonies with her, with me hacking my part to bits while she would play her part flawlessly, as with everything else she played.

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said 4097 days ago (July 8th, 2007)
I'm telling you my story .. because this music rememberd me that ..
Very nice 5 sort pieces of piano ... i really enjoyed it.
This is great performance from you ..
One of my dreams is to play piano .. Mr. Saad HIKMAT is the most famous pianist teacher in Iraq .. i took some lessons from him .. after every lesson i was coming back home and CRY .. because i was found the reading the musical notes is hard thing .. so i left it .. and then came back to his student .. she's a girl .. also took some lessons from her (I'm talking after the war .. in 2006) .. she continued what SAAD had teach me .. so i was maybe in level B .. but after 4 or 5 lessons .. i told her stop teaching me at this level .. i didn't understand anything ..
The day goes and goes till i traveled to Syria .. and left the RHODES piano in Iraq .. and now the piano learning is one of my dreams ..
This is my story with the piano ..
This is the 1st song i've heard it for you .. really enjoyable and need to vote as 9-9-9-9 ..
Thanks for posting .. i'll try to hear more of yours ..

Regardz
==============
Yeman Auf Al-Rawi
composerclark said 4097 days ago (July 9th, 2007)
Thanks
Hi Yeman, thanks for telling me a bit about your experiences with learning the piano; very moving. I hope you get other opportunities to improve as a piano player, because you obviously are very passionate about it.

Regarding reading notes, it is a hard thing to learn for sure, but much MUCH easier than reading words in a language, or learning to speak a new language, both of which you have done very well. As with so much in life, it is a matter of sticking with it and not giving up until you have it learned even though it can be frustrating.

I learned most of what I know about music as an adult. I was working at various jobs (in a bus company, in a department store) and decided to take music lessons after work or on days off, never really dreaming it would take me where it did!

Thanks again for your comment.

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Enrique Gil said 4092 days ago (July 14th, 2007)
To me these are amongst the best...
of your compositions. Simple but lovely. I love a melody and I like what I hear. Nice variations. Wonderful!
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composerclark said 4088 days ago (July 18th, 2007)
Thanks
Thanks very much for you comment, Enrique; I'm very pleased that you liked these little pieces. I'm not sure what you meant by variations, though? Not that it matters much- just curious. In any event, thanks very much for having a listent and leaving a comment!

---
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VicDiesel said 4090 days ago (July 16th, 2007)
Cool stuff
I think I would have enjoyed my piano lessons more if I'd had pieces like this to play. They are not trivial, both for hearing and for listening, but not too hard either. They sound quite playable, and it should be easy for an amateur to get a good sounding result out of them.

Let's see if I can count to five.
1/ In 3/4 time. Utterly charming.
2/ a two-part invention. Sorta.
3/ a not-quite-two-part piece. Melody and bass, with sometimes some notes in between? Darker in character
4/ Definitely two-part. The theme is a bit much like #2. I had to rewind to convince myself that 2,3,4 was not an ABA structure.
5/ The biggest sounding of the lot. Also the longest? This is the one that sounds like it has more large scale structure to it, although that's deceptive: you sound like you start a new section, and then it's over.

Plink plink.

Very subtle performance, btw.

Victor.

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composerclark said 4088 days ago (July 18th, 2007)
thanks
Thanks, Vic. I really appreciate your leaving such a detailed comment! You have pointed out something of which I was previously unaware, the fact that #2 and #4 sound like they could be related... In the larger collection of ten pieces they are space further apart from one another, and the sense of connectedness is therefore less easy to hear, but you're right; you can definitely hear some kind of connection here.

#3 is definitely just a 2-part inventione-type piece; if you're interested, here is a link to the score:

11 Short Piano Pieces.

The five that I picked for this particular MacJams submission are: 1, 3, 4, 7, 6. I think.

Thanks very much.

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magnatone said 3850 days ago (March 11th, 2008)
GREAT!
as a pianist myself, let it be said that I shamelessly prefer the piano to all other instruments! These wonderful short pieces are kind of Mozart-esque, or wait, maybe Chopin-esque (I'm still listening while I'm writing). I admire the complexity w/in these so called "simple" pieces. (I never write piano music that's this hard to play!) I appreciate your piano musicianship here, and I'm now off to listen to some more of you. From one pianist to another - bravo! Thanks
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composerclark said 3848 days ago (March 14th, 2008)
Thanks
One of the thrills of the MacJams experience for me is to discover a new comment on a composition that had been lying dormant for a long time, like half a year or longer sometimes. Thanks for giving me this thrill!

I'm very pleased that you liked these pieces. Having listened to a couple of your submissions, I am all the more flattered by your comments, because your are a very talented musician. I'll stick to my story that these are mostly at an easy or intermediate level... I am primarily a guitarist, not a pianist, but I can play the first three fairly easily, and the last two I'd need to work at a bit, but I think I could play them too. The complete set of 11 pieces from which these five are drawn includes some much more challenging works, a couple of which are (I think) posted here at MJ's as independent submissions... "Julia's Prelude" is one, and "Hearing Footsteps (dream)" is another. "Last Dance" is my most ambitious solo piano work posted here... it's very hard to play! Naturally, I don't actually play any of these pieces on the recordings; I leave that to people who know what they're doing!

Thanks again for the visit.
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said 3841 days ago (March 20th, 2008)
5 Short Piano Pieces
Moments of loveliness... Bach-like, with modernisms and cross relations. But I also hear echoes of that gaggle of mid-20thC British composers too(Finzi, Ireland and so on).
composerclark said 3839 days ago (March 22nd, 2008)
thanks
Thanks very much for having a listen and leaving a comment! I must confess that I do not associate Bach-like qualities with this music, except I guess in the sense that there are a couple of inventions here and he wrote inventions too... But who cares! You are wonderful to leave a comment, and thanks!
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chipan said 3819 days ago (April 12th, 2008)
Compelling little pieces
I enjoyed these very much. I also appreciate the fact that even though you are a modern university composition teacher you haven't thrown tonality out the window. It seemed to me that during college everyone was avoiding (or hiding from) it in order to be "modern" or "avant-garde" (even though they started writing atonal music 100 years ago- which hardly makes it modern).

Lovely works here!

chip
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composerclark said 3818 days ago (April 12th, 2008)
Thanks
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I may have said something like this in my comments above, but for a long time, early in my career, I'd write stuff like this and hide it, for fear of being branded an old-fashioned reactionary by other composers :-)

Not that one should really care what other composers thing of one's work of course, and now that doesn't concern me. Much...

Very glad you enjoyed these!
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gregd said 3809 days ago (April 21st, 2008)
I like your style . . .
after listening to McGillicuddy's Rant and this one, I really enjoy the image of musicians coming to you, asking for material to perform, and then you assembling a wonderful piece of music from various scores that paper the walls and carpet the floor of your office. This is wonderful music and you have quite a cadre of talented musicians about you who can play, my goodness.

-g
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composerclark said 3809 days ago (April 22nd, 2008)
Thanks
Huge thanks for your comment, Greg! Really glad you enjoyed it.
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said 3806 days ago (April 24th, 2008)
Wonderful
Wow !!!!! Composerclark you have definately got the correct title.
You sound equisite.
Peace Dee x
867-5309 said 3032 days ago (June 7th, 2010)
Thee Czar
Thee song Czar awl just GRReat -
This display of awe-then-tick Awe Dio Dye
Verse City . . . scott
Check out my latest song called Taking Care Of Business
Artist Info
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Name: Composition Blog
Location: St. John's Newfoundland Canada
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I've been teaching music composition and music theory at an east-coast university for 23 years, where I have also taught classical guitar and electronic music. I've been writing music for about 38 years, and still haven't figured out what I'm doing,... [see more]

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