Judd Danby
About Time Music

Photo: Mara Battiste

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Updated 03.20.11

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Updated 07.15.11

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Concert Works      Updated 09.14.14
 
Chamber

Three Pieces After Kandinsky (in preparation)    violin and piano       SCORE   |   AUDIO

Nocturne in E minor ("After Midnight") (2011)    for string quartet       SCORE & PARTS   |   AUDIO (MIDI)

ca. 11:00
dedicated to the memory of Steve Larson (1955-2011)

In late 2010 I was studying the recently published Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach by the music theorist and jazz pianist Steve Larson, a deep analysis of the jazz pianist-composer Thelonious Monk's most famous composition, ’Round Midnight, and of five recorded performances of it by Monk himself, Bill Evans, and Oscar Peterson. Comparing and contrasting approaches taken to the tune by these three artists, Larson leads us down a pathway to experience improvised jazz performances as just the sorts of rich, multi-layered musical works that through-composed works can be.

At about the same time, I was immersing myself in the complete Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, of George Friedrich Händel and a marvelous and just-released recording of them by the Avison Ensemble. I was especially moved by several of the slow movements, which feature lovely contrapuntal writing.

Then, on one particular after-midnight among a stretch of after-midnights that had been plagued by bad dreams and terrifying waking thoughts — the first spark of the piece came to me. Musical ideas drawing from the Handel concerti and Monk's tune were strangely interwoven with memories of the nightmares that woke me. I roused myself, sat up, and began sketching extensions of those ideas. The compositional process was one of the quickest of any concert work I've ever composed. Sparked by the violent rousing from sleep in the deep hours of the night, the musical ideas flowed out, with me merely as the conduit, in that kind of moment-less moment in which one loses oneself. Creating was the perfect antidote to the nightmares, and the work was shaped within a week or two.

Below are the important melodic motives in Monk's ’Round Midnight (the original tune is in E-flat minor) that permeate this piece. They are subjected to all manner of melodic and rhythmic/metrical development, recognizable on the surface and hidden underneath.

The piece captures something of the turbulent convergence of terror and joy, fear and playfulness, confusion and clear-mindedness that those troubled after-midnights held for me. It has a deliberate halting quality, mirroring the disturbing flashes and clashes of dreams, thoughts, and feelings during those strange moments after midnight. Troubled, sighing passages — drawing from Monk’s second motive above — interrupt the musical flow, quiet yet disquieting. Moments of humor, hopefulness, and even triumph emerge, but ultimately give way to resignation at the work’s end.

I dedicate this work to the memory of Steve Larson, whose untimely death in 2011 took from us a deep and original musical thinker. I only spent time with Steve for one week at a music theory pedagogy workshop in 2007. We had a few after-hours four-hand jazz piano sessions, and they were a blast! He also generously shared several fine bottles of his favorite wine — pinot noirs of Oregon — which he shipped ahead to himself so that he and a few of us could enjoy them with a fine sushi meal. Our awareness of the counterpoint between the food and wine at that meal mirrored the kinds of musical thinking we shared that week and the ideas which so richly imbued all of Steve’s work. He authored many significant writings on the human experience of tonal music, and his fine work has profoundly influenced the way I think about and teach music and music theory.  The musical community misses his rich contributions. 

 

Latticework (2002)    fl, clar/bass clar, vln, vlc, pno, perc       SCORE   |   AUDIO

ca. 15:00


The Piano's Stuck (1995)    for solo piano       SCORE   |   AUDIO
ca. 12:00

Performances:

11.20.1998, Society of Composers, Inc., Region I Conference, Connecticut College, New London, CT
Marilyn Nonken

01.25.2001, Wabash College Visiting Artists Series, Crawfordsville, IN
Marilyn Nonken

03.21.2010, Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society, Lafayette, IN
Miho Sasaki


String Quartet (1992)       SCORE (excerpt)   |   AUDIO
ca. 25:00

Performance:
11.02.1993, WILL-FM 90.9 Second Sunday Concerts, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
Dorothy Martirano and Christina Buciu, violins; Philip Schalow, viola; Barbara Hedlund, violoncello
 

Mirrors (1991)    for percussion quartet       PUBLISHER   |   AUDIO
ca. 15:00

Performances:

04.26.1991, Smith Music Hall, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Scot Corey, JoAnn McConnell, Jason Johnson, Richard Walker, percussion; Thomas Siwe, conductor

11.05.1993, Midwest Composers Symposium, Clapp Recital Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Lee Ferguson, Jerry Carpenter, Tony Oliver, Jake Romig, percussion; David Gomper, conductor

11.1999, Auer Hall, Indiana Univeristy, Bloomington, IN

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Occasional
Jefferson Fanfare (2011)    Brass (3 tpt  4 hn  3 tbn  euph  tuba) timpani  perc    SCORE  |  AUDIO (MIDI)  |  AUDIO
3:00
On the occasion of the 100th commencement exercises at Jefferson High School, Lafayette, Indiana, June 5, 2011

Performed by members of the Jefferson High School Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band

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Orchestral
 
Time Frames (in preparation)    3.3.3.3  4.3.3.2   5 perc   hp  pno   strings       SCORE   |   AUDIO
for the Boston Symphony Orchestra
ca. 25:00

Regions (1997)    3.2.3.2  4.2.3.1   5 perc   hp  pno   strings       SCORE   |   AUDIO
32:00

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Vocal

Songs of Parting (in preparation)  baritone, fl, ob/E Hn, cl/bass cl, bsn, 2 vlns, vla, vlc, pno     SCORE   |   AUDIO
in memoriam Paul Martin Zonn

Fragments (1990)    mezzo soprano and piano       SCORE   |   AUDIO
ca. 15:00

Performance:
11.02.1993, WILL-FM 90.9 Second Sunday Concerts, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
Julianne Cross, soprano; Paul Marquardt, piano

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Electroacoustic

Twelve Can Play That Game (1993)    2 channels       AUDIO
for Milton Babbitt on his 77th birthday
ca. 9:30

Presentations:
11.09.1994: 10th Anniversary Concert, The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

01.31.1995: EMTHREE, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

02.14.1996: University of Texas, Austin, TX

04.16.1998: Society of Composers, Inc., National Conference, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
 

Till We Intersect Again (1992)    2 channels       AUDIO
ca. 10:00

Presentations:

11.19.1992: +493 Hear & Now, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

03.23.1994: The Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Merkin Concert Hall, New York, NY

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