Program Notes:

 

The Character Suite was written from 1996-99 to honor friends of mine, three composers, two

regular people.  In each movement I began with a specific musical connection between myself

and the friend in question.  From there I tried to write something that evoked the spirit of these 

dear ones while at the same time putting a little of myself into each piece.  The end result, I hope,

is a kind of collaboration celebrating our friendships.

 

The first movement, Carlton, is after my old teacher and good friend, James Mobberley.

Interweaved with my ideas are hazy rememberances of the music of Jim, occasionally becoming

direct quotes. More often gestures common in his music are emulated.

 

M. Ray is my buddy Mike McFerron.  He is another composer who studied with Jim Mobberley.

In our studio Mike was famous (notorious) for his use of octaves.  Again, I borrow (steal) ideas 

from Mike, but this acts as a spring board to bring in some famous repertoire.  These references 

share a rather bombastic, and kind of romantic piano style that I find in Mike's music.

 

Elizabeth is a short, sentimental piece after my friend of the same name.  The piece is spun out

from the opening three notes, EAH ('H' is B natural in German) which are her initials.  

 

Ninni is the nickname for my friend Helena.  I met her while studying in England in the fall of

1994, where we were housemates.  Helena is from Sweden, and the musical connection here

is a Swedish children's song that she taught me, Lilla Snigel (Little Snail).  The piece is a set of 

variations on this  tune, the song itself given at the end.

 

The final piece in the set, STEWART, is for Shawn McClain, another composer friend.  For

STEWART, I have tried to give folks the flavor of Shawn's music: exciting, repetitive, and the

occasional long chromatic scale.  Only one real quote in this--the final gesture!