Have an Orange, an Elephant Fruit (2009)
Have an Orange, an Elephant Fruit feels to me like an "opus 1" in retrospect. It was the first piece for which I felt fully satisfied that I'd expressed the obscure ideas in my mind into sound.
It was originally scored for Bass Clarinet, Contrabasson,Cello, Bass, Drums and Voice for performance by The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles in 2009, as heard in the above recording of the premiere. The text was written by the composer and contains fragments and mondegreens (mishearings) of famous lyrics and phrases. Much of the mood was influenced by surrealist art. Most of the music is comprised of transfigurations of a few textures using the Medieval compositional technique, hocket.
I recall that at the time my composer-friends and I were having fun planning new pieces by cross-synthesis a composer's style with that of a pop band/artist. This was done knowing all along that such a task was impossible and would inevitably create something unique, separate from the influences. Have an Orange, an Elephant Fruit was originally conceived as a cross between Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and the brash but catchy Indie-Pop band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. My music diverged almost immediately, though there is some residual Louis left over, for the most part this cross-synthesis experiment is inaudible. The same seemed to be the case for my friends. It's interesting to note though, that what I consider to be one of the first pieces I composed that reflects my individual voice was begun by trying to emulate the voices of others. It recalls that old adage about composers borrowing and stealing...