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Hindemithiana, Op. 99 (2018)

For Ocarina and Piano

Live Performance:

Jordan Moore, ocarinas; Evan Ritter, piano

Duration: 14'

  1. I. Deconstruction - ...the mists of reality.../Reconstruction: Thema con variazioni
  2. II. Trauermarsch - Marsch - Apotheosis

Instrumentation:

  • Takashi Triple Alto C ocarina/Harmony Triple Alto C ocarina/Soprano C ocarina/Contrabass C ocarina
  • Piano

Program Notes:

During my last year at Eastman, I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Jordan Moore in the Rentet, a crumhorn/recorder/ocarina quartet. (This ensemble was founded in roughly the following way: "Hey, Jordan, turns out the Instrument Office has crumhorns. Want to form a crumhorn ensemble?" "Sure! I'll round up some people.") However, Jordan is also separately YouTube famous for his multitrack arrangements, and in particular for his virtuosic ocarina playing.

He approached me last year and asked if I would consider writing him an ocarina sonata - to which I quickly agreed! I realized fairly quickly that I wanted to write a sonata in the style of Hindemith. Hindemith was a prolific composer of instrumental music, including sonatas for all the orchestral instruments. However, he had not written a sonata for ocarina. Fairly quickly after this realization, I had another realization that I didn't really have any idea how to write in the style of Hindemith. Fortunately, Hindemith himself wrote a three -volume series entitled "The Craft of Musical Composition", the first two volumes of which are translated to English. (If anyone out there is interested in translating the third volume, please get in touch!)

Although I certainly didn't take in anywhere close to everything Hindemith's books have to offer, what lies before you is my current syntehsis of Hindemithian principles: a consideration of all twelve pitches relating back to the tonic (versus an artificial distinction between major and minor) and a focus on counterpoint and the interaction of line. This certainly came through in the compositional process (a lot more time spent on planning and craft versus instinct) and in the tightly-knit final product.