Performer Blogs@Sequenza21.com

Jay C. Batzner is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida where he teaches theory, composition, and technology courses as well as coordinates the composition program. He holds degrees in composition and/or theory from the University of Missouri Kansas City, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kansas.

Jay's music is primarily focused around instrumental chamber works as well as electroacoustic composition. His music has been recorded on the Capstone, Vox Novus, and Beauport Classical labels and is published by Unsafe Bull Music.

Jay is a sci-fi geek, an amateur banjoist, a home brewer, and juggler.





1/29/2006
Grass Roots

This is the kind of thing I like. After my posting on choral music, I received a package from Mark Winges. I don't know Mark, never met him, but he sent me 2 CDs of choral music. Both discs are of the San Francisco group Volti (the first CD is before they got their fancy name) and 1 disc is exclusively Mark's music. He hoped that the music would be an "antidote" to some of my feelings towards choral music.

I have to say, I'm impressed. Both at the gesture and the music. Volti is a great sounding group and Mark's music is rather striking. When I saw that the first piece on a disc was for a children's choir, I must admit that I cringed. It turned out to be one of the coolest tracks on the disc. Mark is the resident composer for Volti and his music is quite good. It certainly falls on the "hit" side of the "hit or miss" spectrum. I have deemed both CDs "iPod Worthy." Volti now joins the ranks of Carter, Lutoslawski, Ligeti, and Journey. And Cake. You should check out Volti and Mark's music. Whether you like choral stuff or not.

Both discs have some very adventurous pieces on them and they made me think that writing a choral piece wouldn't be SO bad after all...

I do write some vocal music. Heck, I did have an opera composition fellowship at one point, so you'd expect me to be SOMEWHAT interested in vocal music. Which brings me to my next point. I love the poetry of Bill Knott. I contacted him about setting some of his work and he responded with sending me about 10 "vanity books," or collections of his poetry that are unpublished and self-distributed. Amazing stuff. AMAZING stuff. So I sent him an e-mail asking him for permission to write a song cycle with about 7 of his poems. He responded by giving me carte blanche to do whatever I want with any of his poems. So cool. I have even picked one out for a choral setting. I was surprised, since I found this interview many months back. Of interest is the spot where he says that he hates music.

So, let's see. This week I might make some disparaging comments about...oh...string quartets. Maybe someone out there will take issue with that and send me some Arditti or FLUX recordings. That would be cool.