Tonight begins the third annual Shake It Up Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. Run by Composer/Saxophonist Mark Engebretson of UNC-Greensboro, the festival includes three lectures, three pre-concert talks and three concerts.

My Appendage, from 1993, will conclude the final concert on Saturday night.

Appendage is one of my most intense works – I’ve sometimes billed it as “a Psychosexual Song Cycle in Six Consecutive Sections.” The form is interesting: the first five songs gradually accrue motives and text fragments, which finally coalesce into the Last lullabye that concludes the piece. Some people consider it my best work; I think of it as one of the better examples so far of a particular kind of work I do, pieces in which the text is composed as just one of the elements of the music, on equal footing with rhythm, timbre, harmony and melody.

Appendage (1993)

  1. Appendage
  2. tes yeux
  3. warm eyes
  4. Appendage
  5. Recognition
  6. Last lullabye

If you are interested, you can hear it here.

Because of its length (33 minutes) and scoring (soprano, vn, vla, vc, cl, sax, pno) Appendage is hard to program, so I’m particularly appreciative of Mark’s efforts in putting together the forces that will play the piece on Saturday night.

The festival’s focus this year is on composers residing in North and South Carolina. As might be expected from any regional collection of composers, the result is a real mixed bag of styles and artistic interests. Other composers we’ll be hearing: Ben Johnston, Karel Husa, Michael Rothkopf, Scott Lindroth, Reginald Bain, James Paul Sain, John Fitz Rogers, Stephen Anderson, Mark Engebretson, Edward Jacobs, Allen Anderson, John Allemeier, Adam Josephson.

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