That is the Magic (2005) for SATB chorus and piano.
The text of this piece is from Frances Hodgson Burnett's inspiring story The Secret Garden
Love Awakes Us (2005), a cantata for soprano, tenor, chorus, organ, piano, flute, viola, horn and percussion
This lyrical 4-movement chamber cantata is based on poems by James Agee and explores themes of earthly and divine love, ranging from cynicism to blissful transcendence. Commissioned by the TVUU Church Performing Arts & Lecture Series and premiered by Kevin Anderson, tenor, Jami Rogers, soprano, and the Harmonia Vocal Quartet.
I. Love Sees (audio)
III. Now I Lay Me Down Beside (audio)
IV. The Rendezvous
The Lord is My Shepherd (2004) for SATB chorus and piano
Magnificat/Nunc Dimittis (2004) for SATB chorus and organ
Text is in English and setting is suitable for Episcopalian liturgical use.
Brother and Sister (2003) for SATB chorus and piano [c. 5 min.]
Text by Lewis Carroll
This piece is tonal and plays up the dramatic element of Carroll's charmingly twisted little poem.
Bells of Gray Crystal (2001) for SATB chorus [3 min.]
Text by Edith Sitwell
When Cold December (2000), a carol for SATB chorus and harp [3 min.]
Text by Edith Sitwell
Motets & Marginalia or "Li tans vient qu'amer covient" (The Time for Love Must Come) (1999)
for Soprano, Baritone, SAB chamber chorus and chamber orchestra [c. 25 min.]
This large-scale cantata was inspired by the graphic layout of medieval manuscripts
in which centered texts are surrounded by often bizarre marginalia.
Check out some facsimiles of 13th & 14th c. manuscripts at the Bodleian Library.
View a few excerpts from the score.
Audio: Excerpt (Beginning, "Marian Motet)
Audio: Excerpt (Motet in the Margins-"Marotele Defends Her Honor")
(Susan Klebanow, conductor, Barbara Ann Peters, soprano)
Swallowed Words: Three Medieval Riddles (1997) for solo SATB or men's chorus [c. 10-11 min.]
Tracks (1995) for mixed chorus [c. 9 min.]
Text by Tomas Tranströmer
Text of Excerpt: As when someone has gone into a dream so deep
he'll never remember having been there
when he comes back to his room.
As when someone has gone into an illness so deep
everything his days were becomes a few flickering points of light, a swarm,
cold and tiny at the horizon.
Jag Lyssnar till Vinden (1994) for soprano and alto flute [c. 4 min.]
Text by Pär Lagerkvist
Distances (1992/02) for Women's Chorus [9 min.]
Words and music by the composer
I. Winter Travelers, II. The Farewell, III. Sea Voyage
Audio: II. The Farewell
Magnificent Honesty of Space (1992) for mixed chorus [c. 12 min.]
Texts by e.e. cummings
I. now air is air, II. dominic has a doll, III. o by the by
Audio Excerpt: II. dominic has a doll
Audio Excerpt: III. o by the by
ORCHESTRAL/BAND:Off-Trail in t he Smokies (2009) for orchestra and narrator
Commissioned by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and premiered June 13 in Cades Cove, Smoky Mountains National Park. Texts by Jenny Bennett.
Preview Page w/Audio
Jenny Bennett's blog about the premier.
Organum Infinitum (2004) for orchestra [c. 14 min.]
This piece is based on the well-known 12th-century organum quadruplum
by Perotin, Omnes Viderunt. The style of this medieval vocal work consists of a chant
melody sung in long sustained notes with four other voices dancing rhythmically
above. The upper four voices all sound within the same register so that many "ringing"
dissonances occur. I've always felt that this striking texture easily evokes the contemplation of the infinite. The effect is similar to gazing up at the dizzying vaults of a
medieval cathedral and one of my goals in this orchestral piece
is to capture the awesome sense of verticality of gothic architecture. Inspired by the fact that Perotin composed the first known examples of four-part
writing in western European music, I imagined an orchestral organum in which the
process of adding voices could be taken further. Various elements of Omnes Viderunt
appear in my work and, throughout the piece, there are many
symmetries that reflect the theme of infinity.
Wrestling with the Angel (1994) for orchestra [c. 12 min.]
Ceremonial Music for Concert Band (1992) [c. 10 min.]
I. Meditation, II. Festival Dance, III. Chaconne
MISERERE ET GUERRE (2006) I composed an electro-acoustic soundtrack for this 11-minute animated film that incorporates images from Georges Rouault's expressionist print series Miserere (1913-1927). David Hellams and Kevin McCoy, media artists, Katherine Lehman, violin
SOUNDS OF THE LABYRINTH (2006) was an interdisciplinary program that I organized for PALS that surveyed the history of labyrinths in music, dance and visual media, and featured a lecture by art historian Daniel Connolly and performances by Circle Modern Dance, Harmonia Vocal Quartet, soprano Lori Smithey and other talented Knoxville musicians. The musical program included my Dans le Labyrinthe de Marais and Victime Paschali Laudes. (See above.) Other musical labyrinths on the program included the "Gloria" from Josquin Desprez's L'homme arm� mass, an aria from G.F. Handel's Arianna in Creta, J.S. Bach's Eine kleine harmonische Labyrinth, Marin Marais' Le Labyrinthe and Donna Kelly Eastman's Virginia Labyrinth. The Marais piece was choreographed by Angela Hill and accompanied by a media piece by Martha Shepp. Performances during this event were presented on a canvas floor labyrinth.
ART MOVES (2005), University of Tennessee Dance Company, Angela Hill, choreographer. This show was our second onsite dance production at the Knoxville Museum of Art. This event premiered in 2003 (see below). In 2005 we added the following elements: an interactive sculpture that allowed audience members to control sound using motion sensors, poetry read by Reah Sunshine, and a "gallery walk" in which audience members strolled through an exhibit while improvising dancers and musicians interpreted works of art. Dance works were based on paintings from the KMA permanent collection and the Knoxville-born artist Beauford Delaney exhibit. The Knoxville Metropulse hailed the production as "Brilliant, progressive and wholly eventive." Click here to read entire review.
Delaney Self-Portraits: Amazing Grace (audio)
New York Street Scenes (audio)
Abstract Visions (audio)
ART MOVES (2003), University of Tennessee Dance Company, Angela Hill, choreographer. This show was an onsite dance production at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Each of the dance works is based on a painting or sculpture on display at the museum. Music is scored for various combinations of flute, alto saxophone, cello & percussion.
Audio Excerpt: The Speechless Sky
Audio Excerpt: Moses and the Serpent
Audio Excerpt: Zolder
LOOKING FORWARD (2000), MIDI composition for eight dancers [c. 15 min.]
Barbara Dickinson, choreographer
LAYERS (2000) for solo cello and three dancers [8 min.]
Barbara Dickinson, choreographer
CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE (1999), a Ways and Means Dance Co. production dealing with Western
and African American cultures and issues surrounding racism & bias.
Music co-composed with African drummer Beverly Botsford.
Contents Under Pressure was reviewed in the Raleigh News & Observer.
Audio Excerpt: Ensemble Dance
WALKING MIRACLES (1997), a dance/theater production dealing with issues of childhood sexual abuse.
For more info, see my Bio. Walking Miracles received favorable reviews.
A film version of this show by The Groove Productions won an Honorable Mention at the 48th Annual Columbus International Film and Video Festival and is available to purchase on DVD at the Sidran Institute website.
Audio Excerpt: Opening Theme
Unless otherwise noted, James Carlson's works are published by Alembick Music (ASCAP).
For scores, parts, recordings and more information about any of these works contact the composer at the e-mail address below.
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