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Large Ensemble

Forgotten Faces (2022) Grade 5 Concert Band, Fixed Media, and Visuals 18'

Score and parts can be purchased at Murphy Music Press. Individual movements can be purchased.

The inspiration for this work derived from the theory that the human brain can only

create people in dreams the person has already seen. This information fueled my thought process

of the people a dreamer encounters. Many dreams include people who the dreamer does not

know, and at times the unknown person contributes a large role to the overall dream. The notion

of developing these unknown characters led to my decision to create four movements that tell

four unique stories.

Aural indicators in the music produce a certain image of a character, but in order to

further guide the audience, I have included a secondary title for each movement. I crafted each

title to provide a small aspect of the character’s gender, or absence of gender, followed by a

description of a piece of attire or a place. For instance, in “Space Bound (The People In

Astronaut Suits),” the number of people, along with their height, weight, age, ethnicity, gender,

etc. are all determined in the mind of the listener.

The fixed media in each movement focuses on one or more subgenres of EDM.

Movement I has elements of Dubstep and Future Riddim/Melodic Riddim. Movement II is a

combination of Funk music and Dubstep called Funkstep. Movement III pays homage to

Dubstep and Future Riddim/Melodic Riddim, and Movement IV is loosely derived from the

genre of Mid Tempo Bass.

Movement I: Let Me Tell You A Story (The Children In Their Beds)

The theory of dreams states that while the human brain cannot imagine new faces, it can

realistically create non-human images. This idea is explored as non-human characters are

developed through text portrayed by voice actor and operatic tenor Wesley Frye. The movement

overall mimics a parent reading to a child and acting out a story. I commissioned and

collaborated on the text with author Sarah Eral. The storyline occurs in the mythical land of

Aeribeth where dragons reign over cities. The main character, Blue, is a dragon without an item

to hoard. With the help of the Ambassador of Aeribeth, they travel to three other towns to

discover the items the other dragons hoard. All the dragons have easily identifiable sounds for

their hoard. The first dragon, Purple, hoards gems and gold, which is conveyed by the jingling of

coins. The second dragon, Green, hoards food and is aurally represented by medieval kitchen

sounds such as the bubbling of a caldron. The third dragon, Red, enjoys weapons of destruction,

and their hoard is represented by the sounds of swords and axes hitting an object. After

experiencing the hoards of the other dragons, Blue decides they enjoy knowledge and stories.

This is conveyed through the sounds of flipping pages and slamming of books. The first three

dragons chorus sections are all written in the Dubstep genre but Blue’s chorus section differs and

is written in the Future Riddim/Melodic Riddim style. Text by Sarah Eral and Logan Larson.

Movement II: That’s One Powerful Woman (The Lady In Heels)

Funkstep, the combination of Funk and Dubstep, is the inspiration for Movement II. For

this movement, the samples of heels clacking, Dubstep drum rhythms, shredding guitar lines, and

funk inspired synth pads are heard. The heels sample is the underlying beat for the entire

movement. The consistent heels convey that the powerful woman alluded to will never stop

because she does not have any weaknesses.

Movement III: Space Bound (The People In Astronaut Suits)

This movement pays homage to the genre of Dubstep and Future Riddim/Melodic

Riddim. This piece aurally represents the beauty, calmness, and wonder of space mixed with the

terrifying, powerful, and destructive nature of the universe.

Movement IV: Hazmatic Hyperdrive (The Man In A Hard Hat)

The Mid Tempo Bass genre is explored in the fourth movement. The formal structure of

the movement mimics an EDM DJ set where high musical tension is maintained for a majority of

the work. This musical intensity is meant to overwhelm the audience and resembles the loud

noises of a construction site. The harmonic structure of the piece is largely inspired by Laurie

Anderson’s “O Superman” where she uses two chords for the entirety of the work. This backand-

forth chordal structure informed the two-note pitch material heard in the fixed media for

large sections of this movement.

Beats From The Dead (2018) Wind Ensemble and Talkbox Solo, 11'

The inspiration for this piece came from seeing a friend develop vocal nodes and whose dream of being a classical singer was taken away from them. Being a vocalist myself, I thought about losing my own voice, and knew I would give anything to be able to have the ability to sing again. The talkbox allows anyone that can move his or her mouth to have the sensation of singing once again or for the first time. This piece takes inspiration from the EDM subgenre of Dubstep and manipulates the talkbox to synthesize timbres similar to ones found in Dubstep.

The text is a collage of portions from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. I chose the segments of text that accumulated a story of what it would be like for a person to believe that they would never make the music they wanted to again, and the radiance they would feel to have the opportunity to create music once more. Thinking that your musical life is dead and having it revived is exactly what “Beats From The Dead” encompasses.

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