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"Bard is a profoundly well made piece of music with a classical soul,"  - Carla Van Dyk - WDVR

While at Amherst College, I was (reluctantly) granted one of two positions as an "Independent Scholar."   Since creative work was not considered "scholarship," I did a considerable amount of tap-dancing so that I could be free to pursue both "Classical" composition along with my songwriting.  Bard was composed completely as MIDI tracks, involving hours of detailed editing to accomplish what expression was possible with MIDI.  It remains a dream of mine to see the finished score of what are essentially song format pieces for various orchestral instruments actually performed and recorded with real instruments. 

I am grateful if not a little envious that the technology is now within reach of most anyone to use computers to create and have immediate feedback of their work.  Perhaps I could have gotten beyond Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, et. al., a little earlier in my student days if I could have heard what I was writing then. As influences for this particular work, I should mention Copeland, Bernstein, Britten, and even a little Steve Reich.  Mentors in spirit, if not in person.

painting: Kerstin Zettmar

"Eurydice's Farewell" refers to the Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, where the minstrel commits the fatal error of turning back to look for her following him out of Hades and thus loses her forever. This track exemplifies the problem in working with MIDI instruments, where the sampling of the solo violin renders a natural, human feel impossible.

This tune was rejected by a music library because the opening section is so strident -- my attempt to add the expressiveness that Eurydice's anguish must be about and  that an orchestra and solo violinist would have no difficulty with in the real world. The main theme introduced by the violin in the following section hardly sounds like a violin at all. The melody itself is loosely (very loosely, and unconsciously at the time) based on a folk tune used by Ralph Vaugh Williams, which I reworked into 3/4 time. It's always possible to mix recorded instruments (live) with MIDI tracks, and is most effective with percussion in my opinion, but I elected to keep Bard all of a piece. As I say, I would love the opportunity to see the score performed with an actual orchestra.

"Us and Them" and "I'll Remember You" are both oddities for me in that they were composed first as you hear them here, and then later had lyrics added to them.  "Us and Them" as a song recorded live appears on Magical Thinking with its lyrics.

Mastered at Dream Edit by Frank Gardner.

Music and performances 2016 JP Jones. Publishing   2016 Vision Company Records. All Rights reserved.