Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today I present my original composition, CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA.  I completed this piece in 1999 and scored it for chorus, organ, bells, and string orchestra.  Below is a screenshot of the vocal part from the autograph score:


Imagine being in a great cathedral; a choir of hundreds surrounds.  Before you, a vast string ensemble plays a pulsing ostinato while, halfway through the performance, you suddenly hear the thundering sound of a pipe organ.  Counter to the voices, you hear high above you the cathedral’s bells ring out in grand exaltation!  CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA should be played at a high volume, for in reality this would be LOUD.

You, dear listeners, may provide your own text to the music.  Think the words that best reflect your hopes and dreams for yourselves, those you love, and the world at large.  May your wishes come true, may you be productive, and may you enjoy good health and good fortune in the precious time you have before you.  Merry Christmas!

CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA, Copyright©1999 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today I present my original composition, THE FIRST CHRISTMAS.  I completed this song in 2002 and scored it for voice and piano.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


For a short time, I worked at a K-3 school.  While there, I composed several pieces inspired by children--their light minds and happy hearts, unburdened by the weighty concerns of accumulated years.

This is my setting of a poem my father wrote at the age of thirteen.  In this render of our song, I use an oboe in place of the voice.

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS, Copyright©2002 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Today I present my original composition, EVERGREEN.  I completed this song in 1992 and scored it for voice and piano.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:



Another of my Christmas carols, I wrote this song for a neighbor’s Christmas party.  He, a pianist, and a singer friend of his had performed one of my songs shortly before, so I composed this to my father’s words for them.  It was designed to be light, festive, spirit lifting, and seasonal.  Although written for voice and piano, the vocal line is represented by concert flute.

EVERGREEN, Copyright©1992 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today I present my original composition, IN THE FALLING SNOW.  I completed this piece in 2001 and scored it for flute, celesta, harp, and strings.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


I conceived this music in recognition of the magic that is snowfall.  Specifically, I am trying to conjure the image of those first graceful flakes that gently waft around as one stands in a beautiful natural setting.  My choice of instrumentation reflects this intention. 
 

To my mind, nothing in the world of acoustic instruments is more evocative of ice and snow than the celesta!

You should consider this little seasonal piece to be something of a musical greeting-card, designed to help brighten the holidays.  Please help yourselves to a copy if interest moves you.

IN THE FALLING SNOW, Copyright©2001 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today I present my original composition, FUGUE FOR ORGAN IN A.  I completed this piece in 2000 and scored it for organ.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


I was inspired to write this piece for organ after the performance of my choral work, THE FRUITS OF SILENCE.  During a lull in rehearsal of that piece, the organist played for me the toccata from Bach’s famous TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR.  Anyone who has ever heard the sound of a pipe organ with all stops pulled in a cathedral knows there is nothing like it on Earth!  The all-mighty power of the sound is incredible.

This music, composed one year for Christmas, is my attempt to create an exciting, festive, celebratory piece to accentuate the holidays.  It is the first of several seasonal pieces I will be posting over the next few weeks.

FUGUE FOR ORGAN IN A, Copyright©2000 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today I present my original composition, SLEEP.  I completed this piece in 1990 and scored it for piano and voice.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


This setting of a poem entitled TO SLEEP by John Keats is one of several I made in the late 1980s--early 90s when I was reading a lot of the English romantics.  As a sonnet, it was difficult to work into song form since the lines do not read like lyrics.  When setting already established poems to music, as I frequently do, it can be quite challenging to “wed” the music to the words in a way that sounds natural.  I remember having one hell of a time putting this one together.

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SLEEP, Copyright©1990 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today I present my original composition, NORTHERN LIGHTS.  I completed this piece in 2004 and scored it for hand-bells.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


I originally wrote this piece for hand bells, but decided to record it using a soft-synth.  Even though this sound is totally different from that of the bells, one can imagine a group of people ringing these notes into the ether.

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NORTHERN LIGHTS, Copyright©2004 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde.  All rights reserved

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today I present my original composition, DEATH AND REMEMBRANCE.  I completed this piece in 1999 and scored it for piano.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


DEATH AND REMEMBRANCE is my response to the death of my family dog, Ruggy.  As anyone blessed by the experience of growing up with a dog knows, they are like siblings.  In my case, a sibling who figures into some of my most treasured memories.  I lived my halcyon days away as almost a modern-day Tom Sawyer, roaming the vast square mileage behind my home with that little ragged, homely, darling dog by my side.  What bliss that was!

As the title suggests, the piece is about death, but also life--the carefree life I once knew.  Written for piano, it is rather extensive.  I treated the work as something like a long diary entry.  My pain was great, so I had to keep working on the piece until my grief was spent.

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DEATH AND REMEMBRANCE, Copyright©1999 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Monday, September 16, 2013

Today I present my original composition, FOR ANNE.  I completed this little piece in 1993 and scored it for flute.  Below is a screenshot of the complete autograph score:


This trifle is something I wrote for Anne, head librarian of the Mill Valley Public Library, a beautiful building nestled in the redwoods of Mill Valley, California where I worked for many years.

Anne was beginning study of the flute, which prompted my idea of writing a little piece for her to practice.  Fittingly, it is brief and consists of some of the various techniques intrinsic to the instrument, such as, staccato, legato, a bit of ornamentation, a little syncopation, some scale work, and a basic ABA form.

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FOR ANNE, Copyright©1993 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Today I present my original composition, TALE OF A SONGBIRD.  I completed this piece in 2007 and scored it for violin and piano.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


For a short while, my sister lived down the street from me. Her unit was right on the water facing the west. I used to go over to her place, take in the view, and try to make art of it. While there, I composed this piece in recognition of the numerous birds that would dart to and fro past the great picture window. Their ecstatic animation drove my pen in this one of many works I have written in a pastoral vein.

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TALE OF A SONGBIRD, Copyright©2007 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today I present my original composition, DRAGONFLY.  I completed this piece in 2003 and scored it for classical guitar.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


Dragonfly is my musical representation of the beautiful insect.  In the space of too short a time, the elegant little things come into being, ride the ether, and drop out of being; a momentary flit between two eternities.

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DRAGONFLY, Copyright©2003 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today I present my original composition, IN MEMORIAM.  I completed this piece in 2012 and scored it for cello.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


Inspired by the death of a childhood friend.

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IN MEMORIAM, Copyright©2012 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today I present my original composition, GOLDFISH.  I completed this little piece in 1994 and scored it for bawu and pipa.  Below is a screenshot of the complete autograph score:


I composed this piece out of interest in the music of China and its great wealth of unique instruments.

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GOLDFISH, Copyright©1994 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today I present my original composition, OUT OF A CLOUD.  I composed this song in 1992 to my father's words.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


I composed this melody for a young woman I admired.

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OUT OF A CLOUD, Copyright©1992 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today I present my original composition, DANCE OF THE DESERT SPIRITS.  I completed this piece in 2012 and scored it for four recorders (SATB), folk shawm, violin, zitter, oud, hurdy gurdy (with crank click), riqq, daff, and duff.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


This composition is an experiment in the use of ethnic instruments as well as an attempt to incorporate Eastern and Western melodic and harmonic techniques into to a congruous amalgam.  Did I succeed?  I don’t know; I’ll let the listener decide.  However, as you listen, please be mindful of the fact that these instruments are not tuned the same as those of the west.  For that reason and no fault of my own, this piece may, at times, sound a bit out of tune to the discerning ear.

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DANCE OF THE DESERT SPIRITS, Copyright©2012 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today I present some of my original music composed for a rough-cut film titled GANGLAND.  I completed this music in 1998 and scored it for orchestra.  Below are screenshots of the title pages of two of the movements:

                                           (Introduction)
                                                (Finale)

A director in Hollywood asked me to compose music for a film loosely based on Shakespeare’s KING LEAR.

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GANGLAND (score), Copyright©1998 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Monday, July 8, 2013

Today I present my original composition, HIDDEN MEADOW.  I completed this piece in 2005 and scored it for chromatic harp.   Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


A piece in celebration of the meadow on which I spent so many contemplative and peaceful hours.  In this piece I attempt to suggest the scene with its running brook and joyous birdsong.

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HIDDEN MEADOW, Copyright©2005 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Monday, June 24, 2013

Today I present my original composition, IN A COOL PLACE.  I completed this piece in 1999 and scored it for jazz sextet (flugel horn, tenor saxophone, electric guitar, piano, upright bass, and brush drum kit).   Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


This composition was my attempt to create the kind of "classic" jazz I frequently heard while growing up.

As I sometimes do, I created a little scenario by the combination of several different sound effects to contribute immersion to the listening experience.

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IN A COOL PLACE, Copyright©1999 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today I present my original composition, A LIFE IN A DAY.  I composed this little song in 2012 to my own words for my father. It is scored for soprano voice, two guitars, and mandolin.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


If my Life consisted of just a single day
And none but you alone were I to know,
I'd live my precious seconds with great thankfulness away,
Knowing that my joy to you would owe.

Father, father, father, father,
All to you I owe.
Father, father, father, father,
All to you I owe.

And when that eve, I'd lay me down for first and final time,
My light and happy heart to gently cease,
I'd turn to you and say before my clock's final chime--
"Father, all I ever knew was peace."

Father, father, father, father,
All I knew was peace.
Father, father, father, father,
All I knew was peace.
All I knew was peace.
All I knew was peace.


***

I wrote this in commemoration of my father's 70th birthday.

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A LIFE IN A DAY, Copyright©2012 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Today I present my original composition, THE FRUITS OF SILENCE (CHORUS FOR MOTHER TERESA).  I completed this piece in 1996 and scored it for choir and organ.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


In late 1994, I wrote to Mother Teresa saying that I was composing a choral work in celebration of her, her sisterhood, and her forty-five years of service on behalf of the "poorest of the poor". Soon I received a letter in response from Mother Teresa, herself, in which she expressed her gratitude for my gesture.

Enclosed in her letter to me was a small card on which was printed this simple prayer:

The fruit of Silence is Prayer.
The fruit of Prayer is Faith.
The fruit of Faith is Love.
The fruit of Love is Service.
The fruit of Service is Peace.

Not having found any text for my new work or even any title, I immediately realized that those few lines would fit the music almost perfectly. So, I set her words to my notes, finished the work, entitled it THE FRUITS OF SILENCE, and through good fortune had it performed in May of 1997 at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. I sent a recording of the performance to her, and she wrote back thanking me for it and then, early that September, she was gone.

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THE FRUITS OF SILENCE (CHORUS FOR MOTHER TERESA) Copyright©1996 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Today I present my original composition, CAT AND MOUSE.  I completed this piece in 2001 and scored it for classical guitar.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


After composing this music, the apt title jumped to my mind.

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CAT AND MOUSE, Copyright©2001 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Today I present my original composition, SONG OF THE SUFFERING.  I completed this piece in 2010 and scored it for bass voice (cello) and piano.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


When I look down, I see the ocean
When I look up, I see the clouds
Closing my eyes, I hear the people
Singing their last song before they die

Remember days of sun and flowers
Remember nights of myriad stars
And then the earth shuddered her great shell
And brought a whole nation tumbling to her knees

I sing a yesterday song in mourning for my lost home
I cry in sad remembrance, remembrance of my love

I scream in rage, furious at my god
Who wrecked my world, slaughtering my people
Without warning, without a sign
But only death to poor suffering people
Who simply tried to make a happier world
In the midst of strife without relief

So now I call out, cry out for grace—
Some mercy, please,
Before all of us die


***

An original song devoted to all who suffer.
Music by Sean Damon, Words by Jack Forge


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SONG OF THE SUFFERING, Copyright©2010 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Today I present my original composition, WALPURGIS NIGHT.  I completed this piece in 1999 and scored it for large orchestra.  Below is a screenshot of the title page from the autograph score:


This composition is intended to conjure the image of people dancing around a bonfire in celebration of Walpurgis Night.

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WALPURGIS NIGHT, Copyright©1999 DamonMusic by Sean Damon Rohde. All rights reserved