The word "Ecstatic" in the title refers towards a sense of mystical euphoria in the prelude, rather than excitement. It begins with rising gestures and polychords that lead to short outbursts of activity. This is contrasted with a highly dissonant falling chorale. An ethereal middle section moves at an irregular pace, gradually increasing in density until the original music returns. The descending chorale brings the piece home to a euphoric final cadence. The fugue takes the excited definition of ecstatic, playfully bounding along at a quicker pace. The music builds through the fugal exposition until the pedals come in with the subject at augmentation. A fragmented middle section explodes into a metrically complex passage that leads into a final sequence of subject statements. After the music peaks once again, a pedal cadenza brings the music into a quotation of the prelude before leading it to a final outburst of energy.
Listen to a performance by Richard Newman at the Bethleham United Church in Ann Arbor, MI. The fugue begins at 3:05:
This work was written for Bill Johnston, a violist who I knew from high school. The two movements of this piece are motivically unified and feature two starkly contrasting sound worlds - dark, murky dissonance and unabashed lyrical diatonicism. Both of these ideas are stated separately in the prelude and gradually mingle with each other in the fugue. If you would like to obtain a copy of the score and part, please contact me.
This piece is dedicated to Paul Wolfe, founder and director emeritus of the Sarasota Music Festival.
Listen to a recording of Sandy Cameron, violin, and Pauline Yang, piano during an impromptu concert at the Sarasota Music Festival:
This was written for my fiancee (now wife), Alexandra. Like the other compositions I wrote during the summer of 2005, I make a lot of use with ostinato, with a triplet pattern running through the entire composition, never faltering until the very end. Alex and I performed it on my recital in the summer of 2005.
Scintillation was performed again and recorded by Colin Sorgi, violin, and Hui-Chuan Chen, piano on October 5, 2008 at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore:
This is one of my first award-winning compositions. First titled “crazy meter piece” when I wrote it in 2002, I won third place in the nation in the 2003 MTNA composition competition and I was the national winner for strings for the National Federation of Music Clubs composition competition in the same year. It was my first composition in which I freely change meters frequently, and it was a fast and virtuosic work. I had the privilege of performing this piece with violinist Aaron Krosnick for an MTNA event in Miami and later at the Delius Music Festival in Jacksonville.
Frolic received its concert premiere by violinist Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Rebecca Penneys in Sarasota, FL, in December of 2002.
Listen to a recording of Aaron Krosnick and myself playing Frolic: