I Loves You Porgy
As a tribute to Ran Blake, a one-of-a-kind pianist who co-founded the Contemporary Improvisation Department at New England Conservatory, our fall concert was: Realization of a Dream, an 80th Birthday Tribute to Ran Blake. I transcribed Ran's rendition of I Loves You Porgy, as heard as on his album Driftwoods, and then arranged the transcription for four voices. The vocal quartet was performed in Jordan Hall with Burcu Gulec, Katie Martucci, and Caroline Kuhn.
You can hear Ran's solo piano version below, followed by my arrangement for four voices.
Put on by the Contemporary Improvisation department at New England Conservatory Order of the Virtues was a compilation of pieces inspired by Hildegard Von Bingen. She wrote a morality play, describing a soul deciding whether to go off with the virtues or the devil. First the soul chooses the devil, and after a brief soiree in hell, decides to return to the virtues. The title, "Hell: Freedom," is meant to suggest that only in Hell are we truly allowed to surpass all boundaries and explore limitlessly.
Here, the voice is the soul, and the bass is the devil. I created a visual chart, combining written music notation with visual art. Kirsten Lamb (kirstenlambmusic.com) played the notation and improvised the abstractions. The jagged improvisation and grand leaps symbolize the soul exploring the boundaries of Hell. The displaced latin words are a homage to the time and place Hildegard lived in. The improvisation becomes increasingly displaced, as the soul sinks deeper into hell. By the end, the soul returns to the motivic theme; this time, it is inverted, symbolizing the soul's return to the Virtues.