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APPALACHIAN EXILE

New work for baritone featuring the poems of Clifford Brooks III

I had the pleasure of connecting with a local poet, Clifford Brooks, and getting to learn about his Southern Collective Experience. He gifted me a couple of his poetry books and I've selected a set of poems to work with to create a new cycle.

The following page will show the evolution of the composition from idea to performance.

 

POETRY AND A POET

In my world, the seclusion of working in a musicians world [sometimes] can limit expansion/growth, necessitating the need to branch out with other artists... My good friend, Benjamin Schoening, asked me to compose a new song cycle for him. As I tried to find text for it, I came up with the idea to do poems about children. I’ve always worked with dead poets/writers, and it was time to branch out.

Initially, I fleshed out outlines and sought out freelancers to connect my ideas into poetry (with the hope) that I could create workable text for a new cycle. Unfortunately, the texts I got back were not usable - so I requested changes (but my changes I’d attach samples of what I was looking for) and one of the poets said - “why don’t you use what you are writing?” Fast forward - I hired an editor and wrote everything myself (but, I acknowledge that I am more a composer than a poet).

 

SOUTHERN COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCE

To help improve my writing skills I sought out other writers and organizations and stumbled upon Clifford Brooks III and his collective. If you know me, I keep insanely busy... but, I was finally able to meet Clifford and he was a breath of fresh air (an artist in the truest sense that seems to share similar ambitions/dreams).

With two of his books in hand, I have been slowly experiencing his poetry and have selected several poems to do a cycle. At the present, I am shooting to have this cycle ready for a concert date of April 1 for baritone, saxophone, cello, piano, and electronics.

 

DRAFT 1: A NIGHTLESS DREAM

Last night (December 27) I pulled out a notebook and started to outline a movement. I hear the text in a D minorish mode (at least everything is centered/homed) to D.

 

NIGHTLESS DREAM: EVOLUTION

Everything I heard on the Nightless Dream poem was a dud. I took what I mapped out and then when I saw it on the page, I only heard cheese. I didn't stop - I was teaching L'Homme Arme and found that an adaptation of it was really cool on the melody. I also modernized it and put some delays on the acoustic instruments. Next step will be more movements and getting feedback from the performers.

 

LIMBO

The first part is clear and composed. The premiere date had to be moved to the third week of April. I'll be getting to work with the ensemble very soon.