Cycle of the Earth is a ballet for symphony orchestra. It is a musical and dance work reflective of the earth's life cycle. The ballet traces the earth's environmental experience from its origins through the Ice Ages (where the music of the ballet begins). Mankind defiles the earth, which results in the premature destruction of life on earth. The earth devours its visitors (mankind) and returns triumphantly to the next Ice Age.
The movements of the ballet are:
I. Ice Age Dance II. The Sea III. Garden of Eden (in three scenes) IV. The Epitaph of Seikilos V. The Earth Devours Mankind VI. Ice Age Hymn
This three movement work was composed at the age of 20 in fulfillment of the requirements of a masters degree in music composition at Queens College, City University of New York. It was composed at the request of the late Francis Cole for her and the Guarneri String Quartet. Ms. Cole was a remarkable musician and harpsichordist and one of the first African American harpsichords of stature and universal acclaim. Her untimely death resulted in the closing off of this performance opportunity with the Guarneri. I did however enjoy sharing a performance and lecture before her passing along with Igor Kipnis (and Eubie Blake)at Princeton University for my Sonata For Harpsichord Four Hands. I will always remember her with great respect.
The music of this sextet was intended to "sum up" all that I had learned about the musical thinking of Bela Bartok, Paul Hindemith, and Karol Rathaus, and to make a final statement about the state of 20th century musical composition before moving on to its expansion. I continue that expansion to this day.
Very little of the music composed 40 years ago was modified in preparation of this recording. The recordings were prepared through the utilization of the Sibelius 7.5 notation technology, and the Wallander NotePerformer add on to the Sibelius for sound realization. The "performance" and sound realization is quite remarkable, and will serve as a wonderful tool for performers when considering the performance of this work. Score and parts are available upon request.
The first movement is composed with a strict and traditional Sonata Allegro form and structure - Exposition, Theme 1 and 2, repeat, Development, Recapitulation, and Coda. There is rigorous attention to the Beethoven and Haydn symphonic form, including key relationships, making this piece easy to follow and quite accessible to listeners. It took approximately 3 months to compose and under the loving direction of the late Gabriel Fontrier, who fell ill with a debilitating stroke at its conclusion.
There is much more to do with tonality that has not yet been done. Composers in the 20th century jumped too quickly in my view, in their abandonment of tonality and the listening public, to the detriment of all. My later works continue to seek new ways of bringing great joy to the world in the exploration of the things that human beings universally respond to, in precisely the same way and throughout time. The great art of western music composition shall always prevail and rise above all other musical considerations. I have been blessed to have learned these great lessons from such wonderful masters as Gabriel Fontrier, Sol Berkowitz, Leo Kraft, their teacher Karol Rathaus, and his predecessors .