Friday, February 8, 2008

When People Are Soft

Hear It (MP3)
See It (Score)

This art song for soprano and piano was the first piece I completed as a masters student at CUA studying under Andrew Simpson. It was a bit of a struggle, taking me about four months of on-and-off work to complete.

Although it is rather simple in some ways, I mark this piece as one of the turning points in my composing career. Looking back, this piece is really quite tonal with just a few non-tonal elements inserted in places; however, this is the first time I ever really broke out of a diatonic added- or embellished-note tonality in any conscious, consistent way. Even the length (5½ minutes) was ambitious for me at the time, since most of my pieces were around three minutes.

Oh, and I must say thank you to Yufen Chou, pianist, and to Rachel Barham, AKA "The World's Greatest Diva Ever In The History Of The Universe," soprano. Composers would not survive without the support of performers who champion new music.


  1. A very lovely, VERY theatrical piece. :-) You done good, Gullings.

  2. Rachel is such a gift to the composers at CUA. I love her enthusiasm for us.

    This was always one of my favorite pieces of yours :)

  3. I agree! Thank you. It was quite a struggle to write (aesthetically and mentally), so it really helped me grow a lot. For that reason, I think I'll always look back on this little piece as a starting point, in a way.