Choral/Vocal

  • Rain Will Come What May for Soprano and Piano 2015

    Rain Will Come What May for soprano and pianowas composed in 2013 based on a poem by Kansas City-based writer Jose Faus.

    The poem depicts the nature of love in the form of a Haiku. According to Faus, like other Haiku poetry, this poem concerns the change of seasons and includes both a drought and the looked-for rainfall. Love is likened to a garden. In the first and the second stanzas, the practical and spiritual worlds tell the gardener not to plant because the soil is coarse. However, he wants to believe that love will blossom nonetheless, a reflection on love’s irrational nature. The thought of a cactus still growing in the dessert without enough rain confirms the gardener’s convictions. In the last stanza, the cactus that blooms in the sunlight believes that rain will eventually come, so it does not need to fret. Likewise, love does not need perfect conditions to blossom and thus place the spiritual and practical world in contradiction. The last line, “Rain will come what May” is a play on the adage about April showers bringing May flowers.

    In setting the song, I generally followed the structure of the poem; however, a few words, such as “hope” and “rain,” were repeated to intensify particular dramatic moments.

    Harmonies and intervals employed in this song could give the impression that this song is tonal; however, the extended harmonies and tensions rarely progress as they do in functional harmonies. Instead, they shift from one to another without expected resolutions. This creates unexpected, wondering, dreamy, and sometimes unanticipated sounds. In addition, the dotted bar lines without any time signature allows for the presentation of an extremely free rhythmic declamation, a trait common among many of my atonal works.

    The piano not only provides the requisite harmonic background but it also adds a distinctive atmosphere and color through gestures such as arpeggios, grace notes, and staccato notes followed by lingering overtones. Overtones are among the primary musical materials of this piece and are often created by playing muted clusters in the piano’s lower register before playing the actual notes in the middle and higher registers.

    Rain Will Come What May is dedicated to soprano Alexandra Rolfs and her family in gratitude for being incredibly supportive and loving.

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  • My Beautiful One, Come with Me for SATB and Piano 2012

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  • A Stone: A Song Cycle for Bariton and Piano 2010

    This composition was inspired by three poems by three different poets. As the title indicates, all three poems used in this song cycle are based on the same theme: stones. However, each poet found unique poetic significance in these objects. I employed different musical materials to portray the differing moods of each poem.

    In his poem “Stone”, Charles Simic describes a contrast between a poetic narrator and the outside world. I conveyed this contrast with two different musical characters – a rather slow and lyrical melodic line and a comparatively fast and dramatic recitative.

    Simon Ortiz’s “The Serenity in Stones” is very peaceful and somewhat fantastic. I chose to set this with relatively quiet and dreamy sounds and with consonant harmonies.

    The third song is based on Archibald MacLeish’s poem “The Rock in the Sea”.

    This poem contains a great deal of irony and confusion. I portrayed this with wandering arpeggio patterns in the piano part, ambiguous harmonies, and clusters

    Throughout the song cycle, I mixed tonal materials with my atonal language to create a contemporary sound. Tonal harmonies such as triads and extended chords keep this piece rather accessible; however, I used these materials in an unconventional way.

    In this piece, these chords rarely progress as they do in the traditional functional harmony. Here they shift from one to another without required resolution, creating rather unexpected moments.

    Some of the techniques and notations from 20th century music such as clusters, playing with forearms, and scoring without bar lines also helped me to create a new and freer sound.

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  • 합창을 위한 시편 116편(Psalm 116) for Choir 2006
  • 불씨를 위하여(For The Embers) for Soprano and Piano 2002

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