While doing the recording of my as-yet-unreleased-and-generally-unannounced choral music EP back in May (MAY!!) with the Illinois State University Madrigal Singers, the director of the ensemble, Karyl Carlson, briefly brought up the subject of the next piece that the school would be commissioning from me for their winter concert this year. Because we were on a break in the middle of recording six works, we only spoke briefly, and vowed to bring it up again soon. Several months went by, and we finally started talking brass tacks. The commission negotiation process was lengthy but uncontentious, and some compromises were made on both sides, as will happen with friendly negotiators. What began as a proposed 10-12 minute work, was scaled back to 7-10 minutes, and further revised to two smaller pieces, one of which, due to time constraints and other looming deadlines, will be delivered post-concert and premiered in the Spring.

The first of the two pieces, titled When Music Sounds, was finished just this past weekend while Hurricane Sandy swept through – and swept away part of – town. Karyl had emailed me the poem “Music” by Walter de la Mare toward the end of the negotiation process, and I absolutely fell in love with it. In my first sitting, a full third of the piece just flowed out. Kismet!

One of the fun little things that I discovered while writing this piece is that I probably need never print out a text again so long as I have my handy-dandy little tablet nearby. Ok, so it’s not so little – it’s the 10.1″ Samsung Galaxy Tab – kind of a monster, and I love it!

And if I clip poetry I like to Evernote, I’ll never be without the texts I’m working with!

I’m really happy with the way this piece turned out, and I’m currently in the process of paper proofing the score, doing all the fiddly things that don’t always stand out on the computer screen.

I’m really looking forward to hearing the ISU Mads perform it in December – and I’m definitely looking forward to writing the companion piece, Voices!