A monthly musical offering by a composer member of the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers.
Both your listening and comments are encouraged.
The inspiration for “The Electric Hammer” stems from my appreciation of John Cage's prepared piano works, specifically the sonatas, and Conlon Nancarrow's “Studies for Player Piano”. I have been an avid user of CSound for the past five years and carefully sculpted a work based on single samples of a prepared piano I have in my studio.
The work is in three movements. The first movement, perhaps the most conventional, consists of 6-note, 3 note, and 4-note patterns that intertwine with each other to create a little player piano ballet. The second movement expands on the piano samples as I try to create more sustained sounds from what originally were relatively short samples. By using the loscil opcode, I can select minute segments of the piano samples to create my own wavetables. In other words, a simple means of granular synthesis. The third movement uses the rand opcode in CSound to create elements whereby the computer selects a pitch and pan placement of the sound based on parameters controlled in the score. The third movement is also a canon of sorts with three distinct voices: a fast, high moving part, a more moderate mid-range counterpoint, and a cantus firmus in the bass that functions as the underpinning of the composition. All sounds in “The Electric Hammer” are built on CSound processed prepared piano recordings. No other synthesis or instruments are incorporated into the composition.
I believe in one God, a holy and just spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable. God, the maker of the universe, created humanity for the sole purpose of glorifying and enjoying God. When the first humans, Adam and Eve, betrayed God through an act of disobedience, all of mankind fell into a state of depravity. This act of disobedience, or sin, separates man from the communion he shared with God. Mankind is no longer holy and capable of the deep fellowship with the Creator. I am instructed through the Holy Scripture that without this communion, mankind is damned to an eternal existence without God.
God, in His* profound and mysterious love for the world, provides a means of salvation for mankind: He reveals through the Holy Scripture that He would provide a means of reconciliation for his people. The laws of the Hebrew Scripture teach of the holiness of God and the impossible task of living perfect lives in order to achieve a perfect union with God. God fulfills His prophecies of a Redeemer by sending His son, Jesus the Christ, to the world. Were Jesus simply human, He would have been tainted like all of mankind. He was, however, God in human flesh and dwelt among us in perfection, living without sin. His death on the cross mirrors the sacrifices of the Hebrew Scripture, a physical and symbolic sacrifice to act as an atonement for those who follow the teachings of the Holy Scripture. Christ achieved victory by His physical, not symbolic, resurrection from the dead, and provided me with the key to remove this depravity from my life.
Faith in Jesus as the Christ produces certain results in my life. First, the Holy Spirit is able to soften my heart and cause me to follow in faith the Christ and God’s teaching. Since the death and resurrection of Christ act as a propitiation for my sins, I then am able to carry with me the Spirit of Christ, who brings me into fellowship with Him. Hence, my journey of sanctification begins as God begins to mold me into the image of a godly man. Old desires pass as I replace them with godly behavior. This sanctification does not mean I never disobey God. No, I now have the power to avert from evil, yet I continue to fall into the snare of sin. I can only plead mercy through the cross and the risen Christ, who views me as being made perfect in holiness. I long to be with God in the afterlife, to worship with the saints of the church, and to finally reach a deeper understanding of God's love for His people.
I believe that God, Jesus and the Spirit are three persons, but of one substance. I believe the Holy Scripture to be infallible, written by the hand of man, yet inspired by the Holy Ghost. I believe in the holy, apostolic church which establishes the kingdom of God on earth. Through the Holy Scripture, prayer, sacraments, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit, the church perseveres from age to age, until the end of the world.
* Although God is a Spirit devoid of sex, I follow the traditions of the Holy Scripture by addressing Him as my Father: hence the use of the male pronoun.
Clive Davis composes for a variety of vocal and instrumental combinations including chamber, choral, orchestral and electronic media. First Presbyterian Church of Schenectady celebrated their 250th anniversary in September 2010 with a performance of Clive's “From Days of Early Youth” anthem and hymn. His work, “Olimpia”, scored in CSound was the basis of a dance collaboration with Della Schleunes and the Dance Ensemble at Berkshire School’s spring performance in 2007. Also in 2007, Cantilena Chamber Choir performed Clive's work, “The Old Ship Zion” in historic Williamstown, MA. The Berkshire Children’s Chorus and Youth Pro Musica commissioned “Songs from Turtle Island” for their 2001-2002 season (see CFAMC Listening Page #20). “Faraday’s Coil” for “tape” was premiered at Berkshire School in April 2001 as incidental music to the Dance Ensemble’s Spring Performance. Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA commissioned his work, “The Old Ship Zion”, for use in their 1999-2000 liturgy. His songs, “When We Two Parted” were featured at the April 2000 Northeast Chapter of the College Music Society’s annual conference. He is the winner of two ASCAP prizes, including the Aspen/ASCAP Composition Competition Prize for his work, “On the Threshold of Eternity”. He is the recipient of Boston University's Malloy Miller Composition Award in 1994 for his work, “When We Two Parted”. His music has been aired on public radio (WBUR in Boston and WJHU in Baltimore) and in the Berkshires on WBSL and WBCR-LP and has been performed by the Arcadian Winds, the Boston University Symphony Orchestra, the Peabody Opera Workshop, and the Marsh Chapel Choir, to name a few. He is a member of ASCAP and the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers.
Born in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) and raised in Germany and Pennsylvania, Clive began his musical studies at the age of seven. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory in 1989 and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Boston University in 1994. His dissertation is entitled “Ballet Perelandra”, a suite for medium-sized orchestra based on the book by C. S. Lewis. His primary teachers have included Morris Cotel, Charles Jones, Theodore Antoniou, Stephen Albert, Charles Fussell, and Marjorie Merryman. In 1988, he was one of twelve composers invited to attend the Advanced Masterclass in the Center for Compositional Studies in Aspen, Colorado, where he attended classes under Jacob Druckman, Bernard Rands, Peter Sculthorpe, and George Tsontakis.
Clive lives with his wife and daughters in the Berkshires, where he teaches electronic music at Simon’s Rock College and is the music director at Berkshire School, a private preparatory school.
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