Pieces from “Solo and Chamber Music”

Tango for David

(2006) Erin Furbee, Harold Gray

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Erin Furbee’s violin adds classic tango touches to Harold Gray’s energetic piano in a playful tango written for my household tanguero.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved


Two Pieces for Trombone and Piano

(2008) Robert Taylor, Harold Gray

Waking Up Slow

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A slow bluesy piece written for Robert Taylor. It plays with the state between sleep and awake.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved

Looking for Drive

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Finding enough “drive” for the day, a gentle tease to trombonist Robert Taylor’s coffee habit with a jazzy Mozart bit thrown in.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved


Backyard Toccata

(1991) Mary Kogen, Harold Gray

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One of those early spring days when the breeze moves the wind chimes, backyard birds are trying to attract mates and stake out territories in the big trees. It’s easy to find the scene comic to irritatingly restless. At the end a door closes, an attempt to shut out nature’s uproar. Of course it doesn’t.

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Six Short Pieces For Piano

(1987) Harold Gray

Six slices of a life in process.

Reflection 1

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©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved

Bravado

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Stuck

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©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved

Play

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©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved

Drifting

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©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved

Reflection 2

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Three Songs from the Tao Te Ching

(2003-’06) Christine Meadows, Harold Gray

These personal favorite translations of the ancient texts feel contemporary in message and language, so they are set with that in mind. In Ursula K. LeGuin’s wonderfully sharp version of #18, “the Great Way” is changed to “the Tao” for musical reasons.

#11 Thirty Spokes Meet In The Hub

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Copyright © 1997 by Ursula K. LeGuin: from her translation of Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching, published by Shambhala Publications, Inc; used by permission of the author and the author’s agents, the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc.

#18 In the Degradation of the Tao

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Copyright © 1997 by Ursula K. LeGuin: from her translation of Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching, published by Shambhala Publications, Inc; used by permission of the author and the author’s agents, the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc.

#35 Music Or the Smell of Good Cooking

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Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Mitchell: from his translation of A New English Version: Tao Te Ching, published by HarperCollins Publishers; used by permission of the author’s agent Michael Katz.


Love Love Wind Dust

(2010) Phil Hansen, Jeff Payne

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A conversational piece between cello and piano inspired by our artist friend Jef Gunn’s story about an old Chinese saying. He explained “Love love” means to be in love with, as in pay very close attention to. Wind is change. Dust can be an irritant. I’m not sure what the Chinese meant, but his words blew around in my American sensorium enough to want to write this for Phil Hansen’s cello.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved


Fanfare for Elizabeth

(1987)Mary Kogen

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Written for a celebration of Elizabeth Harris’ gallery show opening, which included a large picture she painted on a blank canvas of my father’s that had been around for easily fifty years. Her painting still hangs in my piano studio. Mary Kogen premiered this Fanfare in 1994.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved


Crazy Jane

(2003) Erin Furbee, Harold Gray

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The Irish poet W. B. Yeats used the idea of “Crazy Jane” as a mouthpiece for uncensored statements of unpopular truths. A similar character appears on my mind’s stage where she charms, taunts, rants, laments and prays in reaction to what she sees happening in the “sane” world.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved


Correspondence

(2006) Harold Gray

After almost fifty years, I received a “hello” note from a college boyfriend, now a self-described Rogue River hermit, which led to his sending me this charming piece he called “For Cynthia…”. A reply was in order. “For Ernest…” was a more long-winded edgy response, my first attempt to write in a more popular style.

For Cynthia, While I Do My Wash

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By Ernest Defenbach, used with his permission
©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved

For Ernest, Hanging ‘Em Out To Dry

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Idaho Toccata Trio

(piano version 1987, revised for trio 2001)

Erin Furbee, Phil Hansen, Jeff Payne

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A love song to a community (Boise, Idaho) and an era (late 1940’s). It’s written from the un-conflicted perspective, musically and otherwise, of a ten year old. One melodic motif knits the piece together.

This trio is programatic in the sense that it includes my father’s song from his homestead past (“I had me a rooster and he well pleased me…I love my old rooster, I do”) with touches from Dad’s Barber Shop Quartet and some clucks from my grandparents’ hens. Cowboys ride through with wisps of popular tunes like “Home on the Range”, our new Westinghouse dryer chimes “How dry I am” in the counterpoint and there are some high energy cadences in the style of Gershwin, my musical hero at the time. I had to throw in references to the summer circus-carnival with its dizzying rides, exotic “gypsies”, the tricks of wild tigers. Broncos bucked, cowboys yelled, Indians whooped in rodeo and wild-west pageants and the wail of the nearby train seemed our only link to a far away outside world.

The “toccata” is a 400 year old form used in European music, a free, most often fast piece showing off variety and agility of touch. Mainly, I like the way toccata sounds with Idaho.

©2011 UnaMuse Publishing ASCAP – All Rights Reserved