String Quintet No. 1 Tells Arthur’s Story

I am happy to announce that I have put together a definitive musical version of both Part 1 and Part 2 of the legend of King Arthur.  It’s undergone several versions. Part 1 also exists as my Symphony No. 1. Now I have arranged the entire piece for string quintet. It could also be played bustling orchestra. 

This piece, my String Quintet No. 1, King Arthur, is the work of two years and tells the story of Arthur’s  life from his becoming king to his death and the return to chaos. It is dedicated to all people who sincerely seek a just, good, and merciful world. I plan to post the score and parts on IMSLP. In the meantime here is the sound recording. Enjoy!

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“Agnus Dei: A Prayer For Peace”

Because of recent world events, I’ve felt the need to raise a prayer for peace. Here, I’ve employed the ancient prayer from the Catholic mass which says, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; grant us peace.” It is a repentant, hopeful prayer, so appropriate for today.

This Agnus Dei is arranged for SATB. It was an exciting challenge for me to record the sample audio, singing the range of the choir (I even got down to the bass a couple times). The piece is appropriate for church or concert choir, early intermediate to professional level. The sheet music is available for purchase at http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/agnus-dei-a-prayer-for-peace-digital-sheet-music/20460838.

It’s my desire with this music to encourage people to hope in God and to strive to bring His peace to the world.

Announcing “Symphony No. 2: The Creation”

I am very excited to announce the completion of my latest composition! This piece is meant to bring to the listener’s mind the wonder of creation and the amazing reality of the universe. For thousands of years, people have thought of art as a means of imitating the Creator of the Universe. The Book of Genesis tells of how He made the world out of nothing and how He delighted in it. It is much in the same way that a composer purposefully creates music. There is a significant difference in that God creates something out of nothing whereas the composer creates from pre-existing material (i.e. sound, time, etc.). Yet in the making of music, we can participate in the joy of the Eternal Creator who made the universe and us for a beautiful purpose. With this piece, I hope to inspire a meditation on the beauty of existence and bring listeners to a peaceful realization of being.

In movement one, there are melodic figures darting here and there to illustrate chaos, yet there is also a recurring sixteenth-note pattern that depicts the “divine wind sweeping over the waters.” Movement two is an unfolding of light. Movement three tells of the growth of order and of the joy of the new day of creation.

In three movements:

1. Spirito: In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, with a divine wind sweeping over the waters. ~Gen. 1:1-2

2. Adagio: God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. ~Gen. 1:3

3. Maestoso: God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light ‘day’, and darkness he called ‘night’.
Evening came and morning came: the first day. ~Gen. 1:4-5

The complete score and parts can be found for download on the IMSLP website: http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.2_(Rosaria%2C_Danielle)http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.2_(Rosaria%2C_Danielle)

 

Music At Home

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I’m writing this post for stay-at-home artists, especially women artists who sacrifice so much to look after their families. It can be a struggle for someone who is used to performing on stage and collaborating with many different people to suddenly be alone and “confined” at home. Yet I can assure you that being at home is actually a wonderful opportunity for artistic growth as well as for meaningful work.

This time in my life requires me to be at home most of the time. I have two young children who need my nurturing and care. This is a great joy to me! Yet, this situation also presents its own unique challenges to my musical life. I’m sure there are many people who experience this sort of life change when they go from professional career to caring for family. It can feel isolating. But the life of a musician does not need to disappear under these circumstances. Rather, it can change and grow. Staying at home can offer time for reflection and study, individual discovery and expression, and opportunities for embarking on sincere and unique projects away from peer pressure and deadlines. And if one is at home looking after children, there is the absolutely amazing opportunity to share, in a deep and profound way, the joy of music and all that can be passed on by studying and practicing it.

One of the beautiful things about music and the life of the artist is that they encourage us to be creative problem solvers, flexible and determined in the midst of change. One of my favorite sayings is “Adapt and endure.” The musical life should support the life of the human being and not the other way around. In the situation where one must stay at home, it is most likely necessary to curtail frequent performances on stage. But for thousands of years music making has taken place off stage as well as on. When we take our music from the professional sphere and bring it into the home, we can give it as a gift to our children, teach them about beauty, self expression, world cultures, language, and logical thought processes. We can teach them to sing and/or play an instrument. We can teach them to appreciate the wonderful music of others. In this way we give them the gift of freedom, the gift of art.

There is a historical context to this approach to music. During the Enlightenment in Europe, pianos were first built and sold in great numbers. They were often sold to people in the new middle class, people who wanted to educate themselves and their children. They wanted pianos in their homes because they valued culture. Composers during this time wrote thousands of piano works and instrumental sonatas to satisfy the demand for music in the home. We owe the existence of the violin and piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert to this demand. Even today pianos are often to be found in homes as a sign of “the good life.” Not every home has someone who knows how to play these instruments, but they are there nevertheless. But of course some families do boast of pianists of various skill levels. How beautiful it is when a family’s home is alive with real music! Children can be taught to appreciate and play at a very early age. By creating an environment where music making is encouraged, the stay-at-home artist is passing on culture to the next generation. This is one of the most important and joyful things we can do as human beings!

So with these thoughts in mind, I continue to create, even late at night. I continue to be an artist, teacher, and musician. I play and sing nursery rhymes by day and write symphonies by night. My newest project is “Symphonic Picture No. 8: The Creation.” It is in three parts and musically tells the story of Genesis, Salvation History, and The New Creation when we are reconciled to the Creator through Jesus. It is a very personal project, one of meditation, of experimentation, of praise and thanksgiving.

Premier Concert with the LACC!

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On Saturday, April 22 at MiMoDa in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Composers Collective will be presenting performances of new works for two sopranos, bassoon and various instruments. I am honored to be a part of this artistic endeavor. My setting of the poem “The Road Not Taken” will be one of the pieces performed. It will be performed by two sopranos, bassoon, and cello.

Studio Version

“The Road Not Taken” (1916) by Robert Frost is a very important poem to many people because it talks about choosing to go one’s own way in life. It’s a poem my mother has always loved. She introduced me to it at an early age and I believe it has had a very positive impact on my life. That’s why in gratitude I’ve decided to dedicate this composition to her.

“The Road Not Taken” (1916)
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

LACC website: www.lacomposerscollective.org