I think of each of my solo pieces as being very different one from the other, like individual characters. Piano pieces are mostly early, culminating in UPTOWN MUSIC, a study in a five-note blues scale, Similarly, MIDNIGHT STRUT for saxophone is in a jazzy, rock-inspired mode. Very different is GILGAMESH for solo free-bass accordion, inspired by the earliest recorded epic in history.
LESOTHO, from 1988, is for my own instrument, the two-row button accordion, and portrays the plight of migrant workers from Lesotho in the gold mines of South Africa. It’s on my CD Spirit Reel. I wrote SWIRL in a two-week period for a multi-media work by artist Cecile Clayton Gouthro; it was premiered on video very movingly by cellist Yuri Hooker. It’s inspired by the dipping, pendulum-like motion of a swirling red dress, and Paul Marleyn’s performance on my CBC Records CD Blue Ocean is a real personal highlight.
List of solo works
RIVER MUSIC (guitar) (2004)
Commissioned by Prairie Debut for Daniel Bolshoy, with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Daniel Bolshoy, Jan. 20-Feb.5/05, on a Prairie Debut tour of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
HOMAGE (cello) (2001)
Commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre as a piece for grade 8 students. Premiered by Caroline Nicolas, May 26/02, Eva Clare Hall, Univ. of Manitoba.
SWIRL (cello) (2000)
Commissioned by Cecile Clayton Gouthro for the multi-media piece “Connecting at an Unknown Rate” by visual artist Cecile Clayton Gouthro; Premiere of video version, by Yuri Hooker, March 12/00 at Gallery 1.1.1, the School of Art, University of Manitoba. Concert premiere by Paul Marleyn, Jan. 31/01, Eva Clare Hall, Univ. of Manitoba.
BULGARIAN DANCE (piano) (1988)
Commissioned by the Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals in association with the Manitoba Composers’ Association with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by contestants in the 1989 Manitoba Music Festival.
LESOTHO (two-row button accordion [A/D]) (1988)
Premiered by Jim Hiscott, April 5/88, at the West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg.
ST. BRENDAN IN AMERICA (two-row button accordion [G/C]) (1982)
Premiered by Jim Hiscott, Apr. 14/82, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
CONCEPTION BAY FLATS (guitar) (1979)
Commissioned by Alan Torok with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council. Premiered by Harold Micay, Apr. 14/82, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
MIDNIGHT STRUT (alto saxophone) (1978)
Commissioned by Don MacMillan with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Premiered by Don MacMillan, March 30/78, at The Music Gallery, Toronto.
GILGAMESH (free-bass accordion) (1977)
Premiered by Frank Baggetta, Nov. 25/79, at The Music Gallery, Toronto.
UPTOWN MUSIC (piano) (1977)
Premiered by Noreen Waibel, Nov. 25/79, at The Music Gallery, Toronto.
ASIA (cello) (1975)
Premiered by Michael Jozefacki, March 12, 1977, at the David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto.
MEMORIES OF THE FORGOTTEN STREAM (piano) (1975)
Premiered by Elizabeth Acker, March 12, 1977, at the David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto.
FOUR TERRAINS (piano) (1974)
Premiered by Monica Gaylord, February/79, Toronto.
OUT OF THE PRISON (piano) (1974)