Words

This page is meant to share various pieces that I have either written or collected at various times in recent years.

Devotional Chants & Mantras

Texts of the fifty three mantras that I published in 2011. I. Evoking Presence and Taking Refuge I come to You. I lay down my burden. I rest in the light. I come to You. I lay down my burden. I rest in the light. Come to me, O Lord. Maranatha. Come to me, O […]

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On Composing

Here are a few thoughts I have picked up over the years that say something about my philosophy and approach to composing music: “The chief responsibility of the artist is to remind his fellow humans how beautiful life is. Otherwise, they tend to forget.” – Gabriel Faure “What I have in my [...]

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Henri Matisse on Creation

Recently I ran across a wonderful quote by the artist Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954). After some searching around I found more; they constitute terrific advice for creative artists, in whatever field. They are from his book Jazz, published in 1947. Take them to heart! Don’t wait for [...]

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Composition: My Training and Influences

What was my training as a composer? I’ve tended to think that it was pretty traditional (I mean, traditional for the time). Was that true? Actually, no. Was I self taught? In many ways, yes. The most traditional academic part of my training was as an undergraduate at Duke, where I studied [...]

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Digital Demo Performances

What is a digital demo “performance?” It’s an audio realization of a work without the use of live musicians. It’s done, obviously, on a computer using notation software, sequencing/audio production software and what are called “sample libraries” (these use recorded live instrumental sounds that [...]

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Passamaquoddy Symphony Orchestra Review

Here’s a review I wrote for our local newspaper, The Quoddy Tides. It appeared in the November 23, 2012 edition: Great Music With a Personal Touch The Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra has just completed its round of Fall concerts. I’m sure the players are exhausted after their weekend [...]

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Reflections on Summerkeys 2012

Summerkeys is a music program for adult students, located in Lubec, Maine. I just finished my first summer on the faculty as piano teacher, coach and accompanist. What an experience! Students come from all over the country (and a few from Europe as well) to study and practice intensively for a [...]

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Do you know what sea smoke is?

On very cold mornings we see sea smoke in the bay. It’s a thin layer of condensed water vapor right above the surface of the water. Sea smoke is caused by very cold air coming in over warmer water (the thermometer must be reading close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit). The evaporating water [...]

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What color is the water today?

Our house overlooks a bay in Maine. This morning I asked “What color is the water today” and answered myself: “Slate gray.” She added “With an undertone of cornflower blue crayon… and putty.” This really struck me, as it came from a person who makes fun [...]

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Epiphany: Revealing the Light

Epiphany is a very appropriate religious season for the northern latitudes. It celebrates the revealing of the light of Christ. Yes, with the visit of the magi and the baptism of Jesus by Simeon: the revelation of the “light to enlighten the nations.” (We haven’t gotten it [...]

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The And by Penny Guisinger

My new cello teacher is a piano player, but I don’t care because I believe that, on some level, he can unlock the cello’s secrets anyway. I have taken lessons from cello players, but I find that I don’t speak their language — like trying to learn Spanish from someone who doesn’t speak any [...]

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