(David Thomas Roberts Music, Walnut Creek, CA, 2005 - CD)

Status: Available for purchase here.

Track Listing & Liner Notes

  1. Discovery (DTR, 2004, for Ann Edwards). In late 2003 Ann Edwards of Columbia, Missouri commissioned a work commemorating the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. I took her choice of the title Discovery and all associated with the expedition to heart, presaging one of my most successful efforts. In Discovery, the listener is invited to know the wonder and pathos not only of that expedition but of an America then and now and the mystery yet remaining.
  2. Charbonneau (Scott Kirby, 2000). Visual artist, composer and pianist Scott Kirby (b. 1965) has cultivated a unique, extraordinary vision of the northern Great Plains. Scott's perception of the region as an ultimate theatre of introspection and transcendent adventure has become the experiential base for a body of work I view as among the most valuable today. In Charbonneau, named for a ghost town in western North Dakota, (in turn named after Sacagawea's husband), we partake of that vision at its most intimate and penetrating.
  3. Mariana's Waltz (DTR, 2003, for Mariana Jensen). After beginning as a ragtime waltz, Mariana's Waltz takes us through a contrasting array of Romantic chambers, from the 'Western' D section in D-flat to the unabashedly Schubertian E theme, sporting melody in the bass and syncopations sometimes belying the steady 3/4 pulse. Influences from Chopin and Schumann also mingle with the sustained Americana atmosphere.
  4. Ice Floes in Eden (Harold Budd, 1986). The fanciful, brooding music of Harold Budd (b. 1936) has been variously associated with terms as disparate as 'ambient music,' 'minimalism' and 'Neo-Classical' for many years. Having particularly admired the electronic Ice Floes in Eden since hearing it in the early '90s, I began experimenting with a piano version late in that decade, hoping to capture a tincture of the eerie and wondrous reality of the original.
  5. Memories of a Missouri Confederate (DTR, 1989). My attachment to Missouri rests in part upon the state's historical complexity. This work may be taken as a sympathetic musical paraphrase of imaginary memoirs.
  6. Fantasy in D (DTR, 2000-2001, for Karen Ann Simons). The Romanticism within Terra Verde music (a contemporary genre related to New Ragtime) is given a strong Mediterranean twist in this piece. In commissioning Fantasy in D, Karen asked for a Middle Eastern flavor, which had found its way into numerous works of mine, especially New Orleans Streets (1981-85), a 15-sectioned suite for piano. For extramusical as well as musical reasons, I associate the third section with the haunting French film, The Red Balloon, remembered from childhood, then rediscovered as I began Fantasy in D.
  7. Chorale-Prelude (DTR, 1989). With the idea of offering shorter Romantic pieces as 'space music,' I began a series of chromatic chorales for keyboard in 1989. Ideally meant for synthesizer realization, the chorales also work naturally in piano performance and are frequently included in my piano concerts. Though somewhat Germanic in character, they were also affected by Erik Satie's chorales for piano, which had intrigued me since my teens.
  8. Chorale No. 2 (DTR, 1990). [Shares liner note w/ above composition.]
  9. Frederic and the Coast (DTR, 1979). When Hurricane Frederic hit the Mississippi Coast in September, 1979, I was in Kansas City where I remained for days, initially without contact with home. Images of devastation remained in evidence long after my return; this classic habanera was written in response.
  10. Cynthia (DTR, 2003-2004, for Cynthia van Roden). Commissioned by John Dawson for his girlfriend in late 2003, Cynthia is generally of the same fabric as my suite, New Orleans Streets, an outcome of John's request that the piece reflect Cynthia's musical affinities. The song-like trio (third section) in F major reflects intents both toward ultra-lyrical rarification and broader connotations of popular song.
  11. Babe of the Mountains (DTR, 1997-1998, for Audrey Whipps Field). This lullaby-like Terra Verde composition in G-flat is redolent of my romance with central Appalachia, especially east Kentucky, and may be taken as a character sketch of an Appalachian mother and child. I regard it as a signature essay in my ongoing pursuit of the lyricism inherent in the dreamlike bond between people and land.
  12. Nancy's Library (DTR, 2004-2005, for Nancy Ginn Martin). In the life of Nancy Ginn Martin of Columbia, Missouri, family legacy thrives as vividly as in any biography one is likely to encounter, and her library is the chief repository of that history, a vessel of links to her late parents and a testament to their prominence in regional, national and foreign affairs. In Nancy's Library, commissioned by Nancy's husband, Bob Martin, I look affectionately upon the significance of remembering. The musical language I proudly refer to as Midwestern Terra Verde.)

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