• Austin Theriot

©2018 by Austin Theriot

CHORAL                     CHAMBER                  ELECTROACOUSTIC

Choral Music

 

           Ecce Nova is a work for SATB, a cappella choir based on the 4th century hymn “O lux beata Trinitas” and a Latin translation of Revelation 21:3-7. In this piece, I sought to express the character and text of each movement generally through the tone of the music itself but also through various musical devices. Fanfare and dance-like rhythms in the first movement evoke jubilation, while dissonances occur at the end of the second movement on the Latin words meaning "mourning," "crying," and "pain."
 

           In the third movement, two soprano soloists sing Latin text that translates to "Behold, I am making all things new. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." The melodies that they sing to this text form a canon in retrograde inversion - as one melody moves forward, the other melody is sung backwards and upside down. In this way, the soloists sing the beginning and ending of the melody simultaneously, reflecting that God is the beginning and the end. The piece concludes on the proclamations “Praise him!” and Factum est!, meaning “It is done!”

 

          Even as we praise God here and now, we long for the coming day when we will worship him eternally without the weight of sin and sorrow, when the former things will pass away and God’s ongoing redemptive work among humanity will truly be finished.

This is the garden
By E. E. Cummings


This is the garden: colours come and go,
Frail azures fluttering from night’s outer wing,
Strong silent greens silently lingering,
Absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
This is the garden: pursed lips do blow
Upon cool flutes within wide glooms, and sing,
Of harps celestial to the quivering string,
Invisible faces hauntingly and slow.
This is the garden. Time shall surely reap,
And on Death’s blade lie many a flower curled,
In other lands where other songs be sung;
Yet stand They here enraptured, as among
The slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
Some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.

performed by KC VITAs Chamber Choir

Have mercy on me, O God,

    according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

    blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,

    and my sin is ever before me.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,

    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 

O Thou, to whom all creatures bow

within this earthly frame,

Through all the world how great art Thou!

How glorious is Thy name!

 

When heav'n, Thy beauteous work on high,

employs my wond'ring sight;

The moon that nightly gilds the sky

with stars of feebler light;

 

Lord, what is man, that still Thou love

to keep him in Thy mind!

Or what his offspring, that Thou prove

to them so wondrous kind!

 

O Thou, to whom all creatures bow

within this earthly frame,

Through all the world how great art Thou!

How glorious is Thy name!

(text adapted from Psalm 8 by Nahum Tate & Nicholas Brady, from A New Version of the Psalms of David)

Psalm 8, for SA choir (2017)  

Chamber Music

 
 

Three Night Songs (2018)   

For solo soprano, piano accompaniment 

Poetry by Pulitzer-winning, Nebraska poet, Ted Kooser.

I. Flying at Night (0:01)

II. A Quarter Moon Just Before Dawn (2:00)

III. Starlight (3:38)

Performance by Meredith Wohlgemuth

The third movement of Suite for Solo VIola is based on the motive C-B-D-Db (a transposition of the BACH theme), and this melody pervades the form of the movement. It opens with a whisper in the upper register and gradually grows into a restless, almost frantic muttering before once again returning to the quiet and lonely material which came before. The fourth and final movement explores the sounds of the Cajun fiddle music of my home state Louisiana, intermingling these with more modern harmonies until the Cajun tune is finally revealed at the end.

          Musical Trashcapades is based on selected texts from Nicolas Slonimsky’s book Lexicon of Musical Invective. This book is, in essence, a compilation of actual, published criticisms written about famous composers since Beethoven’s time, including Beethoven himself. These criticisms all share the quality of being downright mean spirited and venomously critical, but they are also hilarious and, at times, strangely apt. The composers criticized in the book are today universally regarded as some of the most important composers in Western music history, including Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, and Stravinsky, just to name a few.

 

          What follows is a small sampling of some of my favorite quotations from the book in the form of 8 short movements. In some of the movements, I tried to imitate the style of the composer or quote them, while in others, I approached the text in a way that may keep you guessing.

 

          I hope you enjoy. If not, email me your least favorite parts, and I’ll spite you by setting them to music.

Electroacoustic & Electronic Music

 

          "Sympathetic resonance" is the phenomenon in which a vibrating string, such as a piano string, causes a second string previously at rest to vibrate. In order for this to happen, the two strings must share the same note or similar overtones. In Resonances I recorded samples of piano strings sympathetically vibrating, and then I transformed those samples to create different moods and textures. Every sound in Resonances is derived from the sound of piano strings alone.