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  • Writer's picturegeemark

First movement: The Overstory Suite

The Overstory by Richard Powers, published in 2018, received critical acclaim and provided the inspiration for the first in many pieces related in some way to the book's characters and their stories. See a review in the Guardian:

By my use of the phrase "first in many", I am publicly committing myself to the production of said "many". The first installment is titled Hoel's Chestnut. The Hoel family religiously photographed their majestic Chestnut growing on their Iowa farm, once a year for 100 years. The music inspired by the Hoel Chestnut takes us through one growing season beginning with late summer.

A word about composing. Given the inspiration of producing a musical impression of a year in the life of a tree, I have noticed a more organic aspect to the birth and growth of this piece. The melodies, chordal structure, and orchestration all occurred spontaneously about 75% of the time. The ideas came along mostly complete, without much cogitation needed on my part. There were decisions about which instrument would carry the melody, which would carry the counterpoint. There are 5 semi discrete sections. I began each section with a general vision and feeling about the tree in that season. I let the vision and feeling permeate my being for a period then just sat down and, note by note, entered it to the score. Almost like data input from a an anonymous source. I knew I was approaching the ending of the piece, but it occurred on its own volition. That sound's ridiculous, never-the-less, I was surprised as the ending took shape.

I hope this first piece of the Overstory Suite interests and possibly moves you. If not, it's only 8 minutes long so what the heck, give it a listen.

And, I've added a subscribe option if you would like email updates.

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