"CALIFORNIA COLLAGE" - live at California State University East Bay
East Bay Singers under the direction of Stephanie Rios and Buddy James
June, 2, 2018
“California Collage” is a three-part work for chorus, piano duo and percussion. It was completed in 2014. The thematic content of each section is based on California folk songs. In each section, an important part of California history is addressed, providing a look at the turbulent struggles and astounding growth of our state. Each separate movement was awarded a prize in the Music Teachers Association of California Composers Today State-wide Competition. For more information, check out my blog post: “California Collage”
Journey for Gold
"Journey for Gold” describes the California Gold Rush from the point of view of the miners and their significant women left at home. This movement uses two contrasting themes, the robust "Ox Driving Song" and the melancholy, "California Boy." It depicts the unpredictable, bumpy trek across the country to the California gold fields. For more information, check out my blog post: “Journey for Gold”
"Laying Rails" portrays the building of the Transcontinental Railroad (1863-1869,) This engineering feat dramatically changed geographic accessibility within the United States. ‘Laying Rails” honors the Chinese and Irish workers, the two ethnic groups largely responsible for building this railroad. It includes a Chinese song: "Jasmine Flowers of the Sixth Moon," and an Irish song: "Drill Ye, Tarriers." For more information, check out my blog post: “Laying Rails”
"CALIFORNIA COLLAGE" Laying Rails
Since composing has taken center stage in my life, I have been fortunate to win several awards through the Music Teachers Association of California Composers Today Competition. The recent awards have been given to all three parts of my triptych: “California Collage,” written for chorus and piano duo plus percussion. It was completed in 2014. Each section is approximately eight minutes long, and can be performed individually or as a whole cycle. The thematic content of each section is based on traditional California folk music. In each work, an important part of California history is addressed, providing a look at the turbulent struggles and astounding growth of our state. “Origins” captures the conflict between the Native Americans with the arrival of Spanish missionaries. “Journey for Gold” tells the story of the Gold Rush from the woman’s perspective, and “Laying Rails” describes the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
“Laying Rails” involves a Chinese song: "Jasmine Flowers of the Sixth Moon,"and an Irish song: "Drill Ye, Tarriers." The piece portrays the building of the Transcontinental Railroad (1863-1869,) an engineering feat that dramatically changed geographic accessibility within the United States.
The Chinese and Irish workers represented many of the brave men who constructed the Transcontinental Railroad. "Drill Ye Tarriers" is a gritty, percussive song, depicting the dangerous and tedious job of laying rails. "Jasmine Flowers" is a more reflective song, alluding to the men who left China to perform this laborious and often heroic work and their sad, lonely wives at home. There was no guarantee that these men would return to China and most did not. “Jasmine Flowers” is sung in both Cantonese and English. The piece begins with each song featured individually. They later combine to demonstrate the unified efforts of diverse cultures to achieve a monumental goal.
The audio recording took place in Marin County, California in 2015 under the direction of Martha Wall, featuring her chorus, along with pianists Marie Carbone and Paul Smith. After I selected traditional photographs of the era, Daphne Saul created a vimeo by combining those photographs with the recording.
Nancie composed "Turkish Impressions" following a trip she took to Turkey in 2013. There, she was inspired by the Whirling Dervish dances, the grand geologic formations towering throughout Cappadocia and the accidental antiphonal effect of several Muezzins' "Calls to Prayer" from one mosque to the next throughout the day.
The piece is written in a modified ABA form and is scored for traditional winds and strings, plus hammered dulcimer. To capture the quality of Middle Eastern music, Nancie utilized quarter tones with bending pitches and a Phrygian melody, a mode found frequently in traditional Turkish music. She also incorporated specific Turkish rhythmic patterns, plus the alternation between 4/4 and 5/4 meters.
"Turkish Impressions" was recently performed by the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, featuring Steve Eulberg on hammered dulcimer.
Theme and Variations
George P. Tingley, piano
“Theme and Variations” features a simple theme that is developed into three variations with contrasting moods, tempi and dynamics. This is an accessible piece for intermediate and early advanced pianists. This piece won 2nd prize in the MTAC Composers Today competition.
Variation 1: “Spiritoso:” Raucous and bold
Variation 2: “Meno Mosso:” Meditative
Variation 3: “Con Moto:” Energetic, driving
Valse in C minor
George P. Tingley, piano
After playing and teaching many Chopin Waltzes, I was inspired to write my own "Valse in C minor."
Gigue in A minor
George P. Tingley, arrangement
George Tingley created this beautiful orchestration of my “Gigue.”
I was inspired by the lively Baroque dance form when I composed this piece. It can be performed by solo piano as well.