I am so happy to announce the release of Waiting to Be Born. It's a quartet I composed for the Bachtopus Accordion Ensemble as part of their 2020 Composers' Commissioning Fund. Because this project came to fruition during lockdown, there was no chance of scheduling live performances; Bachtopus has been premiering the works as videos. Robert Duncan, founder of Bachtopus, said he wanted to distinguish these productions from the typical format that became its own trope during the pandemic, which show players in their own separate panels on the screen. And so he set about making little movies that take full advantage of the film-making technology available to us today.
Waiting to Be Born is for four accordions. It's a set of variations on an original hymn that started germinating in my head 30 years ago! I am an atheist who loves gospel music, especially as it has made its way into the compositions of Carla Bley, Ray Charles, and Charles Mingus. Since the accordion is essentially a compact reed organ that sits on your chest, there's a natural progression to hear four accordions together as a massive church organ. In my mind, as the piece comes to its end, the church organ has been morphed into the calliope in Prospect Park. It starts to spin faster and faster to the point where it reaches liftoff.