As Midnight on a Moonless Night
To me, “inspiration” is a somewhat overwhelming and all-encompassing term, but it has been kind of funny to look back and reflect on certain ideas that have found their way into my music over the years. Turkey in the Straw (2008) was inspired partly by Mickey Mouse and other cartoons, Instinctive Travels (2009) by a 90’s Tribe Called Quest hip-hop album, Dreamland (2011) by contemporary 70’s louge jazz/pop artist Gary Wilson, and now I find myself inspired once again by television, borrowing the phrase “as midnight on a moonless night” from the neo-noir who-dunit small town murder mystery, Twin Peaks, created by the eccentric and somewhat off-kilter filmmaker David Lynch.
For my four years as an undergraduate, I critically studied film and television — that is, I watched a lot of movies and cartoons and wrote lots of papers and gave lots of presentations. In retrospect, it makes sense that this background continues to influence my compositions both architecturally and stylistically. I often think of my music as taking on a “Hollywood” narrative structure, not too far from traditional musical forms. I enjoy thinking of melodies in terms of specific characters, thematic development to Second Act character development, and my overall phrasing as being infused with a sense of cause and effect, rising and falling action, and some kind of impending urgency.
As Midnight on a Moonless Night might be best described as music to some dark, Lynchian film with the spirit of adventure and mystery found in John Barry’s James Bond scores or classic 1950’s film noir. The musical landscape is a stark black and white; jazz clichés confused with swung and straight time, chromatic walking bass lines that, perhaps, walk in circles, major chords perched on top of minor chords, double-time fighting with common-time, and even some femme fatale flutes all help to define the world in a somewhat abstract, seductive, and perhaps even a contradictory way. If David Lynch ever choreographed a ballet in a small red room, I hope this would be the music accompanying it.
The South Carolina Chapter of the College Band Director’s National Association; James L. Tully, State Chair for the 2012 South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band; Odd Terje Lysebo, conductor.
Mark Spede & Tim Hurlburt
Coastal Carolina University
James L. Tully & Matthew Shrewsbury
Les Hicken & Jay Bocook
University of South Carolina
Scott Weiss, Rebecca Phillips, & James Taylor
Lorrie Crochet & Catharine Bushman
Charleston Southern University
Marshall Forrester & Nicholas Holland
Markowski Creative (ASCAP)
Winds: Piccolo, Flute 1 & 2, Oboe, Bassoon 1 & 2, B-flat Clarinet 1-4, B-flat Bass Clarinet, B-flat Contrabass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone 1 & 2, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Brass: B-flat Trumpet 1-4, Horn 1-4, Trombone 1-4, Euphonium, Tuba
Strings: String Bass
Percussion: Timpani P1) Xylophone, Sm. Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, Bell Tree; P2) Vibraphone, Sm. Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, China Cymbal; P3) Two Steel Plates, Glockenspiel, Wood Block; P4) Snare Drum, Four Concert Toms; P5) Bass Drum, Tam-Tam; P6) Jazz Drum Kit
No known errata.