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Friday, November 17, 2017
William H. (Bill) Richards: Chamber Music Minimize
(Chamber Music, listed in descending order)

21. Strange Attractors, 2005, 20 - 30 min.

Composed for the Edmonton-based improvisatory ensemble, FLUX.

Premiered by FLUX March 13, 2005, Convocation Hall, University of Alberta (as part of the U of A Department of Music “Faculty and Friends” series)

Bill Richards, piano/prepared piano
Russell Whitehead, trumpet
William Street, saxophone
Gord Graber, percussion/drum kit
Lane Arndt, guitar, electronica.


20. Wesakaychak and the Flood, 1993, 45 min.

For double quintet and percussion.
Commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
Premiered by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, November 28, 1993.


19. Anole Allemande (Lizard Dance), 1992, 7 min.

For trumpet, clarinet (Bb), viola, 'cello, and marimba.
Commissioned by the Now Age Orchestra (trumpet/director Russell Whitehead).
Premiered by the Now Age Orchestra, February 28, 1993,
Muttart Hall, Alberta College Conservatory of Music, Edmonton.


18. WANUSKEWIN, 1991, 28 min.

Thesis composition for the degree of Master of Music in Composition

Conductor and 12 players: flute 1 (fl., alto fl., picc.), flute 2 (fl., picc.), oboe (doubling Eng. Horn), Bb clarinet, bassoon., Bb trumpet, French horn., percussion 1 (vibes., drums, shakers. jingles, etc.), percussion 2 (marimba, drums, shakers. jingles, etc.), violin, viola, ‘cello.

I. Sunrise
II. Archaeologists
III. October, Part 1 - Buffalo Jump; Part 2 - A Place to Winter
IV. Architects
Premiere: Sept. 19, 1991, Convocation Hall, The University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.




NOTE: #17 (17a), Suite for String Orchestra, 1991, was incorrectly attributed by the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada to the late Toronto composer, Bill Richards

17a. Suite for String Orchestra, 1991 (revised 2005, 2006), 13'30.

For string orchestra (Vl.I, Vl.II, Vl.III and/or Viola, 'Cellos, Double Basses).
I. Prelude (new movement added 2006)
II. Allegro Moderato
III. Vivace
IV. Andante
V. Allegro Risoluto


17. Suite for String Orchestra, 1991 (revised 2005, 2006), 12 min.

For string orchestra (Vl.I, Vl.II, Vl.III and/or Viola, 'Cellos, Double Basses).
Commissioned by The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra for the Saskatoon Strings (Terry Sturge, director/conductor).

I. Allegro Moderato
II. Vivace
III. Andante
IV. Allegro Risoluto

Premiere (I, II): April 20, 1991, Castle Theatre, Aden Bowman Collegiate, Saskatoon.



16. Transformations, 1991, 10 min.

For B-flat trumpet (doubling piccolo trumpet and E-flat trumpet), marimba doubling vibraphone, two flutes, two B-flat clarinets, English horn doubling oboe, bass clarinet, and bassoon.

Premiere: January 25 1991, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


15. Soundscapes for Caerffiily Castle, 1990, 12 min.

Realized by computer-sequencer/synthesizer.
I. Prelude
II. Sarabande
III. Chorale
IV. Fugue
V. Invention

Premiere (movements II, III, IV, V): University of Saskatchewan Contemporary ChamberLab Ensemble Inaugural Concert, October 26, 1990, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. This work has since been re-written and arranged for string quartet.


14. Duet for Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, 1990, 6 min.

Premiere: March 20, 1990, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


13. Fantasia in C# Minor, 1989, 6 min. (for piano alone)

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon, Sask.


12. Two Movements for English Brass Quartet, 1990, 8 min.

For 2 cornets, E-flat horn, and euphonium.
Composed by request of the Saskatoon Brass Quartet.

I. Andante
II. Allegro vivace

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon, Sask.



11. Monophonies for Double Bass, 1989, 6.5 min.

Composed by the request of bassist Troy Milleker.

Premiere: March 8, 1990, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.
The work received an European premiere in Poland, 1998.


10. First Movement for Woodwind Quintet, 1989, 6 min.

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon.


9. Sonata for 'Cello and Double Bass, 1989, 6 min.


8. Water Lilly, 1989, 5 min.

For 10 woodwinds (2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 B-flat clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons).


7. Four Movements for String Trio, 1990, 12 min.

(a.k.a. Tones for Joan's Poems)
For violin, viola, and 'cello.
I. Andante con moto
II. Allegro moderato et poco agitato
III. Lento
IV. Allegro risoluto

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon.



6. Solo, for 'Cello alone, 1989 - 91, 7 min.

(a.k.a. Solo for Unaccompanied 'Cello)

I. Lento, poco rubato (1989, formerly Sonata in Nine Tones for 'Cello Alone)
II. Andante non troppo e poco agitato (1991)

Premiere (I): April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon, Sask.
The complete work premiered April 23, 1991, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


5. Midnight Suite: Five Movements for Woodwind Quartet, 1988, 12 min.

For flute, oboe, B-flat clarinet, and bass clarinet.

I. Waiting
II. Night Song
III. Cefn Bryn
IV. A Night Out
V. Tir-nan-'Og

Premiere: March 24, 1988, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


4. Blues in B, 1987, 5 min.

For double bass (or 'cello) and alto saxophone.

Premiere: December 3, 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.



3. Butterflies, Little Rose Hips, with Predatory Creatures, 1987, 4 min.

For flute and B-flat clarinet.

Premiere: December 3, 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


2. Snake Creeps Down, 1987, 10 min.

For clarinet, piano and African drum.

Premiere: March 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


1. S.O. Bunny Socks, 1987, 9 min.

I. Adagio, poco agitato, for alto saxophone
II. Andante sostenuto, for flute and piano
III. Ballad, for alto saxophone and piano

Premiere: March 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.



(Chamber Music, listed in descending order)

21. Strange Attractors, 2005, 20 - 30 min.

Composed for the Edmonton-based improvisatory ensemble, FLUX.

Premiered by FLUX March 13, 2005, Convocation Hall, University of Alberta (as part of the U of A Department of Music “Faculty and Friends” series)

Bill Richards, piano/prepared piano
Russell Whitehead, trumpet
William Street, saxophone
Gord Graber, percussion/drum kit
Lane Arndt, guitar, electronica.


20. Wesakaychak and the Flood, 1993, 45 min.

For double quintet and percussion.
Commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
Premiered by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, November 28, 1993.


19. Anole Allemande (Lizard Dance), 1992, 7 min.

For trumpet, clarinet (Bb), viola, 'cello, and marimba.
Commissioned by the Now Age Orchestra (trumpet/director Russell Whitehead).
Premiered by the Now Age Orchestra, February 28, 1993,
Muttart Hall, Alberta College Conservatory of Music, Edmonton.


18. WANUSKEWIN, 1991, 28 min.

Thesis composition for the degree of Master of Music in Composition

Conductor and 12 players: flute 1 (fl., alto fl., picc.), flute 2 (fl., picc.), oboe (doubling Eng. Horn), Bb clarinet, bassoon., Bb trumpet, French horn., percussion 1 (vibes., drums, shakers. jingles, etc.), percussion 2 (marimba, drums, shakers. jingles, etc.), violin, viola, ‘cello.

I. Sunrise
II. Archaeologists
III. October, Part 1 - Buffalo Jump; Part 2 - A Place to Winter
IV. Architects
Premiere: Sept. 19, 1991, Convocation Hall, The University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.




NOTE: #17 (17a), Suite for String Orchestra, 1991, was incorrectly attributed by the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada to the late Toronto composer, Bill Richards

17a. Suite for String Orchestra, 1991 (revised 2005, 2006), 13'30.

For string orchestra (Vl.I, Vl.II, Vl.III and/or Viola, 'Cellos, Double Basses).
I. Prelude (new movement added 2006)
II. Allegro Moderato
III. Vivace
IV. Andante
V. Allegro Risoluto


17. Suite for String Orchestra, 1991 (revised 2005, 2006), 12 min.

For string orchestra (Vl.I, Vl.II, Vl.III and/or Viola, 'Cellos, Double Basses).
Commissioned by The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra for the Saskatoon Strings (Terry Sturge, director/conductor).

I. Allegro Moderato
II. Vivace
III. Andante
IV. Allegro Risoluto

Premiere (I, II): April 20, 1991, Castle Theatre, Aden Bowman Collegiate, Saskatoon.



16. Transformations, 1991, 10 min.

For B-flat trumpet (doubling piccolo trumpet and E-flat trumpet), marimba doubling vibraphone, two flutes, two B-flat clarinets, English horn doubling oboe, bass clarinet, and bassoon.

Premiere: January 25 1991, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


15. Soundscapes for Caerffiily Castle, 1990, 12 min.

Realized by computer-sequencer/synthesizer.
I. Prelude
II. Sarabande
III. Chorale
IV. Fugue
V. Invention

Premiere (movements II, III, IV, V): University of Saskatchewan Contemporary ChamberLab Ensemble Inaugural Concert, October 26, 1990, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. This work has since been re-written and arranged for string quartet.


14. Duet for Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, 1990, 6 min.

Premiere: March 20, 1990, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


13. Fantasia in C# Minor, 1989, 6 min. (for piano alone)

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon, Sask.


12. Two Movements for English Brass Quartet, 1990, 8 min.

For 2 cornets, E-flat horn, and euphonium.
Composed by request of the Saskatoon Brass Quartet.

I. Andante
II. Allegro vivace

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon, Sask.



11. Monophonies for Double Bass, 1989, 6.5 min.

Composed by the request of bassist Troy Milleker.

Premiere: March 8, 1990, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.
The work received an European premiere in Poland, 1998.


10. First Movement for Woodwind Quintet, 1989, 6 min.

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon.


9. Sonata for 'Cello and Double Bass, 1989, 6 min.


8. Water Lilly, 1989, 5 min.

For 10 woodwinds (2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 B-flat clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons).


7. Four Movements for String Trio, 1990, 12 min.

(a.k.a. Tones for Joan's Poems)
For violin, viola, and 'cello.
I. Andante con moto
II. Allegro moderato et poco agitato
III. Lento
IV. Allegro risoluto

Premiere: April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon.



6. Solo, for 'Cello alone, 1989 - 91, 7 min.

(a.k.a. Solo for Unaccompanied 'Cello)

I. Lento, poco rubato (1989, formerly Sonata in Nine Tones for 'Cello Alone)
II. Andante non troppo e poco agitato (1991)

Premiere (I): April 4, 1990, The Bassment, Saskatoon, Sask.
The complete work premiered April 23, 1991, Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


5. Midnight Suite: Five Movements for Woodwind Quartet, 1988, 12 min.

For flute, oboe, B-flat clarinet, and bass clarinet.

I. Waiting
II. Night Song
III. Cefn Bryn
IV. A Night Out
V. Tir-nan-'Og

Premiere: March 24, 1988, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


4. Blues in B, 1987, 5 min.

For double bass (or 'cello) and alto saxophone.

Premiere: December 3, 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.



3. Butterflies, Little Rose Hips, with Predatory Creatures, 1987, 4 min.

For flute and B-flat clarinet.

Premiere: December 3, 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


2. Snake Creeps Down, 1987, 10 min.

For clarinet, piano and African drum.

Premiere: March 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


1. S.O. Bunny Socks, 1987, 9 min.

I. Adagio, poco agitato, for alto saxophone
II. Andante sostenuto, for flute and piano
III. Ballad, for alto saxophone and piano

Premiere: March 1987, Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.



Bill's notes for selected works Minimize
Strange Attractors, 2005

The composition is generated from the research I was conducting in the Fall of 2004 towards a specialized transformational system that I developed. This system entails arithmetic operations in specially defined modular spaces on interval-class successions derived from a collection of pc-sets that were determined during the initial pre-compositional process. The results of such operations resemble the behavior of the characteristic dynamical systems that have been subjected to explanation through chaos theory. In other words, the transformations developed though the compositional processes are nonlinear. The title “Strange Attractors” is a reference to chaos theory.






Wesakaychak and the Flood
An Interpretation for Chamber Orchestra
of the Cree Legend as told to Anne Boulton

Forward

The purpose of this document is to give you, the actors and musicians, an idea of how I interpreted the music in terms of Anne Boulton's script. For your convenience, I have produced a computer sequenced/synthesizer performance of the score on the cassette tape that accompanies this document. The timbres and balance of the synthesized instruments will give you a pretty good idea of how the score will actually sound. More importantly is that the content of the score, in terms of the actual composition, comes across very well.


One of the challenges I encountered in this project was to produce music that would convey the story of Wesakaychak and the Flood so that the music would support the actors and, at the same time, feature the chamber ensemble. In other words, I have endeavored to produce a work that is functional but could stand alone as concert music. Furthermore, the music I have composed must make cultural references in a context that is not part of the North American aboriginal tradition. I have used a compositional approach that involves the synthesis of Plains Indian musical design and contemporary and traditional European compositional techniques. I hope the result will have satisfied the requirements of this project without indulging in cultural appropriation. I hope what I have accomplished is the bringing together of two very unique traditions: the tradition of the story teller in native North American culture and the tradition of the composer in Western art music.


The Script: General Considerations

I have used Anne's script as a guide in the development of this work. The music is approximately 40 mins. in duration, however it has been contrived to accommodate voice overs from the narrator and the actors so that the total production could take place in the space of 50 mins. If necessary, the score can be cut, and I would leave that up to you where you feel these cuts should take place (there are several spots in the score where cuts would make musical and dramatic sense).

I ask that, in the premiere of this work, the entire work is performed.

The Score

The names of the various movements, as they appear on the score, are given in bold type. These movements coincide with the music cues that are indicated in the script. Measure numbers are sometimes used as reference points. The length of each movement is given.

I - Prelude (4' 15")
Script reference: (Pastoral) precedes Narrator
- this movement sets the scene, no narration.
- each main character is introduced by way of a theme; other animals can be introduced as you wish.
1. Bison, horn, mm. 2 - 16
2. Eagle,violin, mm. 3 - 17
(Bison/Eagle: four antiphonal statements)
3. Sisip (duck), oboe, mm. 18 - 25
4. Sagesiw (mink), clarinet, mm. 27 - 34
5. Amisk (beaver), bassoon, mm. 34 - 41
6. Wuchusk (muskrat), viola, mm. 49 - 62
7. Wappagosis (mouse), concurrent with Wuchusk, flute, mm. 52 - 62
8. mm. 67 - foreshadows Wesakaychak . . .
II - The Storm (4' 50")
Script reference: voice-over - Narrator: One day there was a terrible flood . . .
- this could coincide with the raindrop sounds (pizzicato strings)
Ends with voice-over - Narrator: The animals were wet and miserable . . .
- this coincides with the sad, slow music at the end of the movement (mm. 87 ff)





Anole Allemande (Lizard Dance), 1992

(To be read to the audience by the ensemble leader):

There is a small rain-forest terrarium in the living room of a house where three children keep their pet lizards. The lizards, Mondo Anole and Iochy Daw, are Carolina anoles (Anolis carolinensis, a type of American Chameleon). The two anoles spend their days basking in the sunlight, sitting on a rock or a leaf, or perhaps hanging from a branch. At times they become hungry and begin to search for a tasty cricket to satisfy their singular culinary tastes. After a juicy cricket is selected and eaten, the little lizards find a comfortable spot to digest their meal where they can reflect upon the experience of “being lizard” and speculate about the great mysteries of life. The lizards are very aware of each other, and have been close friends ever since they were hatched. When they are feeling especially good, they will turn a stunning shade of turquoise and, if nobody is watching, they might even have a little dance.





Wanuskewin: A Documentary Film Score for Chamber Orchestra (1991)

My master’s thesis, “Wanuskewin: A Documentary Film Score for Chamber Orchestra,” in two volumes, comprises a volume of prose describing my research and compositional processes that lead to the realization of the score and a volume comprising my score for a forty-five minute work for chamber orchestra. My primary goal was to bring together two very unique traditions: the tradition of the story teller in native North American culture and the tradition of the composer in Western art music. The premiere took place at Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon on September 19, 1991, with Russell Whitehead conducting. The rehearsals and the performance were funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board grant (creative B).

The work was well received and was performed again at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon (sponsored by the Wanuskewin Heritage Park). Sequenced versions of the work were also used in a trailer promoting Saskatchewan archeology. Based on the successful reception of the work, the Department of Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan later engaged me to compose and produce the music for the SCN television series, Introduction to Native Studies. Following this, I was commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony orchestra in collaboration with the Gabriel Dumont Institute and the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teachers Education program to compose a work for chamber orchestra that depicts the Cree story of Wesakaychak and the Flood.



First Movement for Woodwind Quintet, 1989

I composed First Movement for Woodwind Quintet in late 1989 as part of my graduate work in composition at the University of Saskatchewan. Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Paul Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik für Funf Blaser, and the combinatorial principles underlying some of Arnold Schoenberg’s atonal compositions inspired this work.

The approach to the realization of First Movement begins with the precompositional exploration of the generative potential of a single hexachord and its literal complement. This process of discovery leads to the definition of the linear shapes (melodic, thematic) and sonorities that in turn become compositional. Neither of the two hexachords (the generative hexachord and its complement) is subjected to the canonical twelve-tone operations of transposition, transposition-inversion, and retrograde. Rather, the musical objects that are woven into the compositional fabric of this work are always based on permutations of the pitch-classes that define each of the two hexachords. Thus, the interacting linear and vertical formations of First Movement derive exclusively from these complement-related hexachords.

The first (or generative) hexachord produces the pitches of the opening chorale-like theme; the counterpoint derives from the second hexachord (the literal complement of the generative hexachord which, by coincidence, is the transposed inversion of the first). As the piece unfolds, the two hexachords alternately function in primary and secondary contrapuntal roles; at times, they coalesce into homophonies. Local and large-scale form develops from the small motivic shapes heard in the opening chorale-like theme. Contour, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, texture, timbre, and registration play active roles in shaping the pitch materials into an animated musical entity.

Since the complement relation between the two hexachords is literal, the hexachords in combination periodically express the aggregate (the twelve tones of the chromatic scale). Yet the work is neither serial nor convincingly pan-tonal. Rather, a sense of centricity emerges through the restricted use of the two hexachords in alternating linear and vertical roles, the motivic and thematic objects derived from them, and the sonorities that the interacting hexachords yield. The result of this compositional approach is a work that evinces marked organic unity.

First Movement premiered April 4, 1990 in Saskatoon. As the title implies, one expects other movements to follow. Unfortunately, these movements will remain in sketch format until the time arises to realize them into full scores.



Solo, for 'cello alone, 1990

The first movement of Solo, for 'cello alone was originally intended to be an interlude for 'cello solo in another composition, Tones for Joan's Poem (an interpretation of the poetry of J. P. Nourray-Barry for string trio). Upon completion, it occurred to me that this movement could stand alone as a short work for 'cello. Thus, it premiered April 4, 1990 in Saskatoon as Sonata in Nine Tones for ’Cello alone. As the title suggests, this work exploits nine of the twelve tones of the chromatic system in a quasi-serial environment. In 1991, I complemented this piece with a second movement generated from the three pitches not used in Sonata. The entire work premiered April 23, 1991 in Saskatoon, performed by Linda Bardutz (principal 'cellist, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra).


Strange Attractors, 2005

The composition is generated from the research I was conducting in the Fall of 2004 towards a specialized transformational system that I developed. This system entails arithmetic operations in specially defined modular spaces on interval-class successions derived from a collection of pc-sets that were determined during the initial pre-compositional process. The results of such operations resemble the behavior of the characteristic dynamical systems that have been subjected to explanation through chaos theory. In other words, the transformations developed though the compositional processes are nonlinear. The title “Strange Attractors” is a reference to chaos theory.






Wesakaychak and the Flood
An Interpretation for Chamber Orchestra
of the Cree Legend as told to Anne Boulton

Forward

The purpose of this document is to give you, the actors and musicians, an idea of how I interpreted the music in terms of Anne Boulton's script. For your convenience, I have produced a computer sequenced/synthesizer performance of the score on the cassette tape that accompanies this document. The timbres and balance of the synthesized instruments will give you a pretty good idea of how the score will actually sound. More importantly is that the content of the score, in terms of the actual composition, comes across very well.


One of the challenges I encountered in this project was to produce music that would convey the story of Wesakaychak and the Flood so that the music would support the actors and, at the same time, feature the chamber ensemble. In other words, I have endeavored to produce a work that is functional but could stand alone as concert music. Furthermore, the music I have composed must make cultural references in a context that is not part of the North American aboriginal tradition. I have used a compositional approach that involves the synthesis of Plains Indian musical design and contemporary and traditional European compositional techniques. I hope the result will have satisfied the requirements of this project without indulging in cultural appropriation. I hope what I have accomplished is the bringing together of two very unique traditions: the tradition of the story teller in native North American culture and the tradition of the composer in Western art music.


The Script: General Considerations

I have used Anne's script as a guide in the development of this work. The music is approximately 40 mins. in duration, however it has been contrived to accommodate voice overs from the narrator and the actors so that the total production could take place in the space of 50 mins. If necessary, the score can be cut, and I would leave that up to you where you feel these cuts should take place (there are several spots in the score where cuts would make musical and dramatic sense).

I ask that, in the premiere of this work, the entire work is performed.

The Score

The names of the various movements, as they appear on the score, are given in bold type. These movements coincide with the music cues that are indicated in the script. Measure numbers are sometimes used as reference points. The length of each movement is given.

I - Prelude (4' 15")
Script reference: (Pastoral) precedes Narrator
- this movement sets the scene, no narration.
- each main character is introduced by way of a theme; other animals can be introduced as you wish.
1. Bison, horn, mm. 2 - 16
2. Eagle,violin, mm. 3 - 17
(Bison/Eagle: four antiphonal statements)
3. Sisip (duck), oboe, mm. 18 - 25
4. Sagesiw (mink), clarinet, mm. 27 - 34
5. Amisk (beaver), bassoon, mm. 34 - 41
6. Wuchusk (muskrat), viola, mm. 49 - 62
7. Wappagosis (mouse), concurrent with Wuchusk, flute, mm. 52 - 62
8. mm. 67 - foreshadows Wesakaychak . . .
II - The Storm (4' 50")
Script reference: voice-over - Narrator: One day there was a terrible flood . . .
- this could coincide with the raindrop sounds (pizzicato strings)
Ends with voice-over - Narrator: The animals were wet and miserable . . .
- this coincides with the sad, slow music at the end of the movement (mm. 87 ff)





Anole Allemande (Lizard Dance), 1992

(To be read to the audience by the ensemble leader):

There is a small rain-forest terrarium in the living room of a house where three children keep their pet lizards. The lizards, Mondo Anole and Iochy Daw, are Carolina anoles (Anolis carolinensis, a type of American Chameleon). The two anoles spend their days basking in the sunlight, sitting on a rock or a leaf, or perhaps hanging from a branch. At times they become hungry and begin to search for a tasty cricket to satisfy their singular culinary tastes. After a juicy cricket is selected and eaten, the little lizards find a comfortable spot to digest their meal where they can reflect upon the experience of “being lizard” and speculate about the great mysteries of life. The lizards are very aware of each other, and have been close friends ever since they were hatched. When they are feeling especially good, they will turn a stunning shade of turquoise and, if nobody is watching, they might even have a little dance.





Wanuskewin: A Documentary Film Score for Chamber Orchestra (1991)

My master’s thesis, “Wanuskewin: A Documentary Film Score for Chamber Orchestra,” in two volumes, comprises a volume of prose describing my research and compositional processes that lead to the realization of the score and a volume comprising my score for a forty-five minute work for chamber orchestra. My primary goal was to bring together two very unique traditions: the tradition of the story teller in native North American culture and the tradition of the composer in Western art music. The premiere took place at Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon on September 19, 1991, with Russell Whitehead conducting. The rehearsals and the performance were funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board grant (creative B).

The work was well received and was performed again at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon (sponsored by the Wanuskewin Heritage Park). Sequenced versions of the work were also used in a trailer promoting Saskatchewan archeology. Based on the successful reception of the work, the Department of Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan later engaged me to compose and produce the music for the SCN television series, Introduction to Native Studies. Following this, I was commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony orchestra in collaboration with the Gabriel Dumont Institute and the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teachers Education program to compose a work for chamber orchestra that depicts the Cree story of Wesakaychak and the Flood.



First Movement for Woodwind Quintet, 1989

I composed First Movement for Woodwind Quintet in late 1989 as part of my graduate work in composition at the University of Saskatchewan. Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Paul Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik für Funf Blaser, and the combinatorial principles underlying some of Arnold Schoenberg’s atonal compositions inspired this work.

The approach to the realization of First Movement begins with the precompositional exploration of the generative potential of a single hexachord and its literal complement. This process of discovery leads to the definition of the linear shapes (melodic, thematic) and sonorities that in turn become compositional. Neither of the two hexachords (the generative hexachord and its complement) is subjected to the canonical twelve-tone operations of transposition, transposition-inversion, and retrograde. Rather, the musical objects that are woven into the compositional fabric of this work are always based on permutations of the pitch-classes that define each of the two hexachords. Thus, the interacting linear and vertical formations of First Movement derive exclusively from these complement-related hexachords.

The first (or generative) hexachord produces the pitches of the opening chorale-like theme; the counterpoint derives from the second hexachord (the literal complement of the generative hexachord which, by coincidence, is the transposed inversion of the first). As the piece unfolds, the two hexachords alternately function in primary and secondary contrapuntal roles; at times, they coalesce into homophonies. Local and large-scale form develops from the small motivic shapes heard in the opening chorale-like theme. Contour, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, texture, timbre, and registration play active roles in shaping the pitch materials into an animated musical entity.

Since the complement relation between the two hexachords is literal, the hexachords in combination periodically express the aggregate (the twelve tones of the chromatic scale). Yet the work is neither serial nor convincingly pan-tonal. Rather, a sense of centricity emerges through the restricted use of the two hexachords in alternating linear and vertical roles, the motivic and thematic objects derived from them, and the sonorities that the interacting hexachords yield. The result of this compositional approach is a work that evinces marked organic unity.

First Movement premiered April 4, 1990 in Saskatoon. As the title implies, one expects other movements to follow. Unfortunately, these movements will remain in sketch format until the time arises to realize them into full scores.



Solo, for 'cello alone, 1990

The first movement of Solo, for 'cello alone was originally intended to be an interlude for 'cello solo in another composition, Tones for Joan's Poem (an interpretation of the poetry of J. P. Nourray-Barry for string trio). Upon completion, it occurred to me that this movement could stand alone as a short work for 'cello. Thus, it premiered April 4, 1990 in Saskatoon as Sonata in Nine Tones for ’Cello alone. As the title suggests, this work exploits nine of the twelve tones of the chromatic system in a quasi-serial environment. In 1991, I complemented this piece with a second movement generated from the three pitches not used in Sonata. The entire work premiered April 23, 1991 in Saskatoon, performed by Linda Bardutz (principal 'cellist, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra).


More about Wesakaychak and the Flood - Press release, 1993Minimize
WESAKAYCHAK AND THE FLOOD

A joint project of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and the
Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP)
(Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research)


The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and SUNTEP are undertaking a new project in cross-cultural programming that is both artistic and educational.


Wesakaychak and the Flood is a Cree legend that emphasizes the importance of the relationship of community and individual in the context of crisis. As a story, it is a Cree cultural treasure that can be appreciated by peoples from diverse cultural backgrounds; as a Cree myth, it reveals a universal truth about the interdependence of life, the earth, and spirituality.


Anne Boulton, a faculty advisor with SUNTEP, has set Wesakaychak and the Flood into a script from which actors (at first, SUNTEP students, with director Raymon Montalbetti) will create masks, costumes, and backdrops, and develop movement and vocal characterizations. Composer William Richards is presently creating a score, which will be performed by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra's Chamber Ensemble, that employs a synthesis of contemporary Western compositional techniques and North American aboriginal musical design. Thus the tradition of the story teller in native North American culture and the tradition of the composer in Western art music are brought together in this cross-cultural excursion.


Wesakaychak and the Flood is the story of how the animals of the earth came to be stranded after a great rain flooded all the land. The animals were helpless and terrified: even the mighty buffalo and eagle felt powerless. In desperation, they called for Wesakaychak, the trickster, to come to their aid. In the end, Wesakaychak helped them by showing each of them the way to help themselves. Perhaps Wesakaychak had played a trick on all of them so that they learned some very important lessons.


The trickster is a common figure throughout the Great Plains cultures. Empowered with strong medicine, he is sometimes a teacher, sometimes a healer, sometimes a prankster - in all cases, he represents those elements of experience that are difficult to explain or predict.


The timing of the telling of Wesakaychak and the Flood is after the first snowfall, when winter has set in. In the old days, winter represented a time of potential danger: the cold and the shortage of food presented the people with the threat of annihilation. This myth reminds each person that the community is nothing without the individual, and that within each of us there is caring, courage, and the capacity for great personal sacrifice. Even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant creature is important. Furthermore, the trickster demonstrates how essential the earth is to our well being and reminds each of us that we are of the earth and not something apart from it. Today, humankind is facing one of the greatest 'winters' of all our experience. If we forget our myths and ignore the truth of our being, we will be lost forever.


Wesakaychak and the Flood will premiere November 28, 1993. Although the project is being primarily developed towards the Grade 4 - 8 age group, adults and small children will enjoy the performance. Following the premiere, Wesakaychak and the Flood will be presented in series of performances at various Saskatoon public schools scheduled for December, 1993.


In 1994, a package of material, including a recording of the score, a copy of the script, and a unit plan, will be available from SUNTEP for classroom use. Through the vehicle of theatre, students will be able to explore the traditions of native North America, including art, music and dancing, which emphasize the sacredness of the earth and the relationship of all livings things to the earth and each other.


Bill Richards, Feb. 11, 1993


For more information, contact:
Shirley Spafford, General Manager, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra
Anne Boulton, SUNTEP Saskatoon
WESAKAYCHAK AND THE FLOOD

A joint project of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and the
Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP)
(Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research)


The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and SUNTEP are undertaking a new project in cross-cultural programming that is both artistic and educational.


Wesakaychak and the Flood is a Cree legend that emphasizes the importance of the relationship of community and individual in the context of crisis. As a story, it is a Cree cultural treasure that can be appreciated by peoples from diverse cultural backgrounds; as a Cree myth, it reveals a universal truth about the interdependence of life, the earth, and spirituality.


Anne Boulton, a faculty advisor with SUNTEP, has set Wesakaychak and the Flood into a script from which actors (at first, SUNTEP students, with director Raymon Montalbetti) will create masks, costumes, and backdrops, and develop movement and vocal characterizations. Composer William Richards is presently creating a score, which will be performed by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra's Chamber Ensemble, that employs a synthesis of contemporary Western compositional techniques and North American aboriginal musical design. Thus the tradition of the story teller in native North American culture and the tradition of the composer in Western art music are brought together in this cross-cultural excursion.


Wesakaychak and the Flood is the story of how the animals of the earth came to be stranded after a great rain flooded all the land. The animals were helpless and terrified: even the mighty buffalo and eagle felt powerless. In desperation, they called for Wesakaychak, the trickster, to come to their aid. In the end, Wesakaychak helped them by showing each of them the way to help themselves. Perhaps Wesakaychak had played a trick on all of them so that they learned some very important lessons.


The trickster is a common figure throughout the Great Plains cultures. Empowered with strong medicine, he is sometimes a teacher, sometimes a healer, sometimes a prankster - in all cases, he represents those elements of experience that are difficult to explain or predict.


The timing of the telling of Wesakaychak and the Flood is after the first snowfall, when winter has set in. In the old days, winter represented a time of potential danger: the cold and the shortage of food presented the people with the threat of annihilation. This myth reminds each person that the community is nothing without the individual, and that within each of us there is caring, courage, and the capacity for great personal sacrifice. Even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant creature is important. Furthermore, the trickster demonstrates how essential the earth is to our well being and reminds each of us that we are of the earth and not something apart from it. Today, humankind is facing one of the greatest 'winters' of all our experience. If we forget our myths and ignore the truth of our being, we will be lost forever.


Wesakaychak and the Flood will premiere November 28, 1993. Although the project is being primarily developed towards the Grade 4 - 8 age group, adults and small children will enjoy the performance. Following the premiere, Wesakaychak and the Flood will be presented in series of performances at various Saskatoon public schools scheduled for December, 1993.


In 1994, a package of material, including a recording of the score, a copy of the script, and a unit plan, will be available from SUNTEP for classroom use. Through the vehicle of theatre, students will be able to explore the traditions of native North America, including art, music and dancing, which emphasize the sacredness of the earth and the relationship of all livings things to the earth and each other.


Bill Richards, Feb. 11, 1993


For more information, contact:
Shirley Spafford, General Manager, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra
Anne Boulton, SUNTEP Saskatoon
William H. (Bill) Richards Suite for String Orchestra, 1991 (revised 2005, 2006) - sequenced version ©