Orchestral, Conceptual and Ensemble Music CD (2005)
Steve Kornicki, Composer

November 21, 2008 -- "25 x 8" can be heard on NPR's nationally syndicated ambient music program Hearts of Space (playlist).
CD available from amazon.com or cdbaby.com

CD in most significant releases (Classical, 20th / 21st century) Rhapsody.com digital distribution (March 2005)

CD track "25 x 8" spotlight in NewMusicBox, Web magazine from the American Music Center (January 2006)

Editor's pick (November 2005 - February 2006) - CDBaby.com

November 2005 Significant Releases/Top 20 - WXPN's Star's End Ambient Radio

"The eight compositions appearing on Orchestral, Conceptual and Ensemble Music (78'46") provide insight into the musical range of composer Steve Kornicki. The program moves from the live philharmonic textures of the opening piece to the rapid careening of mallet instruments on the closer. In between, it would seem Kornicki is occupied with writing the lost chapter of ambient music - the one pertaining to symphonic music. His work here is lucid, pensive and subtly charged. These works superbly express the complexional range of orchestral timbres through the exploration of harmonic opposition and variances in dissonance and resolution. The slow paced development, necessary in the overall musical drama, forges deep structures. The style is understated and concerned with quietude. Simple form and subtle motion provide a quiet elegance, while a palette of timeless symphonic timbres adds fresh insight into what this classic medium can aspire to. Kornicki's concepts exist in an eternal future outside of our time, a time where the secrets of the universe are made audible." - Chuck van Zyl, STAR'S END AMBIENT RADIO (November 2005)

"Containing 8 tracks, many Eno-esque (and that's good!) the real standout is Morning Star Rising. As recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic, this composition is a gorgeous, impressionistic interpretation of Anthony Aveni's Conversing with the Planets. Awash in color, alive with melody it echoes both Debussy and Hovhaness and has the rare distinction of being a piece of modern classical music that is wholly hopeful and engaging. Now how do we get the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to add this native Pittsburgher's piece to their repertoire?" - David Lesondak, Point of Light Magazine (Western Pennsylvania's Journal of Meaningful Living) - Winter 2005-06 Issue


Cover art by Artist Kip Herring - "Prairie Dream", pastels 11 x 14. Please visit my good friend's website



"How's this for a new approach to mathematical music? Take a CD containing 25 tracks consisting of loops of single tones sampled from a group of instruments, make 8 copies of said CD, assemble 8 CD players and play the discs on random shuffle simultaneously. If you're troubled by the arithmetic, stop here. If not, read
on... Each of the single tones reside within 6 notes of a diatonic scale (7 possible tones) and the bass tones are produced by pitch shifting the flute samples down several octaves (which is done by powers of 2, alas).

Other tracks sustain and repeat subsets from 12-tone rows, gradually introducing the entire aggregate in a shimmering ostinato that recalls Steve Reich's pulsating canti in a way that would make James Tenney proud. Now, you can not know any of this and still enjoy the music (the secret recipe is revealed on Kornicki's website but the CD booklet remains silent), or you can love the music and want to know more. I loved the music and read the web site and now want to know even more." -Frank J. Oteri, Composer and
Editor and Publisher, NewMusicBox, American Music Center (January 2006)

 

CD AVAILABLE by credit card from cdbaby.com or order by check directly from Steve by contacting him at kornicki@yahoo.com

Tracks from this CD have had radio play on NPR's Hearts of Space (international); WXPN's "Star's End" (Philadelphia); Contemporary Classical Internet Radio - website; WORT-FM's "RTQE" (Madison, WI); WPRB (Princeton, NJ); WQED (Pittsburgh, PA); WXPH (Harrisburg, PA); WKHS (Baltimore, MD); 104.9 FM (Allentown and Bethlehem, PA); KGNU 88.5FM (Boulder, CO); KGNU 1390AM (Denver, CO); WMUH's "The AM/FM Show" (Allentown, PA); KLCC's "New Dreamers" (Eugene, OR); WCMU (NPR Michigan); WPRB (Princeton, NJ); WHUS-FM's "Pushing the Envelope" (Storrs, CT)

Composer Steve Kornicki’s extensive professional experience and creative inventiveness enable him to compose accessible music based on original musical processes and formulas. He integrates diverse sonic elements into a unique and personal vision while drawing inspiration from the natural sciences, the vast expanses of the American Southwest, and conceptual music theory. His music is intellectual and compelling and has been described as colorful and evocative with a profound emotional impact.

Notes by Steve Kornicki
ORCHESTRAL, CONCEPTUAL AND ENSEMBLE MUSIC is a 79-minute CD anthology of pieces dating from 2001-2005. The order of the pieces was selected to create a cohesive listening experience. The title of the compact disc reflects the content and nature of the music and is a general statement regarding my pure vision and intent regarding the music. Morning Star Rising is the only programmatic composition on the program with the remaining titles relating to the purity of sound. My intention is to exclude political, religious or social concerns in the pieces. They exist as “audio art” for the listener and hopefully will allow the individual to become a participant in the cerebral process of music appreciation for its own sake as a pure sonic experience.

Of the eight compositions on this CD, three are instrumental performances (tracks 1, 7, 8) while the remaining five were constructed in my recording studio and thus can be considered "electro-acoustic" pieces. This group of music utilizes the recording of live instruments as their source material with those sounds manipulated, transformed and processed through electronic means. There are no sounds of electronic origin (i.e. sounds generated by synthesizers) on this CD compilation. Because of the organic nature of these five pre-recorded compositions, I consider them ensemble and orchestral music as well as conceptual.

Conceptual Music
My vision of conceptual music utilizes and encompasses systematic processes, randomness, electronic transformation or manipulation, improvisation, and predetermined musical systems to create mesmerizing sonic environments. Tracks 2 through 6 are pieces for recorded media and each consist of various instruments that have been recorded, electronically transformed and randomly layered to produce dense, textural webs of sound. Track 7 is an ensemble performance piece that follows a conceptual scheme of pre-determined pitch and rhythmic systems.


MORNING STAR RISING (SYMPHONY #1) - (2002)
(15:37) Download MP3 Excerpt
Kiev Philharmonic
Robert Ian Winstin, conductor
Morning Star Rising is an impressionistic, symphonic narrative in six sections for orchestra, recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic and inspired by the book "Conversing with the Planets" by astronomer and anthropologist Anthony Aveni. The book's subject is ancient people's "celestial mythology" and how their rituals, beliefs and practices shaped their understanding of the natural world. The piece is a culmination of orchestral ideas and concepts that I was developing from the early 1990s to the composition’s completion in 2002. The compositional process and orchestration of the piece unfolded in an organic manner with the progression of musical elements presenting themselves in a developmental fashion. Thus, it seemed appropriate to make it my first symphony, although I don’t relate it to the traditional concept of the symphony. The germinal ideas and thematic construction (especially the Lamentation and Procession and Prayer to the Sacred Star sections) for Morning Star Rising evolved from a piece written in 2000 with the same title for wordless women’s chorus, percussion and electronic sounds. For detailed program notes, visit: www.morningstarrising.com.

TONAL SHIFT - (2005)
(10:41) Download MP3 Excerpt
Abraham Canamar, flute and piccolo samples
Derek Venlet, horn samples
John Cross, trumpet samples
Katie Adams, violin samples
Peter Jacobson, cello samples
Tonal Shift uses 45 recorded samples of piccolo, flute, trumpet, violin and cello that were electronically transformed (reverberation, digital delay, equalization) and randomly layered. The harmonic makeup of the samples is very tonal and utilizes 5 or 6 pitches of the diatonic scale. The samples were fed into a digital mixer and split into 4 stereo mixes. Two of the stereo mixes were pitch-shifted a half step lower then the originals. The final mix of the piece consisted of a performance by myself on the faders, creating the “shifts” in real time. The resulting sound is of the tonal, 5 or 6 note harmonies colliding with each other and dense atonal clusters occurring at the shift points as a direct result of the pitch-shifted files merging with the original files.

25 X 8 - (2005)
(9:11) Download MP3 Excerpt
Abraham Canamar, flute and piccolo samples
Derek Venlet, horn samples
John Cross, trumpet samples
25 X 8 consists of 25 pre-recorded, stereo samples of single tones and intervals from flute, piccolo, trumpet and horn. Initially, the sample’s attacks were removed so as to produce a smooth, wave-like sound from the instruments and were then electronically looped. The samples were archived onto a single compact disc with the final version of the music consisting of 8 copies of the CD played on 8 CD players set on shuffle mode and started in sequenced succession of one another. Thus, the 25 fragments are each heard 8 times throughout the piece, in random order, producing various textures and combinations. In this setting, the machines (CD players) determine the order and outcome of the layered sounds. There can also be a studio version assembled by an audio engineer in which the single CD is layered in the same manner in a multi-track recorder/mixer. The studio version is heard on this recording.

The pitch materials of the instrument samples all reside within 6 notes of a diatonic scale, giving the piece a static harmonic surface. The sampled loops were deliberately created to produce periodic sustained tones that when combined, produce a wave-like, shifting motion. The bass tones heard in this piece are single notes of the flute that have been pitch-shifted several octaves below the original tones.

ALTERED ORCHESTRA #2 - (2005)
(8:50) Download MP3 Excerpt
Kiev Philharmonic, orchestra samples
The process for Altered Orchestra #2 consisted of sampling excerpts from the Kiev Philharmonic recording of my orchestral piece, Morning Star Rising. These samples were looped and processed with reverberation and digital delay effects. Nineteen samples were archived on a compact disc and layered 5 times to produce a dense textural sound. Some manual manipulation was applied to create various musical and dramatic effects through mixing processes such as the addition and placement of extra samples and fader manipulations. After this material was mixed to a stereo version, the 2-track mix was further altered by pitch-shifting the entire file a whole step lower than the original, thus transposing the music from a g minor tonality to f minor. The final alteration consisted of digitally moving one of the two channels several milliseconds ahead of the other producing a staggered effect. The individual samples, at times, consist of a dense block of pitches that, when combined, produce overlapping clusters of tones creating an atmospheric sound.

22 X 5 - (2005)
(5:23) Download MP3 Excerpt
Steve Kornicki, electric guitar samples
This piece consists of 22 pre-recorded, stereo samples of single tones and chords from electric guitar. Initially, the sample’s attacks were removed so as to produce a smooth, wave-like sound from the guitar. These samples were then electronically looped. The individual fragments also make use of wide stereo separation by digitally moving the left or right channel of the sound wave by several milliseconds ahead of the other. The samples were archived onto a single compact disc with the performance version of the music consisting of 5 copies of the CD played on 5 CD players set on shuffle mode and started in sequenced succession of one another. Thus, the 22 fragments are each heard 5 times throughout the piece, in random order, producing various textures and combinations. In this setting, the machines (CD players) determine the order and outcome of the layered sounds. There can also be a studio version assembled by an audio engineer in which the CD is layered in the same manner in a multi-track recorder/mixer. The studio version is heard on this recording.

The pitch materials of the guitar samples all reside within 6 notes of a diatonic scale, giving the piece a static harmonic surface. The sampled loops were deliberately created to produce precise and periodic rhythms that when combined, produce continuously evolving contrapuntal and rhythmic structures. The wide stereo separation of the samples creates the illusion of the sounds spinning in space.

29 X 7 - (2005)
(11:40) Download MP3 Excerpt
William Peters, classical guitar samples
29 X 7 consists of 29 pre-recorded, stereo samples and fragments of classical guitar from a recording of “Music for Solo Guitar” composed by myself in 1991. These samples were electronically altered, modified, transformed and looped through the use of layered digital effects. The samples were then archived onto a single compact disc. The performance version of the music consists of 7 copies of the CD played on 7 CD players set on shuffle mode and started in sequenced succession of one another. Thus, the 29 fragments are each heard 7 times throughout the piece, in random order, producing various textures and combinations. In this setting, the machines (CD players) determine the order and outcome of the layered sounds. There can also be a studio version assembled by an audio engineer in which the CD is layered in the same manner in a multi-track recorder/mixer. The studio version is heard on this recording.

The pitch material of the guitar samples all reside within the 7 notes of a diatonic scale, giving the piece a static harmonic surface. The sampled loops were deliberately created to produce precise and periodic rhythms that when combined, produce a dense, collage-like, textural web of sound.

HORIZONTAL COLOR FORMS #9 - (2005)
(6:57) Download MP3 Excerpt
Steve Kornicki, classical guitars, shaker
Rob Grano, congas, brush conga
Recorded in Steve’s home studio, Summer 2005
Horizontal Color Forms #9 for 5 classical guitars and percussion is the ninth in an ongoing series of conceptual studies that deal with various musical systems and numerical formulas. Harmonic and rhythmic interplay is the focus of these pieces with melody, at times, being a subsequent result. The “Horizontal Color Forms” series uses a pitch system based on 12-tone rows that are stretched out over long durations through sustained tones and/or repetition and are configured to produce harmonious and tonal results. For more information regarding the processes and concepts involved in these compositions, please visit my Horizontal Color Forms page.

ECHOES OF EMERGENCE - (2001)
(10:22) Download MP3 Excerpt
California State University Long Beach Percussion Ensemble
Dave Gerhart, conductor
Live concert recording, Daniel Recital Hall, CSULB – Fall 2001

Echoes of Emergence was composed while I lived in Los Angeles and was written for the percussion ensemble at California State University Long Beach whose live performance is featured on this recording. The music is in three contrasting and dynamic sections separated by tempo - medium, slow and fast. The intention of this composition is to combine and reconcile the worlds of serious art music with popular and world music forms. Dynamics are an essential aspect to the composition with the juxtaposition of loud and soft sounds occurring throughout. I would like to extend my thanks to Dave Gerhart who guided me through the composition process in writing for percussion ensemble.

I would like to acknowledge the following composers for their influence and inspiration for my work on this recording:

1. Morning Star Rising (Symphony No. 1) – Gustav Holst, Steve Reich, Arvo Part, Alan Hovhaness
2. Tonal Shift – Gyorgy Ligeti, David Behrman
3. 25 x 8 – Brian Eno, Christian Wolff, Larry Kucharz, Morton Feldman
4. Altered Orchestra # 2 – John Cage, Brian Eno, Charlemagne Palestine
5. 22 x 5 – Paul Dresher, Glenn Branca
6. 29 x 7 – John Cage, Michael Hedges
7. Horizontal Color Forms, #9 – Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Jaco Pastorius, Jeffrey Mumford
8. Echoes of Emergence – Lou Harrison, Frank Zappa, Steve Reich


All text, concepts, and music ©2005 Steve Kornicki. All rights reserved.


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