Written for a friend's collection of nature inspired pieces. One winter day I heard a story about challenges Monarch butterflies were facing. I remembered the joy butterflies bring when you come across one and I imagined the majesty of thousands of them migrating so many miles. My favorite part of the piece is that the rests and breaths a player takes has to be just as musical as the played notes. Every little detail, every wing fluttered, is part of the journey.
I saw colors of light gently moving accross the wall. The sun was shining and a suncatcher was gently twirling on the porch sending colorful rays through the window. It put me in a reflective state as I sat to compose this piece.
This duet has 4 movements and each movement is played on a single string. The G string is ritualistic with a steady stream of fast notes. The D string is influenced by jazz and latin styles. The A string, a meditation in catacombs. The E string is a bit funky.
Based off of my solo flute piece Three Statements for Flute, I expanded on ideas and added a quirky piano part. As the title says, sometimes we can't go back and fix things done or said. Throughout the piece I bounced around from emotion to emotion, frustration, anger, sadness, guilt and even hope. I like to think that time can heal.
Written for a church service, I was thinking that the congregation is a collection of individuals coming from the "world", some with a good week and some with a bad one. I knew some of the members liked standards so I tried to bring it all together one morning.
I often like to put two different emotions together when composing. It adds interest, drama and reflects how I see the world. In this piece I have slow and fast, one section that sounds like a funeral and another ecstatic, pounding of the piano and notes that are as cool as a cat. With so many things happening in life, sometimes the best we can do is try to keep it together.
Somewhere around 2013 I heard a news story about a bombing in Syria followed by a story of climate change followed by a beat-boxing flautist. I felt like as a society we had to do something. The flautist inspired me to think outside the box with my writing and I believe, for the better, my world view was affected, too.
When I was younger I competed in a canoe race. Half way through my arms were aching. In order to keep pace I started to sing to myself. I also remember a character on my left saying, "Keep going. You can do it!" And, I remember a character on my right saying, "Just stop. Wouldn't it feel great to stop." This piece is the struggle between those two characters and the melody that kept me going.
I was walking through Mt. Hope Cemetery (Rochester, NY) on a winter day with a couple inches of new snow. The only other living thing was a pair of squirrels. I reflected on the stillness, the "acientness." The only sound I heard was my breath.
Thinking of home, growing up with fiddle music. It wouldn't be a Polenik family wedding without a Polka or two.
What goes up must come down and so does this melody. After fiddle music in the string quartet genre hit its peak, I started looking to other genres like the EDM world and Hip Hop. I also started to compose in ways that tried to mimic the studio effects those genres were using like delay. Rise and Fall was the first try and Going for Glory the second.
I needed patience one day. I thought about how a lot of people don't have patience for 12-tone music. I wrote a piece about needing patience using a 12-tone scale.
This piece takes older musical sounds and pairs it with newer phrasing, interval spacing and virtuosity. Each movement features opposites that balance each other out: Urban and Rural, Love and Hate, The tortoise and the hare.
Imagine a cartoon about returning intergalactic astronauts. There's a parade and tales of their adventures. We've always been explorers. The only thing that changes is our reach. After Mars, where will we go next?
This will eventually be the 2nd or 3rd movement to my first symphony, titled "Nostalgic." I remember road trips growing up, hearing about road trips and watching movies about road trips. This piece reflects some of the energy from that coming of age event. I'm not sure whether the piece is from the child's or the parents' point of view. Either way it ends with "sweet dreams" and "sleep tights."
I love summertime and the warmer weather. The fresh air breeze that carresses your cheek and lets you know that summer is on its way brings green leaves, blue skies and my favorite, fresh berries and cherries. One winter day I needed to remember those things so I wrote this piece. It was almost a spiritual experience.
One Easter, after coming home from a church gig, I decided to write a choir piece of my own. I wanted it to tell a story, in dramatic fashion, while using the vocal parts and text as a rhythmic accompanient.