1972—for Piano; 2002—for Computer)
In the early 1970’s I found time and
inclination for sitting at the
Piano and creating several Original Concepts. This is one of them. I was
never quite satisfied with the limitations
of the Piano, so am pleased to
have finally rendered this fully the
way I always intended.
1973—for Piano; 2001—for Computer)
Only 47 seconds long, but perhaps qualifying
as Short & Sweet
is Italian for ‘sweetness; gentleness’). Untitled when I
first conceived it, I decided to dedicate
the Computer version to an
Italian friend (the 'bird' singing at the
end is saying, "Bon Giorno, Carla").
(Composed: 1974—for Piano; 2002—for Computer)
Another of those early 1970’s Compositions
(Conceived: for Guitar/Voice—1970; Composed: for Piano/Voice—
1987; for Computer—2002)
First Version came about in an empty room one night at the
Crosby House (an old mansion converted
to classrooms for the Urban
Arts Program in Minneapolis, MN). I was a Music Instructor for several
UA classes; but also a Caretaker of the
building. One of those empty
had ‘just-right’ Acoustics and I recall sitting in the middle of the
in the dark, moonlight streaming through the windows, Me and My
Guitar—and a bit of a Vision that a young Norwegian boy was singing
this song to his Sweetheart. Since I didn’t know much Norwegian at the
time, I sang ‘Nonsense Lyrics’
and sang in Falsetto Range. I liked it so
much that I performed it in public quite
a few times, during my
Singer/Songwriter phase (1966-1973). Years pass by, and my
Parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary
is coming up in 1987. Sister Vivian
thinks there should be some sort of Musical Tribute for them, so we
collaborate on a Norwegian Folk Music presentation called
“Bryllupsfantasi” (Wedding Fantasy). I had a Norwegian friend
help me with lyrics (not included here) and the title (“Kjaerlighet” is
Norwegian for “Beloved”) and arranged it for Piano and Voice. I told my
Dad to pretend he was singing this to Mom as a Young Man. It went
well enough, but I was disappointed that I had to sing it an octave lower
(I couldn’t sing that high any more).
I always wanted to render it more
closely to my original intent. Thus,
this 3rd Attempt, which I’m well-
pleased with: the Feeling is right.
05. The Dodge
(Sketched: 1973; Composed: for
Piano—1988; for Computer—2002)
I’d originally done just a cursory
sketch of this in the early ‘70’s,
but friend Chuck Greve always liked this
piece so he
commissioned me to write a neat, clean
score for it.
St. Louis Boogie Blue
Not yet computer-enabled,
bored--no guitar, no piano, no band,
just a little Casiotone
MT-66 electronic keyboard.
Done in 1 take, no dubs
(with just a couple of flubs).
07. How Should I Know?
Based on Reverse/Backwards
of the Fletdcher Henderson
Orchestra's 1925 "Why Couldn't
It Be Poor Little Me?" With a couple of
sections from other tunes,
I arranged a Retro Composite and titled it "How Should
I Know?" The band never played it in public (even though I had it on the set list for
one of our Orchestra Hall
gigs; but just before we were to go onstage, a player
said he'd refuse to go if That Tune was on the program: "It's
too Weird, Ted."
I re-created it here via
Computer. What do you think? I think
it sounds like an
East European Circus Band..
08. Minor Fantasy
Ted Unseth, founder of the original Wolverines Classic Jazz
Orchestra (1973-1980) and Director of
the Americana Classic Jazz
Orchestra (1984-present), has been known
to be something of a
chameleon, musically. The CJO material has taken top priority, but
there have been slots of time created
for 'other things':
While gigging at a supper club that demanded
a 'show' set, I decided
to try my hand at Big Band Arranging
(this was the expanded
'partnership band (1980-1984) = "Lush
Life" and "Dancin' In The
I was more than pleased with the results.
Even earlier (1977), I made an attempt
at a 12-piece 'concept'
composition. The structure was patterned after a number of '20's and
'30's arrangements--not so much the content,
but rather the layout (Intro,
Theme 1, Modulation, Theme 2, etc.). Originally titled "TPU 77", there
has been but one attempt at perfoming
it = at a WCJO rehearsal. I didn't
get much of a reaction and decided to
chuck it. 30 years later, I
discovered my original score scrawlings,
transferred everything to the
computer, edited it and... This is the first-time realization...
the "Minor Fantasy" for Concert Band
(or variation thereof).
Kuaiban (Chinese Clapper Music)
I heard a
thing on NPR about a park in Beijing called Coal Hill Park (or Jingshan
Chinese folk gather for impromptu dancing, singing and performing.
And the reporter
noted something special called Kuaiban or Chinese Clapper Music
= the performer claps bamboo sticks and sings (solo) a Story Song--sometimes
sometimes nonsense; it all has to do with timing, rhythm and play on
they played a short piece (faded in and out). I took the first part only
it up a bit and...
This is my first attempt at World Beat or World Music. It isn't
or sophisticated, but I think it's got some good interest. Most
is the Timing = 7 bars of 4/4, 1 bar of 3/4 and one more bar of 4/4
= 9 bars (then it starts over again) = you think it's all going to be in 4/4, but at the
end it goes a bit wacky and you have to readjust your toe-tapping = Cool.
10. Variations On Greek Hymnic
While researching Greek Folk Music on
the Internet (to put a Greek Sampler
CD together for a dentist who made one
of my Dreams come true), I ran
across several ‘fragments’
of Ancient Greek Music (there are no complete
musical compositions intact from those
days). I found a piece entitled
“Ancient Greek Hymnic Fragment”
(dating @ 750 BC) and produced this
Variation on that theme.
From a Guitar sketch, 1969; Computer
Originally called “Ethers”,
I looked up a few things about ‘ether’ and
like the idea of Aristotle’s “fifth
element’, the Ether.
From piano sketch, mid-1970’s. Dedicated to Good Friend, Judy Punyko.
From piano sketch, 1980. Dedicated to Best Friend, Deanna Krantz.
14. Yes, Once She Knew Me Well
From Singer/Songwriter phase, early 1970’s.
Night, Little Ladies
(Composed: 1970—for Guitar; 2005—for
I’d imagined being the father of
two little girls and this was a
Lullaby to tuck them into bed at night. Pure fantasy.
On Carla Speak
These are 4 Variations (there are 13
total on another CD dedicated to
this one topic) on the Theme of a voice
message by an Italian lady friend
who seems to sing as she talks.
17. Piano Quintet #1
(Composed: 1973--for Orchestra; Revised:
1978—for Clarinet and String
Quartet; Rescored: 2004—for Computer)
My first serious attempt at writing in
the Contemporary Classical vein. I
wrote it for full orchestra, but in very
primitive calligraphy handstyle. I
sent a copy to Aaron Copland. His only reply in return was: “If you think you’re
going to devote your life to music, you’d
best be prepared to devote all of
your time to it.”
This is the first time ever this piece
has been played accurately.
18. Concertino--Movement I
19. Concertino--Movement II
(Composed: 1978—for Clarinet & String Quartet; 2002—for Computer)
Warren Park (Founder of the West Bank
School of Music; Mpls.) en-
couraged me to participate in his school’s
1978 Composers Workshop—
for $25 (I pay) I’d get two Professional
Classical Ensembles (a Quintet
and an Octet). I’d contribute two Compositions. There’d be one
hearsal for each piece and a Concert
that’d feature both. “Sure,
Composing is my Big Dream.” The Rehearsal and Performance
Quintet #1 were pretty awful—the
Vibraphonist was completely
unprepared in Rehearsal but assured me
he’d study his part and play it
in the Concert—he didn’t; he constantly lost his place and faked
Quintet #2 fared much better, but there were a few mistakes, still. I
always wanted to hear a performance that
played all the notes accurately.
Twenty-five years later, I redo it as a Concertino and the Dream is finally
realized here. Yes.
21. The Dena Epic
1969 for Guitar; Pastiched 2006)
From Singer/Songwriter phase (1966-1963). Dedicated to Best Friend,
Copyright 2007 © Ted Unseth