KITTY BRAZELTONCatalog of Scores
composer performer bandleader teacher curator general info

Most of what I've learned about orchestration I learned in a bar, listening to the hits on the jukebox and dancing to them night after night, figuring out why they worked or didn't, and then going into the recording studio with my pop songs. When I first went back to grad school in composition I was ashamed of this. Now I see that by reapplication out of the idiom, I'm taking the core principles of how sound and timbre catch our attention and express our ideas and emotions, and leaving behind the cliches. I think the orchestra is a very current instrument, thanks to Hollywood, but we don't need to construct the sounds exactly the same way as Rimsky.


Symphony No. 3 "Native to Where"

  • the soul's tale
    1. Severe Objects of Worship
    2. Our Houses of Sticks
    3. Discovery of the Loss of a Part of the Soul
    4. The Search to Recover Begins
    5. The River Cuts Away, Then Runs Backwards Up the Mountain!
    6. Severe Objects of Worship—Reprise
  • chorale of the soul reunited
    1. The Lost Part Found
    2. Healed & Reunited, the Soul's Parts Start to Sing
    3. Fear
    4. Hope
    5. Distraction
    6. All 13 Parts Join in the Old Song
    7. All Hope
  • last dance
    1. Moon's Day
    2. Thor's Day
    3. Freia's Day
    4. Tiw's Day
    5. Saturn's Day
    6. Day of Whatever God
    7. Next Moon's Day

Years ago a doctoral composition teacher scolded me for combining English and Italian instructions in a chamber piece. He started me thinking about the role of words in a score. Unrepentant, I still combine languages—if an Italian word is likely to be more readily informative to a musician than an English expression, I grab it; conversely, when American slang says it best, I use that.

A musician from one of the many ensembles I've led over the years, has requested repeatedly that I communicate my intentions very explicitly. He feels that more information rather than less is very helpful to musicians dealing with new music where there are relatively few road maps.

The comments of these two men, combines with my own experience as a bandleader and performer. There is an incalculable quantity of information communicated, not all of it verbal at all, when I am physically present during the rehearsal and performance of my music vs. when I am not. How can we replace the intimacy of this experience? What would Duke Ellington do?

In this score you will find titles and commentary which suggest a narrative. I compose the music first; then I look for a verbal or conceptual structure which will express my musical intentions vividly to the musicians who read the written music. It is not necessary for the listeners to be consciously aware of the narrative; if the musicians are responding to the musical and verbal construct on the page, I believe the music will tell its own story. I have no objection if you want to include the narrative in a program note, as long as it doesn't dominate the listeners' impression of the piece.

2000 10 min. + 6 min. + 2 min. orchestra: winds 2-2-2-2 (dbl. picc. & bass clar.), brass 4-2-2-1 (tuba), 2 perc. (1 timp etc., 1 kit/hand drums etc.), strings not more than 12-8-6-6-3 and not less than 4-4-3-4-1 unperformed

Sleeping Out Of Doors

  1. THE DOOR OF DAY—Allegro
  5. THE DOOR OF DAY—Allegro

click here for mp3 click here for mp3 click here for mp3

A semi-concerto for piano and orchestra. Commissioned and premiered by Kristjan Järvi and Absolute Ensemble with soloist FangYu Liao. 1998 15 min. (movements are attaca/continuous) orchestra: winds 2-2-2-2 (w/ b. cl. & cbsn.), brass 2-1-1; 1 perc. (kit), pno., acoustic gtr. & voice, strings 4-4-4-4-2 min. (1 bass if ampl.) Merkin Hall, New York, May 5 1998.
Woman's Works A fantasia in deconstructed sonata form for orchestra. 1992-1994 10 min. orchestra: winds 2-2-2-2,; brass 4-2-2, 3 perc., harp, strs. 6-6-4-4-2 unperformed
Getting In & Out Of Trouble

Rondo of ostinati for jazz orchestra, commissioned by the Charles Fox Fund of the Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia. Premiered by LaGuardia High School of Music & Art Junior Jazz & Pit Orchestra combined under the direction of Bob Stewart.

I'm considering revising this piece for concert jazz band or symphonic wind ensemble.

1999 10 min 3 fl., 5 cl. (b. cl. & Eb), sax 3-2-1, 4 tpts, fr. hn., 3 tbns., tb., pno., (gtr. optional), 4 pc. (drumkit, agogo, whistle, gong, chocallo/rainstick, 3 tmp., conga, timbales, marimba), 2-8 violins, 2-6 cellos, amplified bass. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, May 6 1999.
Tribute to Sun Ra Collaboration with ethnomusicologist/ composer/saxophonist and Sun Ra scholar Allan Chase. Premiered by DADADAH with ex-Sun Ra musicians Rashied Ali (drums), Robert Rutledge (trumpet) on May 30 1993 (the day of Sun Ra's death). 1993 20-25 min. for large mixed instrumentation: voices, flute, oboe, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, trumpet, trombone, tuba, baritone ukelele, mandolin, harp, violin, viola, cello, electric guitar, bass, drums and percussion. Kitty Brazelton's Real Music Series, CB's Gallery, May 1993

contact me:

© 1999-2003, Catherine Bowles Brazelton.