Vermont College of Fine Arts asked me to participate in a Fund raising event called ‘Art and Connection’, to present my Walt Whitman Songbook in May 2021. Originally I was going to premiere my 30 minute video of ‘A Song of the Rolling Earth’, then decided that no one wants to watch a 30 minute music video for the event, and felt the event would be better served by featuring some on the vocalists and musicians who participated. Since I did make a point of asking only VCFA Music Composition graduates to sing on the album, it only seem right to allow the students and musicians to speak. So I ended up creating this 72 minute video based on Zoom interviews I conducted with any of the participants that expressed interest.
Full 72 minute video of the VCFA Walt Whitman Presentation. Walt Whitman Songbook – Zoom Discussions with Musicians Updated participants list.
All participants are being asked 4 questions.
1.) Please introduce yourself. 2.) Were you familiar with Whitman before the project? 3.) Can you discuss some of your process (interpretation, technique, technical etc..) used to record your part? 4.) Your main takeaways from contributing to the project?
Special Guests (non-VCFA) Steve Bartek(Film Composer/Guitarist) , David Crigger(Drums/Percussion) and Leon Gaer(Bass) .
VCFA Graduates Dawn Clement (MC ’15), Jessica Muñiz-Collado (MC ’14), Marjorie Halloran (MC ’15), Mario Inchausti (MC ’18), Philip W. Riegle (MC ’17), Peter Spencer (MC ’13), Michael Garrett Steele (MC ’16)
Structure-Program Quick Hello from Craig Who Ever You Are- Dawn Clement – David Crigger – Craig Pallett Who Ever You Are – Video Laws for Creations – Garrett Steele – Marjorie Halloran – Craig Pallett Laws for Creations – Video Premiere I Swear – Mario Inchausti – Leon Gaer – Steve Bartek – David Crigger – Craig Pallett I Swear – Video Amelioration – Philip Riegle – Craig Pallett Amelioration – Video On the Beach Alone at Night – Peter Spencer – Jessic Collado – Craig Pallett On the Beach at Night Alone – Video Premiere
During the Covid mess, I decided to write music based on meditations and reflections of imagery from Romio Shrestha’s book called Celestial Gallery.
Celestial Gallery is the largest book that we own, and was given to us maybe 15 years ago by alchemist author David Goddard, on one of his visits. It is so big, it demands ‘making space’ for it. I decided to pull it from the depths of our bookshelves, put it up in front of my keyboard, and starting writing a piece each day for 14 days based on my meditations and reflections of this work.
I have been practicing meditation now for over 35 years. I was one of the founders of the Boston Meditation Society and was a committed Buddhist monk for 4 years, so meditation can be a useful tool for me to access as a composer. But it is also tricky, since I am not intentionally writing music to meditate too. (That is not my thing). So this music is really my reflections on both the text and imagery from the book, after I contemplate, and mediate for perhaps 30 minutes.
So my routine was for 14 days. Read and Contemplate the accompanying text for one image. Meditate on the imagery. Then build out a full compositional track, and layer out the tracks while still absorbing the full image. I would do this from 3-4 hours each day for 14 days until I decided to stop this practice. I started on August 28th 2020 and ended on September 10th 2020.
In October 2020, then put on my producer hat, and listened to all 14 compositions. I decided to put together 8 of the 14 works, into the ‘Buddha’ project, and started mixing what I created for several weeks.