Music and Sound for Peer Gynt at UC Santa Cruz

Back to “Merit Review Materials, 2013

For the Theater and DANM Departments, in collaboration with Kimberly Jannarone, Michael Chemers, Brandin Baron-Nussbaum, and Danny Scheie, I worked collaboratively for two years to develop the music- and sound- concepts for a production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt,” based on adaptations by Colin Teevan and Brian Johnston. Early in the project, I decided not to serve primarily as a composer, but instead to collaborate with former advisees (composers, bandleaders) Eric Parson (BA Music, of “Skinny Ricky and the Casual Encounters”) and Chris Molla (MFA DANM, formerly of “Camper Van Beethoven”). The complete recordings for the production are slated for October release as an independent “album,” but recordings of two of the songs in which I was the primary composer are linked below. Both are sung by the character of Solveig—who is a songwriter, and Peer Gynt’s lover (in our production, a man). In the first, Solveig is young, and predisposed to teen-age heart-ache; in the second, she is a kind of Penelope, hardened and aged by years of waiting for Solveig’s return, but also, unexpectedly, at peace. The words in both songs are a sort of found-text poetry—worked-through for rhyme and meter to suit the expected genre of the songs—but in conception, are thoroughly and associatively drawn from ideas in the play.

Why’m I Waiting For You: words and music by Ben Leeds Carson and Eric Parson.

If I Don’t Know You: words and music by Ben Leeds Carson

Aiden McKee, tenor; with Joe Davancens, bass, Michael Lindsey, drums, Ben Carson, guitar, and Kate Downton, keyboards.

Back to “Merit Review Materials, 2013