It’s uncommon for a student performer to have the chance to play with a composer. But the talented musicians playing in Scot Irvine’s senior recital have all had the chance to collaborate with him and discover the meaning behind his works.
“I rarely get the opportunity to play with someone who has written the piece,” junior Amy Shoemaker, who will play in the recital, said. “Usually, you’re playing the music of someone you will never meet. I think the idea of working with the composer is cool.”
Irvine will debut five original composition pieces tonight. A music composition major, Irvine not only wrote all the pieces but is also featured in two of the songs: “Sax Trio” and a saxophone solo entitled “Slavic Dance.”
Irvine, Shoemaker and sophomore Jason Haun have been practicing since the beginning of the semester to master the trio. At
fifteen minutes long, the piece will challenge the musicians’ stamina. The “Sax Trio” is also the most non-traditional piece in the recital because it is based
on a quartal harmony.
“It might take a second to get used to it, but it’s so long that hopefully the audience will be on board by the end,” Irvine said.
The trio has no key or chords, as most songs do, and there is a constant change in meter and rhythm, making it especially difficult to play.
“The most interesting thing about it is that is retrograde,” Shoemaker said. “In the middle it turns around and you play it again backwards. It’s a mirror image of itself.”
The other piece Irvine will perform is “Slavic Dance” with staff piano accompanist Sara Greenleaf Seitz. Irvine completed this piece early this semester.
Seitz will also play “Theme and Variations” on the piano. Irvine said he composed the piece with Seitz in mind and recently completed
“Because I knew it was for Sara, I made it a lot harder,” Irvine said. “The overall impression is that of a very schizophrenic type of feel; it jumps around a lot.”
Because an organ is available in Ice Auditorium, Irvine will include it in his piece “Prelude.” Composed a year ago, just after Irvine transferred from Southern Oregon University to Linfield, the piece will be played by sophomore
Heidi Vanden Bos.
“Prelude” is short, and it is based on a Baroque-style music called ‘Fortspinnung,” which is German for spinning out.
The final piece of the recital is a choral piece based on John Milton’s 17th century epic 10-book poem “Paradise Lost” about the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Irvine chose excerpts from the poem focusing on conversations between the Devil and Eve.
Irvine has been a musician since the fifth grade, but he first began writing music in high school when he learned to play the guitar and
started a garage band.
His first crash course in music theory came when his father took a course at the local community college. Irvine became fascinated by the intricacies of music theory.
“(My dad) told me to go for it, and I haven’t really looked back,” Irvine said.
The process of writing music for Irvine is one, mostly, of inspiration.
“I just sit down, and I start with the first note and keep going until I’m happy with it,” Irvine said.
After graduation, Irvine plans to spend a month backpacking in France before returning to his hometown of Palmer, Alaska, for the summer. He plans to work with his father, who is the choir director at a local church, to compose music for the choral groups.
In the fall, Irvine will return to McMinnville to get a “normal” job and hopes to continue to find outlets to play and compose music.
“I’m utilizing any path to get my music played,” he said.
Tonight at 8 p.m., the sounds of organ, piano, saxophone and singing voices will fill Ice Auditorium.