for String Quartet
Inspired by the utopian community Aurora Colony established in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1857, this string quartet is very much about the process of a simple perhaps old-fashioned idea (the founder's motto: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”) being transformed into something modern. A seed growing into an flourishing plant. Quietness developing into exuberance. A celebration of life; one lived within a community of equals.
Five miniature tableaux depicting the all-too-brief career of a young artist
A Composer's Tale
A Composer's Tale was written for a concert that included Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale and selections from Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale. It is my homage to the music of Stravinsky. It is also a tongue-in-cheek look at the career path of a naive young composer. Each movement’s title is self-explanatory:
Moment of inspiration - a musical idea appears to our hero.
Hours of frenzy, days of drudgery - our hero frantically works with the musical idea.
Dreams of fame, fortune and immortality - our hero sets down the pen to contemplate the future.
Premier - reality hits.
Rejection...which results in years of bitterness and despondency (in other words, time for a waltz, tango and a slow march!) - our hero reflects upon his/her current situation, asking if Hope will ever Spring Eternal.
Chara for string trio
An exuberant 9-minute piece for string trio.
Chara. Greek for “joy”. The joy of giving. Char-ity. The joy of performing chamber music with friends at Menucha. The joy of Mozart's finale to the Jupiter Symphony. Joy to the world! Thomas Merton's: “Is it not obvious that when we have this freedom [to rejoice in the good of another] happiness will not only follow as a matter of course: joy would pursue us everywhere and we could not get away from it….If we rejoiced in the good that is possessed by others…we would not be able to look at a flower or a blade of grass or an insect or a drop of water or a grain of sand or a leaf, let along a whole tree, or a bird, or a living animal, or a human being, without exploding with exultation.”
Written for friends to play at a benefit concert for the classical radio station in Portland, Oregon.
for solo piano
There are a few on this earth whose hearts are seized by an unquenchable desire to travel. They seek a country which others claim does not exist, but which they upon arrival hope to claim as their own. Until that time, they will consider themselves aliens and strangers to all other countries. No matter where they settle, these sojourners know their stay is only temporary, for what they seek cannot be found in the material world. They long to see sights which they have heard about but can scarcely begin to imagine; their souls ache for communion with a kindred spirit who understands them and who will never be separated from them, not even by death. The sojourner leads ·a peculiar life. He lives under the influence of two different cultures and must come to grips with the conflicts which arise from considering himself a resident of one though a citizen of another. The demands of the one may be immediate; the demands of the other, though less pressing, may be of greater significance. His mind may be filled with thoughts of the future, it may be fixed upon the things that are eternal, and yet he is forced to live within the confinements of time. His life full of contradictions, he seeks a time when they will all be resolved.
for solo violin
“John F. Paul’s Intarsia I [is] a bright and attractive five-minute work for solo violin. Interspersing vibrant, slashing dissonances with impetuous scale figures, Paul leads the listener through a clearly stated musical discourse.” (Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle)
“John Paul’s Intarsia I reaches back to the Old World to pay homage to the demonic fiddlers of the Gypsy camps who contributed a fierce virtuosity to Western music. It is a highly concentrated work [that] spins out its thematic content in rapid sequence, then circles back to embellish and develop it with artificial harmonics and double stops. It generates quite a lot of excitement in the process.” (Richard Chon, Buffalo News)