Popular Music of Planet X
for Piano Quintet
(click here for the orchestral version, Symphony No. 1: PMPX)
Composed September 1990; 2004; February 10--May 27, 2015; Nov.2--Dec. 8, 2023
Duration: about 26 minutes cover: London casino, 1938
for Eric Pritchard
letter-size string Parts,
PDF for printing
(there will be a version of the string parts for electronic music readers)
Links on movements I, II, and IV are for the concert band version, each of which is a separate piece.
for all mankind [7']
II. A Little Poem
III. Scherzo Affective Disorder
S.A.D.; Trio; S.A.D [6:30]
IV. Burlesque [6:20]
Allegro spogliarello: More Bump: Tempo I: Dolce: More Bump
1990 I wrote several works for my friend Fred Robinson who was the
composer/arranger at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. Among these was a
work for jazz band, The Popular Music of
Planet X in three “Books”. The idea was the rather whimsical one that
somewhere among the myriad planets there could be a civilization where the
prime incentive for the music industry was not
mercenary. Clearly such a planet must be far, far away. I also wrote some
chamber works, including a brass quintet. The Air Force didn’t seem to
appreciate the effort, and the score and parts were returned. (When you bomb
with the Air Force….you REALLY BOMB!)
2004 I wrote new versions of these scores, but still could not find
performance. Thus in 2015 I started over, this time with the PMPX as a symphony for concert band. The only surviving movement from the old PMPX was the bulk of Burlesque (then titled Bump and Grind).
The first movement was originally from the now-defunct brass quintet of
1990 and 2004. The second movement's opening was from the original PMPX, and has a chamber version for piano and woodwind quintet. The third movement was from the Clarinet Sextet.
As the piece remained unperformed, I realized it would be better for orchestra as Symphony No. 1: Popular Music of Planet X.
Orchestral writing is much more to my taste and experience than band. I
first composed this piano quintet version to make various improvements,
and to get the piece performed and recorded. The third movement is new,
inspired by a few bits from the original third movement from 1990. The
four movements of the concert band version of PMPX are available only as separate works; the three that are included in this quintet are linked above in the list of movements.
that this is my personal vision of what music intended for mass consumption
would be in a more ideal world, I’ve allowed the influence of some popular
idioms in the first and last movements. However, as all of my music, this is
strictly in the classical tradition, with no improvisation, and to be treated
in the same way as other “serious” art music—even, and perhaps especially, when
it’s intended to be for fun.