In 2004, as I was about to graduate with a BS in physics from NCSU, I wrote an odd little poem called I'm a Physicist and That's Just Fine. Not long after, I set it for baritone and piano. The arrangement here is much longer and more complex than the original song.
I attended a macrobiotic meeting in Boston in 1979 where there was to be an entertainment at the end given by attendees. I quickly wrote Little Miss Nonfat as a composition that anyone who could read music could perform; it was for spoken chorus in four parts. However, my search for performers was in vain. This orchestral version is far longer and more involved than the very simple original, which was under two minutes long.
Until February 2015, Strange Songs included
Der Jammerwock, a setting of Robert Scott's 1872 translation of
Jabberwocky into imaginary German. This is now withdrawn; perhaps
someday I will try again.
Math Class: or, Does
the Zero Have Buddha-Nature™? started
off in 1982 as a companion spoken chorus piece to Little Miss
Nonfat, also in four parts, written after a year as a physics
and math major at
In the summer of 2003, I was doing physics at the
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and decided to write a satirical
song about the decades of rejection I had suffered from musicians.
Thus, I dedicated it to the many musicians who gave me so much material
from 1984 through 2005 by turning down my music because it was too
easy, too hard, too long, too brief, too classical, too popular, too
modern, too old-fashioned, too secular, too religious, too fast, too
slow, too serious, too humorous, they’re busy playing
something else, or in short, because
I wouldn’t give them money. Thankfully, since 2006 things are much better and I
have found some wonderful performers.
DeMar Neal, baritone, with Kent Lyman on the piano, performed the original song version of I'm a Physicist and That's Just Fine in the version for singer with two pianos at Carswell Auditorium, Meredith College, Raleigh NC, on February 24, 2013. This song is much expanded in the Strange Songs verson, with the addition of orchestra and chorus and more material. The recordings, and links to the video on YouTube, are below.
Photo by Lon Cooper, 1975, of me in front of the NTSU library, as printed in the campus newspaper
Music marked by
an asterisk (*) has not yet been performed.
* STRANGE SONGS for Baritone, SATBariB
With Calculated Abandon [6:10]
Allegro macroneurotica [4:20]
Math Class: or, Does the
Zero Have Buddha-NatureTM?
What I Hear After Submitting
Vivace flagrante delicto [2:50]
Original Chamber Versions
original version (2004) for Bass-Baritone and Piano
(see Lyrics on "Physics" page)
With Calculated Abandon
Two works for spoken chorus in four parts:
Little Miss Nonfat [1:20] (1979)
Math Class: or, Does the Zero
Have Buddha-Nature™? (1982)
(Franco Corelli as Canio in Pagliacci)
*What I Hear After Submitting A Score:
(2003, revised June
2010; the original had a T-Bari-B chorus)