Overture to the Midnight Spectacle was composed in 1973 for a composition class at the University of Minnesota, and re-orchestrated in 1978.
The title was inspired by various late-night mystery/horror series shows on television and radio, and the musical mood could be characterized as somewhere between humorous and macabre. It is not intended to be a “serious” work.
Sumervar was written in 1988. The title is a short version of “orchestral variations on the medieval round sumer is icumen in.” The theme, heard in the piccolo, oboe and clarinet, is light-hearted and so too are the variations. There are several references to summer, including a little folk song that I learned as a young piano student. The piece ends with the theme played backwards in canon, accompanied by the strings, which should sound like an audio file in reverse.
[Program notes by the composer]