In Stephen King’s IT, the clown monster returns to Derry to terrorize the town every 27 years. That’s 3-cubed years. Triple meter in music has the potential for power and excitement. It provides expressive possibilities such as hemiola. I am fond of 9|8 time, which is 3-squared, and is felt musically as three pulses of triplets. I once wrote a movement in 9|8 time over which was layered a three-measure pattern, thus making 9 pulses of triplets.
The form of my Intermezzo is three part: A-B-A. The “A” parts are in 9|8 time and the middle part is in 3|4 (triple meter with duple subdivisions). I modeled the form on Johannes Brahms’ Intermezzos Opus 117, Numbers 1 and 2, for piano. They are in triple meter throughout and have the A-B-A structure, with the middle part subdued in contrast. The middle part of my Intermezzo has a slightly slower beat than the A sections and is more lyrical.
I don’t use uncommon bowing techniques and I stick to normal bowing (arco) and pizzicato (plucking). I introduced pizzicato in the middle of the first section and again at the close of the middle section, transitioning to the recapitulation. Then the very last note of the piece is a plucked low D. The overall tonality of the piece is D.
My composition is abstract. I don’t often have a narrative program or picture in mind. I reconstruct material from previous compositions, sometimes from completely different instruments. This piece for cello solo had origins in a viola and piano sonata.
David Stewart was born 1941, in Miami FL, and earned a B.Mus. degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, 1965, and a M.A. degree from Smith College, 1969. His principal teachers were Bower Murphy, William Klenz, Joseph Wood, Walter Aschaffenburg, and Alvin Etler in composition; David Pizarro on organ; Arthur Dann on piano, all of blessed memory.
Stewart is a composer, pianist, and organist. His career began in academia and migrated into computer technology from 1979 onward. His style of composing also changed as he pursued a new occupation.
From 1969 to 1979, he taught music theory, composition, and electronic music at Eastern Michigan University and then Kent State University. His style of composition during this period was twelve-tone and aleatoric. Living in Ohio from 1975 to 1985, he was a member of the Cleveland Composers Guild which provided many performances of his chamber music. In these early years he won several prizes for his chamber music.
A self-taught computer programmer, he began studying computer-generated sound in 1969. He produced electronic music both by Moog synthesizer and by computer using the seminal MUSIC4 program on Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11’s.
From 1979 until retirement in 2013, Stewart worked as a computer systems professional. Having been a church musician most of his adult life, he is currently organist at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ferndale MI.
After leaving academia, Stewart’s aesthetic changed. He wanted to write more spontaneously the sounds from his imagination–music that was accessible to the performer and audience, while maintaining his stylistic integrity. He became more tonal yet still used twelve-tone and aleatoric techniques when justified.
He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); American Composers Forum; Society of Composers Inc.; Conductors Guild; and the American Guild of Organists. He is the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Warren Symphony Society Inc., in Warren MI. The Warren Symphony premiered three of Stewart’s works in the 2000’s.
Stewart believes that leaving academia for the business world was a great benefit to his art. Music is the business of entertaining. The composer must satisfy, even delight, the paying audience. His compositions connect with the listener’s ear and heart.