My Life as a Sonata :: A Passion Recapitulated (Audio Recording)
Featuring Cameron Douglas Craig, tenor and Bart Rettberg, piano
Copyright © 2016 by Cameron Douglas Craig and Bart Rettberg
All Rights Reserved.
H. T. Burleigh (1866-1949)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cameron Douglas Craig
Craig Returns to Music after Long Hiatus
The recent return to my studies in music has inspired me to record a new album of vocal music that features the music I sang over two decades ago. The album, "My Life as a Sonata: A Passion Recapitulated" * is a celebration of my return to my studies in music at Eastern Illinois University (where I teach geography and broadcast meteorology). The album also features my talented and inspiring dear friend, Bart Rettberg, at the piano. We will feature vocal works by Mozart, Bach, Barber, Pergolesi, Handel, Schumann, Schubert, Scarlatti, Stradella, and Burleigh. Watch for the release of "My Life as a Sonata" later this summer!
* "My Life as a Sonata: A Passion Recapitulated" is the title of an essay CDC wrote for admission to the Department of Music at Eastern Illinois University, which will be included in the liner notes of the compact disc.
Photo taken by Carsten Haberstok at the Pilgrimage Church of Wies in June 2015. Danke!
The album will be dedicated to my best loving friend, Vicky Huang, who lives in Taipei, Taiwan and is the firm foundation for which I have built the last 25 years! 谢谢, Pei-Hua!!! 我爱你!!
My Life as a Sonata: A Passion Recapitulated*
Cameron Douglas Craig
As we glide through life, our path, through its twists and turns, takes us to unexpected endings. These twists and turns sometimes leave us wondering, "What would have happened if I took a different path?" My original path was vocal performance with the hopes of, one day, conducting an orchestra or choral ensemble. The path began as planned, then, I took a different path that led to a degree in history, which, then, led me down another path to receive a Master's degree in Geography. Eventually, that particular path progressed to another trail toward working for a Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Geography. I am, again, at a path that divides into two more trails. One trail is to continue to work toward finishing my Doctor of Philosophy degree or returning to my original passion of music. For the last two years, I stood at the division of that path. As the sonata form dictates, I have decided that the path of my life must recapitulate a passion I once had because, philosophically, it continues to beckon me ever more strongly. The passion continues to live within me with hopes of its rediscovery.
Ever so gently, I have taken the academic license to revisit my passion of music through teaching the cultural aspects of music history in my cultural geography course that I have taught over the last four summers in the "Summer Institute of Higher Learning" here at Eastern Illinois University. Every summer since I was asked to teach the course, I have been extremely excited at the prospects of enlightening my students of the rapture of musical evolution. Even in my weather and climate course, I introduce students to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" in an attempt to educate them of the relationship of music and science in regards to musical imagery. My passion of an art left behind from a path I did not take continues to grow within me through courses I teach or through opportunities given to me.
Whenever I have been given the opportunity to use my passion, I have taken it. Multiple opportunities included substituting for my church music director and assistant music director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Dr. Michael Davis, to conduct the Chancel Choir at the Christmas Eve Service when he wanted to spend time with his family in Arkansas. In addition, vocally, I have taken the opportunity to sing as soloist with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra in the "Holiday Concert" and sing with Maestro Rossi's sister, Regina Rossi, in the recent "Stagestruck" concert. Each of these opportunities has instilled in me that the path toward revisiting my passion is the right one, a passion that grew from an earlier age.
During high school, I was involved in the choir and the marching band. At a late period in my education, I took the opportunity to learn trumpet and French horn, although my focus at the time was percussion. Although there was not an orchestral curriculum, I learned violin and cello on my own because the ultimate dream was to stand in front of an orchestra. I took every opportunity to learn through formal or informal instruction the art of music. On a personal created curriculum, I studied orchestral scores that included Mozart's, "Requiem," Beethoven's, "Ninth," Rachmaninov's, "Piano Concerto No. 2," and many other works for the ultimate purpose that, one day, I would conduct them.
At one point as a high school senior, I had the unique energy to ask Maestro Raymond Leppard, artistic director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, for an apprenticeship. I asked my band director if I could conduct the ensemble to tape my conducting technique for Maestro Leppard. He agreed to give me the hour. The work I featured for the taping was the overture for "Die Fledermaus." I recorded my conducting technique and sent it to Maestro Leppard. With great nervousness and utmost anxiousness, I waited for a response. A few weeks later, I received a letter from Maestro Leppard that was penned in an extremely eloquent manner. He stated, in the letter, that he appreciated the submission and was impressed. He further stated that although an apprenticeship was not possible, he wanted me to continue to work hard toward my education in music, take all the music theory I could, and continue to practice my conducting. It was an inspiration that I continued to work.
My passion for music has continued although I took a different path. Over the last 20 years, I have continued to study scores, sing in recitals, substitute in conducting ensembles, and write original music for my documentaries that have aired on PBS stations throughout the Midwest. No matter the path, I have always found a way to include music in that path as a geographer. Furthermore, not only have I volunteered my time to participate in the choral ensembles offered at Eastern Illinois University, I have engaged my students of broadcast meteorology and myself in filming many of the concerts and recitals of the music department, not only for archiving, but to provide exceptional video recordings for the public beyond our immediate region. My purpose in wanting to film your department's concerts and recitals is to show my students in my general education courses as well as the public at large (beyond the immediate region) that Eastern Illinois University has a great offering to human culture. It is a culture that I want to fully immerse myself for the purpose of fulfilling my passion.
I humbly request that you allow me to participate in your program as a Master's student in conducting so that I might interpret the music of many former generations to educate the future generations of our planet we call Earth. There are many works of music that explains who we are as humans in a vast landscape we call Earth. It is a geography that must be experienced and communicated. With my experience in music, history, and the recent path through geography, my ultimate goal is to merge all landscapes as one to provide an educational moment that students can grasp for the purpose of understanding who they are in a globalized world. It is a path of passion that I left many years ago that, now, I must return in order to complete the sonata I originally wrote academically, not only for me but for my students at Eastern Illinois University.
*The essay, "My Life as a Sonata: A Passion Recapitulated," was submitted as a "Personal Statement" for the Master of Arts in Music program with a concentration in Orchestral/Choral Conducting in the Department of Music at Eastern Illinois University on 8 July 2015.
Purchase A Copy for $15
MY LIFE AS A SONATA will be released on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. You may purchase copy of the compact disc by sending a check payable to Cameron Craig for $15 to the address below:
1249 E. Conner Street
Noblesville, IN 46060
Cameron Craig, email@example.com