Gerard Manley Hopkins - 1865 

Catalyst is a single movement piece for solo violin. The composition was written for a master class with Peter Sheppard Skaerved at the Peabody Conservatory. A catalyst is something that causes or accelerates a reaction. It is this image that inspires the drama of the piece. It should feel as if it is always building in momentum until it finally reaches a tipping point and erupts into fast passagework. The material for this piece is derived from the opening two measures and is developed throughout the composition. As a composer who greatly values voice-leading and the independence of contrapuntal lines, I enjoyed the challenge of retaining these elements of my music with an instrument that typically plays one or two notes at a time. The passagework at the end of the piece was inspired by my upbringing as a drum set player. As a child, I used to enjoy playing drum solos in my band and when I decided that this piece needed a flashy ending, I essentially composed a drum solo for the violin. My experience as a drummer has rarely influenced my past compositions in a direct way, but I was happy to make an exception for this piece.


Christopher Ciampoli, Violin 

Catalyst

I walk my breezy belvedere 
To watch the low or levant sun, 
I see the city pigeons veer, 
I mark the tower swallows run 

Between the tower-top and the ground 
Below me in the bearing air; 
Then find in the horizon-round 
One spot and hunger to be there. 

And then I hate the most that lore 
That holds no promise of success; 
Then sweetest seems the houseless shore, 
Then free and kind the wilderness, 

Or ancient mounds that cover bones, 
Or rocks where rockdoves do repair
And trees of terebinth and stones 
And silence and a gulf of air. 

There on a long and squared height 
After the sunset I would lie, 
And pierce the yellow waxen light 
With free long looking, ere I die. 


Movement for Orchestra

Movement for Orchestra (2016) was written during my first semester at the Peabody Conservatory. This reading of the composition by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Alan Buxbaum. The piece is based loosely on a passacaglia, but unlike a typical passacaglia, the motive does not continue in its entirety throughout the piece. Instead it disintegrates gradually as the piece progresses, relying only on fragments of this motive to hold the music together. The motive of the passacaglia begins with almost all half steps and then arpeggiates an F# minor triad. This contrast on the motivic level is also expressed in the harmonic landscape of the piece. Overall the harmony transitions from a chromatic language to one that is more diatonic by the end of the piece. The other source material of this composition is the rhythmic gesture that begins the piece. This tutti gesture is characterized by a series of eighth notes, triplets, and quintuplets. This idea interjects throughout the composition but is altered each time, allowing the gesture to contribute to the musical narrative in different ways. (Artwork by Chaïm Soutine - Landscape at Céret)

S T E V E N  M.  C R I N O

COMPOSER   CONDUCTOR

The Alchemist in the City

Dear Princeton Faculty, 


 Thank you for taking the time to review my application. Below are my three audition pieces with their respective scores. I am very excited about the possibility of being a Princeton student. 


​Sincerely, Steve Crino

'The Alchemist in the City' is a single movement piece written for Baritone and mixed octet. The piece sets the poetry of Gerard Manly Hopkins and depicts an alchemist who has reached the end of his life, and is lamenting the fact that he has failed to accomplish the two primary goals of alchemy; to turn metals into gold, and to create an elixir of immortality. He also reflects on the modernization of the city around him, where he sees that alchemy no longer has a place. With this realization, the Alchemist cannot decide whether to blame the city and modernization for turning him into this anachronism, or the pursuit of alchemy itself for leading him down a path destined for defeat. Despite being written in 1865, the themes found in The Alchemist in the City, such as failure, relevance in society, and the surpassing of old ideas, still resonate with readers today. It was for this reason that I was attracted to the poem and feel that it should have a life in the 21st century. The piece was performed in Griswold Hall at the Peabody Conservatory.


The paintings selected for this video were created by the British artist, Alfred Goodwin, a contemporary of Hopkins.


Christopher J. Hartung, Baritone

Alan Buxbaum, Conductor

Gyuri Kim, Flute

Eric Black, Clarinet

Taylor Davis, Percussion

Erin Baker, Harp

Nicholas Bentz, Violin I

Maitreyi Muralidharan, Violin II

Jonathan Milord, Viola

Jerram John, Cello


The Alchemist in the City


My window shows the travelling clouds,

Leaves spent, new seasons, alter'd sky,

The making and the melting crowds:

The whole world passes; I stand by.


They do not waste their meted hours,

But men and masters plan and build:

I see the crowning of their towers,

And happy promises fulfilled.


And I - perhaps if my intent

Could count on prediluvian age,

The labours I should then have spent

Might so attain their heritage,


But now before the pot can glow

With not to be discover'd gold,

At length the bellows shall not blow,

The furnace shall at last be cold.


Yet it is now too late to heal

The incapable and cumbrous shame

Which makes me when with men I deal

More powerless than the blind or lame.


No, I should love the city less

Even than this my thankless lore;

But I desire the wilderness

Or weeded landslips of the shore.