SOUNDARTUS Home Chris Kaufman's Sonic Emporium

Christopher Kaufman's


Chris Kaufman's MUSIC FROM EARTH - (11/'07) for Alto Saxophone Soloist, CDTape of Western/Eastern Orchestral, Electronic and Natural Sounds and Visual Projections.

About MUSIC FROM EARTH the composer writes:

..."Music From Earth represents a new evolution in my work in terms of how music is put together and presented. I came to computers recently and now am enjoying working with film artists and for those projects modern technology is paramount. It was with great pleasure that I discovered the possibilities for the combination of live and electronic music. I use my western orchestral sounds and electronic instruments in original ways born of my long experience with live music and orchestral composition. Add to these the eastern orchestra, electronic instruments and natural sounds and you have a very fulfilling orchestral ‘universe’.

...The resultant sound world and presentation is unique and versatile, infinitely diverse and able to monumentalize inspiration and compositional planning. MUSIC FROM EARTH is often presented with lighting and visual projections of natural images - which can seem as abstract images, sometimes of recognizable creatures or forms..."

Demetrius Spaneas

for whom Music From Earth was written. Demetrius premiered the work in Tashkent Uzbekistan 11/'07

Quick Overview:

Opening Rift - the work begins at the ‘mid-atlantic rift’. Earth Rhythm - The music progresses with war-like rhythms through the ocean. Whale-song is part of the texture, mixed with symphonic textures and powerful thematic melodies in the saxophone. Air - Expressive solos interweave sounds of tree crickets, polyphonic owls, woodpecker, harp, piccolo, marimba and other sounds. Interlude. Ritual Snake Dance - You’ll hear saxophone, eastern percussion, piano, mutedtrumpet, bass, electronic brass and rattle-snake sounds. UrthStorm - the final movement features lightning strokes, complex driving rhythms, live ‘cuica’ and the central message of MUSIC FROM EARTH.

SCORE - Introduction

MUSIC FROM EARTH: - for Alto Saxophone Soloist and Tape of Western/Eastern Orchestra, Electronic and Natural Sounds::

MUSIC FROM EARTH was composed during the last two weeks of August, 2007 for Saxophonist and New Music Champion Demetrius Spaneas. It is part of a series of works inspired by Environmental Awareness, the leadership of Al Gore and others, my own sense of these issues and my love of the sounds involved. Demetrius has premiered the work in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (11/08) and performed it at the DOM Cultural Center in Moscow. He continued to tour the work with a number of other pieces of American music (including his own) in locations such as Kyrgyzstan, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, St. Petersburg and Riga, Latvia. Now we will perform it in America. When possible the performances include a film of natural imagery. This film, which I created, uses microscopic images and images of familiar forms close up so as to appear abstract as well as recognizable natural images such as creatures and geographical forms.


DEMO VERSION - Music With Video


Demetrius Spaneas - composer for film and concert stage / virtuoso performer (saxophone, clarinet, flute) - world traveling new music champion - read more about him and listen to his music by visiting his site.

"...such zest, such fire, such a gleeful explosivenesss... had it been just one percent more intense, it would have necessitated scraping the audience off the walls." - BOSTON GLOBE



A Song Of The Earth

Chris Kaufman's MUSIC FROM EARTH tells a story - the projected imagery and the aural backdrop provided by the taped music which accompanies the soloist, bring the audience along a clear path. The work uses geography to define the overall form of this story - in fact, the composer often felt as if, in this music, our planet was speaking through him.

1. Opening Rift

The story begins in the center of the ocean - the mid-Atlantic rift. The video shows images of deep ocean volcanic vents, lava and expressive ocean waves. The titles have double meanings and this one refers to the 'rift' between humanity and nature.

2. Earth Rhythm

A powerful rhythmic backdrop ensues - Images of microscopic life move to formations of coral and undersea creatures such as jellyfish, dolphins and whales as the story progresses to the surface of the sea. Whalesong is part of the taped music. It ends with music which sounds like the 'Earth breathing'.

3. Air

Images and sounds from the Earth's surface. You hear music composed from the sounds of tree crickets, woodpeckers, polyphonic owls, a june-bug flying into a microphone, orchestral sounds, and beautiful melodic work for the Sax.

4. Interlude and Ritual Snake Dance

Here the screen goes black and we listen. The music here is based on a piano improvisation which Kaufman orchestrated and developed. Rattlesnake sounds of are part of the music. Slowly images return - showing the galaxy and moving gradually to Earth. The music grows to a seven part rhythmic layering featuring Eastern percussion. The sax plays evocative solos which grow to a fevered pitch. There is a spiritual quality to the music.

5. Urthstorm

Images of storms are matched in the music as the Sax performs harmonic riffs depicting lightning strokes. Live 'cuica' and thunder and wind sounds are interwoven with a texture of powerful and complex rhythmic music. Whalesong returns in an atmosphere of forboding and warning...

New York Premier

April 24th, 2013