Warren's LISTEN ONLY Department
Compositions by Warren Park without sheet music for sale


Click on this symbol to hear the entire piece described to the right,
(mp3 file 2 to 12 MB in size).



In May 2014, Mad Munchkin Productions, a wonderful troupe of puppeteers/actors/mask-makers/shadow-puppet-makers, mounted a terrific show named Tracing Fault Lines. This refers to facing and coping with a huge variety of disasters, natural and human-made. Please visit Mad Munchkin's website (www.madmunchkinproductions.com) for more details and a summary of what this wordless, inventive and very colorful production entailed. Warren was asked to write original music for four of the main sections of the show, two of which (pollution, industrialized agriculture) are described and sampled below. The music was written with sampled chamber orchestra instruments, utilizing the Garritan Personal Orchestra synthesizer voices. Click on the capitalized titles below to hear the music the audience heard during the shows.

1. POLLUTION (part one) This music is a sort of continuum of disquieting music meant to serve as background to the stage action and shadow puppetry for three main types of pollution that wreck the environment: water contamination, discarded plastic in the ocean, and air pollution from industries.

2. POLLUTION (part two) A beautiful white bird awakens, takes off and flies joyously in majestic circles in the sky. After a while he comes back to Earth but accidentally lands in an oil slick from he which he cannot escape. Soon all that's left is the dead, blackened, bird skeleton puppet.

3. INDUSTRIALIZED AGRICULTURE In three sections, this story is told with a cranking canvas (like a scroll) of large paintings with live actors reacting to what they see. Each short part starts out with optimism and joy, but soon deteriorates into dismal chaos and grim desolation.
A. Farming. This begins with a slightly jazzy, casual tune. The sad part of this music represents a giant tractor destroying the land and leaving behind a dusty wasteland where nothing can grow.
B. Logging. The opening is a jolly barn dance kind of tune, while the second half shows the forest being clear-cut and slowing disappearing, with the root systems destroyed and the soil eroding away.
C. Fishing. This music starts with a maritime-sounding, lively jig, followed by music representing huge boats and massive nets scooping up everything, then an empty ocean.


Samples from A GRIMM TALE

Here is my original music written for a fine dance and puppetry show, A GRIMM TALE, performed July 19-22, 2012 at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis. This performance was produced by the Eclectic Edge Ensemble (modern dance troupe) and Mad Munchkins Productions (puppetry company), the same pair of artistic ensembles that produced Snowbound the previous year. Go to www.eclecticedgeensemble.com for more info and to look through their "A Grimm Tale Study Guide." I am one of four composers who wrote original music for this wonderful production.





Samples from SNOWBOUND

Snowbound is a recent work with choreographer Karis Sloss and the Eclectic Edge Ensemble dancers. Snowbound, performed in February 2011, was a dance and puppetry collaboration with the Mad Munchkins puppet troop, which produced some amazing visual effects, and wonderful, imaginative action. I wrote music (along with two other composers) to match the action and character of several of the dance/play's sections. Here are my major contributions to the show's score. (*Computer synth instruments from the Garritan Orchestra.)

Music of Winter for Solo Piano (5:06). I am the pianist in this segment that involves the meeting of dancers who became immersed in the winter scene. This includes a one-minute section where I wrote an overlay of added computer instruments (harp, hand bells and some percussion) to represent the sudden appearance of the Northern Lights.

Leaf Falls (:45)  This section begins with a snap followed immediately by a wistful piano chord, with some subtle dissonance, as the last leaf of autumn falls to the ground.

Snow Dragon Entrance (:58)  As soon as the leaf hits the ground, the magic snow dragon charges onstage (controlled by six dancer/puppeteers) and struts around, a little frighteningly, full of itself, but it soon accomplishes its task: delivering to the stage the important, beach ball-size snowglobe that often 'controls' the subsequent action.

Snowglobe Turns Magic (:46)  This is a short section where the snowglobe ball is lifted up and is transformed into a magical object.

Snowbound Piano Solo The Eclectic Edge Ensemble and Mad Munchkins Productions produced an amazing new revision of their five-year-old Snowbound show, with quite a bit of added material, dance, puppetry and music. This piece for solo piano accompanies specific stage action that involves a pair of brand new characters whom the main dancers in the show 'create' as part of the story. The personalities of the two characters are reprised during this six-minute piano solo, written for this entirely new section of Snowbound. Four performances of the new Snowbound show took place at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis, in mid-March, 2016.

Snowshower (:45)  This is a another short segment where snow suddenly and briefly bursts into the scene. It ends quietly with the same wistful chord that began the Leaf Falls section.

Dance for Two (4:22)  This is another solo piano piece I wrote especially for Snowbound. Two dancers meet and tentatively start to 'click' together and for a few moments are joyously in synch, followed by the departure of one of them, leaving the other sadly alone.

Finale sample idea (:41). This is a crazy and lively musical idea I proposed as a start for the show's Finale section. Other music was chosen, but, if selected, this fragment would have been developed into a complete piece. Perhaps this music will be used for something else someday. I like its exuberance and carefree, casual attitude.


Samples from SIROCCO

Sirocco is a new modern dance work by choreographer Karis Sloss which was performed by her professional dance troupe, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble; four performances in mid July 2007 drew nearly 600 enthusiastic audience members. The 45-minute score includes music by three separate composers, including Warren Park. A special order CD of Music from Sirocco is available through Warren Park Music (please click the button below with the clouds photo). The music for Sirocco was chosen by Karis Sloss from previously written compositions and from music written specifically for this production. Here below are audio samples from Sirocco of music written by Warren Park, for your listening pleasure, with comments from him.

Slow 5 & 6   This is the nickname we gave this short segue piece that was intended to connect two scenes, but was never used in the final show. This simple piece for a small chamber group intentionally introduces the rhythm of a pattern of 5 beats followed by 6 beats in a cycle. This pattern is used again, faster, in Morning After, below. The ‘5’ that begins that pattern is subdivided using eighth notes this way: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2 while the second portion of the cycle, the six beat part, still using eighth notes, adds another beat to the pattern: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2. The resulting 11 beat loop is a interesting rhythmic feature to work with. All the instruments you hear are computer-based voices found within the Garritan Personal Orchestra program. In other words, the marimba, harp, violin, bass clarinet, bass etc. you hear, that sound so much like real players, are actually instrumental voices I am controlling carefully via computer programming.

Intro to Town   Karis chose part of the second half of my already-written Mesmer's Waltz (for Tenor Sax, Piano and Bass) for use in this section of the story. Again the instrumental sounds are computer-based voices, not live players, although I was able to get them to sound pretty lively via the computer programming.

Workers Song   This piece is a wholly new work I wrote for this production. It is entirely percussion instruments, found in the Garritan Orchestra (computer-based sounds). I was able to incorporate some very authentic sounds from real African and Asian instruments-but all the notes, durations, attacks, rhythms are all my own creation. This sounds like a collection of really fine live percussionists. In the show itself, one of the other composers added a few heavier percussion sounds to my track.

Lover's Dance   This is a piano solo, which I wrote and recorded, that I have named Poetic License. It appears here and on the Music from Sirocco CD in its complete form (around six minutes), while Karis used only the first half for her section of the show called Lover's Dance.

Soloist Calms Crowd   In the show itself, this section was a recorded piano solo I wrote and performed myself of a waltz that Bobb Fantauzzo, the Native American flute specialist, played over, in live performance. The Music from Sirocco CD includes that duet. What you hear on this audio sample, however, is a more complete solo piano version of the same tune, played in a 4/4 rhythm instead of a waltz.

Morning After   This is the most complex piece I wrote for Sirocco. It starts out with a minute or so of very spooky, non-tonal, atmospheric writing that was put to very good use in the dance. This is followed by a longer section that features once again the same 5 & 6 rhythm pattern introduced in Slow 5 & 6 above. This piece has the quality of a very odd-instrumentation orchestra starting out in a sort of brooding, dark manner at first, but that soon gives way to a lighter more lyrical section featuring the bassoon and violin in a peaceful duet, all still following the 11 beat rhythm pattern. Again, the show used only the first 3/4 of this piece; it appears here and on the CD in its entirety.

Waltzing Into Madness   This is a piece written for Sirocco for a very dramatic section involving a fatal fight between the lovers. In the story, the magic Sirocco winds have seized the town and made everyone go mad. The choreographer chose a different piece by another composer for the performance, but the qualities imparted here do convey the idea that things are all becoming detached and unhinged. It is an exercise in a continuous accelerando, leading to a climax that represents the murdered woman's soul torn from her unnaturally: listen for the clanging handbells that sound desperate, spilling out violently, then helplessly finally drifting away. Once again, all the instrumental voices used here are computer-based.

Music from Sirocco
Order the CD

Exotic Places, Amazing Sights   Here is the audio file Warren submitted to the 2012 composers contest on Facebook sponsored by Make Music, maker of the Garritan orchestra of computer instruments. Each composer's entry was limited to 90 seconds.

Exotic Places, Amazing Sights deliberately uses exotic harmonies and rhythms, featuring especially a lively 11/4 time, always divided into five beats, then six beats. Shifting threes and twos help make the music seem that it's from a far-away place. All of the percussion instruments come from the Garritan library of unusual world instruments, mixed with conventional percussion. The additional scoring is for marimba, harp, piano, celesta, violin, cello, acoustic guitar, tuba, soprano sax, bass clarinet, English horn, bassoon, and bass.



My solo piano pieces largely were written over the last three decades for performance at casual, small concert venues, such as coffee houses and other informal settings as part of variety performances. They are composed by memorization growing out of several improvisation sessions. The form and structure take shape over the course of several repeated play-throughs, keeping and developing the material I like the most. Three of the following tunes were written in 2008 with less planning and more improv featured.

Warren Park Performing

This is a 1980 recording session with Warren Park playing his own tunes (much of his current repertoire at the time). The session was recorded by engineer Darren Applequist with wonderful recording equipment, inside the (empty) main concert hall at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, using their 9-foot concert grand Steinway. Three of these tunes are also recorded elsewhere in this section of the Warren Park Music website, using other recording equipment and pianos. It is interesting to contrast and compare the separate performances of these pieces.
   1) Db Waltz (4:39)
   2) Culmination (5:20)
   3) Drunken Ballerina (3:38)
   4) Recollection (4:36)
   5) My First Bicycle (6:23)
   6) Frost Image (5:01)
   7) The Latest News Early (4:03)
   8) Chance Meeting (6:30)
   9) Song Without Words (4:07)
   10) Jig (4:25)
   11) Impromptu (3:15)

Powderhorn Park   This is a simple and melodic piano solo written for the Delian’s Society’s Suite #1.

A Drunken Ballerina   This is an old tune now which has been performed many times over the years. The music is supposed to represent the idea of a tipsy dancer improvising movements without very much planning or forethought. The gestures are sometimes grand and hyper, flouncy and exaggerated without very much continuity. Sometimes things get repeated illogically with abrupt contrasts that don't make very much sense. (3:28)

Jig   This is another tune from about 20 or more years ago. It is all in the traditional 6/8 rhythm with quiet and lyrical passages that lead to more grand expansiveness and continuous building. It is like a typical Irish jig that gets carried away, adding excitement as it progresses, and concluding in a very grandiose ending that no usual jig would have. (4:47)

My First Bicycle   Written originally about 1975, this older piano solo tells a story of sorts. The main character is learning how to ride his/her first bicycle. In the beginning the music keeps the bike rider close to home in familiar and comfortable territory, safe ground. Sometimes the feeling of the music builds to more of a cruising speed, still fairly secure but more adventuresome. After a while, a period of dangerous unbalance happens where the rider feels out of control-maybe a downhill plunge he/she was not expecting-but the music leads to a faster and more exhilarating stretch, still a bit out-of-control, but not losing balance all together. Finally a corner is turned and the rider is back on their home block in safe and familiar territory....a wild, exciting ride with a new and unexplored mode of transportation. (4:50)

Mystical Ebb and Flow (2008) This is a loosely-structured improvisation-based piano solo that explores the feeling of ebb and flow within a slow and repeating rhythm, moving from soft to loud and back. (6:14)

Weave a Gossamer Web (2008) Another of the new improv-based piano tunes, this one working with a repeated 5/4 rhythm. (4:20)

May Meditation (2008) The last of my piano improvisations for spring 2008. This one is even more loosely structured, mostly slow and quiet, very reverential. (5:31)

Poetic License   This is a mostly quiet and wistful piano solo that has some real flow to it. It was used for Sirocco (see above), but it existed as an engrossing piano tune before that. Recorded by Warren Park on the home Steinway concert grand. (6:53)



Vive Verlaine for bassoon and string orchestra. This is part of a fascinating project from the Delian Society which involves a set of variations written on the same theme by 12 international composer-members of the Delian Society. The requirements were only to make use of the same seven-note tone row, which represents magically the name of French poet Paul Verlaine; all the other variables such as rhythm, tempo, character, etc. were left up to the individual composers. This short movement of mine is one of the faster variations, and the only one to use pizzicato strings throughout. YouTube links to the fine performance are found here:




My contribution is found in the middle YouTube video, at 3:25, the third of four in that part.

Polytonal Percolator (c1992)   This is a kind of variety-filled novelty piece written entirely for the Kawai M1m synth module, now considered a 'vintage' machine, with some unusual voices/sounds. The music spins along from section to section with multiple patch changes to show the contrasting voices available in the K1m. One musical idea leads to another freely with some motifs returning in different guises, while other threads disappear. There are a lot a dense textures and polyphonic writing contrasted with some very tonal and melodic sections. Entertaining listening that's hard to categorize.

Letter to PT Barnham   The Delian Society (the on-line tonal composers club I belong to), for it's Delian Society Suite #8, Letters to Eternity (2015) project, asked composers to provide musical letters to anyone they chose from the past, known or unknown. 12 composers responded with very individualized 'letters', written with the instrumentation found in the Octava Chamber Orchestra of Seattle, who agreed to partner with the Delian Society on this project. The performance took place on January 30th, 2016. Here is the program from that concert. I chose PT Barnham, Circus Showman, as the subject of my letter. My piece features some familiar tunes that sometimes are found in the music played during circus performances, complete with a few crowd vocalizations produced by the musicians.

Legend for Quintet (version for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, & cello)   Here is a recording from the mid-1980s of the flute, clarinet and three strings version of Legend, complete with a radio interview, before and after the music. The interview is part of a composer's public radio program which includes interesting details about this piece, as explained by Warren Park.

Story Spinning   This piece began life as a captured piano improvisation using the Finale music computer program. Following revisions and editing, the piece was recorded for solo orchestra harp, using the sampled voice with the Garritan Personal Orchestra which resides inside the computer. (8:02) {A new, shorter version based on a revision of Story Spinning is in the works for classical guitar duo. Sheet music, when available, can be found within the main section of this website, under the heading of Music for Small Ensembles.}