FREE ENERGY

On the way to composing for the traditional 4tet and 5tet, Michael Moss discovered a path less taken, that of the Renaissance Orchestra.  Among the music theory books left him by his concert pianist/composer father, H. Baron Moss, was a tome about small orchestra.  In it, the ranges, clefs, and writing concepts for this four hundred year old small orchestra as it had evolved through cultural history of western Europe emerged.  At the time, Moss wanted to use a larger number of musicians and to find alternative forms of composition that could adapt to experimental music of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  The result: a group composed of a string quartet, rhythm section, and horn section.  Moss writes for the musicians in the group and is inspired as much by the talent they imbue as by the particular musical format.  The group took on the name Free Energy as a result of this approach.  Like Michelangelo who sculpted figures he perceived in the marble beneath his hands, allowing the figures to create themselves, Moss wrote pieces that featured the musicians du jour using Michelangelo as the metaphor that dissolved alchemically the dross that concealed them, In this way he met most of the top creative cats in NYC.  His largest commissions numbered a large orchestra—the JCOA or Jazz Composers Orchestra Association, which appeared at NYU (New York University).  He wrote another piece commissioned by WBAI-FM that filled the entire studio at the station with cats in every corner, music directed by Moss—chordal, atonal, bitonal, formal, and intuitive.  Thus Free Energy as a working group became Moss’ opportunity to explore an exceptionally wide tract of experimental territory.  This music remains in the archives of Moss’ collection and will be released if and when an opportunity and funding arises.  The music itself is available on ERG Publishing if a demand emerges.  Moss wants to revive the group and formally record the symphonies and symphoniettes he composed for this Renaissance Orchestra.

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