Virgil Moorefield

Things You Must Do to Get toHeaven

Innova 664


Things You Must Do to Get toHeaven

   1. Five On Six                  8:21

   2. Crosstalk                      6:16

   3. Eightball in the Corner Wormhole            2:11

   4. Sixteen Sesterces                          8:43

5.   subliminal                  2:54

6.   Arrivalof the Crows                  9:36


Total: 38:21

all compositions by Virgil Moorefield


Michael Lowenstern, bassclarinet; Tom Kolor, percussion;Stephen Gosling, piano; TomChiu, violin; David Eggar, cello; Thad de Brock, guitar; VirgilMoorefield, conductor; solo percussion on subliminal;sampler on Arrival of the Crows


About the tracks


The first four tracks comprise one largerpiece, Things You Must Do to Get to Heaven. Each can also stand alone.


Things as a whole explores psychologicalspace.  In this sense, it is afollow-up and counterpart to my last album, 3,000 Degrees.  ItÕs a meditation on mortality from thestandpoint of individual consciousness. Attempts at transcendence are made, with varying degrees of success.


1. Five on Six


The title means Ņfive variations on sixelementsÓ.  The six elements areheard at the beginning of the track: the determined five-note percussive tutti,the violinÕs stoic B, the vibraphoneÕs dreamy suspended chord, the regimentaltenor drum figure, the questioning, tentatively hopeful bass clarinet and cellohalf-step — all of them struck down by the crass, ugly microtonal guitarretort.  The five variations onthis episode that follow make increasingly elaborate arguments, which I thinkof as attempts to escape the gravity of the unyielding electric guitar.  The guitar lets all the efforts comeforth, without argument.  When theyhave played themselves out, it simply reasserts its alien, two-cluster theme,unchanged, unmoved by all that has transpired.


2. Crosstalk


Stephen performs a beautiful, subtleharmonics introduction inside the piano, which, to my amazement, he playsexactly as notated.  Then there iscrosstalk in the sense of distraction and interruption (violin and cello at bar53, or about 2 min. in), as well as a conversation of interlocking figures ofsix as 3 x 2 and 2 x 3.


3. Eightball in the Corner Wormhole


The title is derived froma Science Times article that described time travel as a sort of circular routethrough wormholes.  This seemed arather playful, liberating idea, and one that moves beyond time as a linearconcept.  To amplify the change inperspective both literally and figuratively, I used the microphone as a lens:guitar switches, piano pedals, clarinet flaps, swishing brushes are all veryclosely micÕed and amplified. ItÕs a co-ordinated celebration of the soundsinstruments make that we arenÕt supposed to hear. Coincidentally, there is playwith prime numbers (3,5,7), and breath in the machine.


4. Sixteen Sesterces


I like the way it sounds when this title issaid aloud.  One can accent thefirst word on either the first or second syllable, but the second word isalways accented in the middle syllable. So it has the rhythm of the first figure of the first movement, whichreturns in this part of the piece. There are also some malevolently funnyepisodes.


This movement ties together everything thatÕsbeen explored in the previous three.


Finally, hereÕs a note I wrote in themargins of one of the sketches for the piece as a whole:


ThereÕs a big arc of sound travel —from the simplest, atomic individual statements, through loss of individualidentity in the second movement, dissection of all aspects of the instrumentÕssound in the third movement, to a modified conception — somehow beingchanged by all that happened — in movement four.

5. subliminal


a solo percussion comprovisation inmemory of Jane Moorefield Heumann.


I marshaled a large percussion array,carefully assembled at Carroll Music NYC, and played the disparate elementslike a drum set.  Then again, Itend to sometimes play the drums like a percussion array. I may have writtenthis whole album as a percussion piece of sorts.


6. Arrival of the Crows


The opening sounds are piano samples,stretched, contorted, filtered, microtonally assigned to a MIDI keyboard, andperformed on a Kurzweil 2500.  Thispiece is also comprovisational, unlike the four movements of Things, which arein standard notation.  What is lostin formal control is gained in timbral confluence, as evidenced by the finalascent into the high noise texture.


The title refers to asplendid group of crows that used to hang around the Institute Woods at Princeton.  Early summer mornings were punctuatedby their calls as they arrived on the lawn in front of our apartment complex.


Scores are available at


„ recorded at Kilgore Studios,New York City.

subliminal recorded at Spin Studio, New York City.

„ tracking engineer: TimConklin

„ produced by Virgil Moorefield

„ copyist: Paul Failla

„ moral support: EmilyMoorefield, Amy Williams,

Michelle JaffŽ, Mark Applebaum.

„ context: Glenn Branca, BoaC,John Zorn, Johnny ReinhardÕs

Microtonal Festival, SalvatoreSciarrino, Olivier Messiaen, Elliott SharpÕs various ensembles, and some guysimprovising at CBÕs Gallery a long time ago.

„ good advice: Mary Simoni.

„ thanks: Jason Corey, DaveGreenspan, Neeraj Mehta


subliminal was composed in memory of Jane Moorefield Heumann.

Arrival of the Crows was commissioned by the Bang On A Can PeopleÕs

Commissioning Fund.

Things You Must Do to Getto Heaven was partly composed

during residencies at Bellagio,Italy (Rockefeller Foundation),

and the Macdowell Colony,Peterborough, NH.

„ disc photo: Libby Fabricatore

„ cover art, Untitled(Medici Princess), c. 1952-54 by JosephCornell  © The Joseph and RobertCornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

„ supported in part by theUniversity of Michigan School of Music and OVPR. 

Also supported in part by theNew York State Music Fund, established by the

New York State Attorney Generalat Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.


„ innova is supported by agrant from the McKnight Foundation.

„ Philip Blackburn: director,design

„ Chris Campbell: operationsmanager