Location: New York, USA
It is odd to find myself on a site for choral music since I mainly think of myself as a mixed-media artist who is also a published writer. Not having a musical background for composing, please consider this page to be about a project-in-progress. The songs for the project, "Whispers of Arias", come from a poetry manuscript "Arias, Monologues & Mad Scenes", and it has been my hope over the years that others might take an interest in performing them. As the saying goes: hope springs eternal. Again, musically, I'm not really a composer/arranger but more of a "lyricist" who, as hip hop artists do, sampled music, sound effects, (& instruments played around the house), in attempts to create songs for my voice. (In other words: forewarned is forearmed, or something along those lines.) When it comes to others adapting these works I think of them as templates/palettes to be made use of. My sense is that choral groups/solo artists, (actors & actresses even), and those who work with them in an arranging/conducting capacity, have the best feel for what songs/words, lyrically, establish the groundwork of creative affinity. I like the idea of letting the artists who are doing the interpreting to have as much freedom as needed to play and use the material to pitches of emotional resonance which can do the greatest good.
I began creating mp3 files somewhat by accident, or as an experiment. A few years ago I received a note from Frank Moore of Love Underground Visionary Revolution in regards to a few poems I mailed him. He asked if I'd be interested in recording them on a tape for him to play on his show. At the time I was just figuring out how to record my own voice and poetry as soundtracks for short collage-films I'd begun to make,yet the idea of using even a thirty minute tape for a number of poems seemed like I'd be wasting a lot of tape time. Thus, I got the idea of adding music to accompany my words. This eventually resulted in the CD 'Love Lullabies'. Using my own voice as background for my writing, in the past year I worked up the nerve to attempt singing the poems entirely. Actually, since so many of my poems are narratives, I've often thought of them sort of as choral, operatic or folk pieces, feeling influenced by such works as “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” in addition to the librettists for John Adams and Phillip Glass. I thought I'd be working on yet another DIY project, (eventually entitled 'Whispers of Arias'), but luckily came across Kevin MacLeod and his royalty-free music site, Incompetech.com. With his permission to use and play with samples from his site for this esoteric project, I’ve been fortunate to find a working collaboration. Since some of the songs on 'Whispers of Arias' have an LGBT theme I contacted a few choral groups who specialize in such work. A couple have asked me if I have a particular song 'The Secret Marriage' in TTBB, and I have to laugh about my own ignorance when I put the letters TTBB in a search engine to figure out what was meant! It is such ineptitude on my part which brings me to this site in hopes someone might take an interest in what I'm doing to help provide music sheets/arrangements for these songs. Should that be the case I look forward to hearing from you! Complete music samples can be heard via http://soundcloud.com/stephenmeadart
Please note: I am not a composer, but lyricist, yet would certainly look forward to working with anyone who would like to interpret (compose/arrange) my material. I
I can not pay for this, would only maintain copyright for the lyrics and would appreciate a "plug". However, if the music miraculously gets picked up by a kerjillion-seller person/ensemble a cut in the profits would be lovely for me to quit my day job and do "good works" and "no harm" through my art full-time! CD
"Whispers of Arias, Volumes One & Two" can purchased via
Christmas 2014, Threnody for a Forgotten Plague, Song Cycle released, work-in-porogress dealing with the early days of the AIDS Pandemic, adaptation/collaboration welcome
Video of Song from "Whispers of Arias", Volume Two. Words and Voice: Stephen Mead, Music: Kevin MacLeod
Patroclus (Love Song for Patroclus & Achilles)
Video of song from "Whispers of Arias, Volume One". Words and Voice: Stephen Mead, Music: Kevin MacLeod
Jonathan Penton at Unlikely Stories has written:
It's appropriate that Stephen Mead has named this double-album Whispers of Arias, because despite the layered, operatic music and big dramatic themes, these recordings, ultimately, sound very little like arias: The vocals are so tortured and quiet that one can't help but think of a ghost in a symphony hall, desperately trying to impress something upon the listeners, something dire, something unbelievably tragic. Stephen Mead sings his poems over Kevin MacLeod's complex and sophisticated classical intepretations, and the effect is transformative—on the rhythm of the poems, on the meaning of MacLeod's recordings, and ultimately, on the listener.
radiowildfire.com writes: Stephen's work with voice and soundscape continues to intrigue us and, we think, set a benchmark for recording spoken word.