Some of Kit’s music…

Until I have time to redesign my website, I’ll try to periodically post recordings and scores to this blog post.  If you’re curious about the background of a given piece, in most cases, you’ll find more information in the PDF score.  I hope you enjoy at least some of the music below!  Please contact me any time if you have any questions, comments, or would like to perform one of the pieces and need parts (most of my music is currently free).

18 Variations on an Original Romantic Theme (2009), for Solo 5.0 octave Marimba
– Some years ago, the now-defunct Classical Marimba League commissioned me to write a Romantic-style showpiece for winners of their performance contest.  I had a lot of fun writing this once I decided on the Theme and Variations format, which allows composers to play around with many different textures and moods in the course of one piece.  The MIDI file below will give you a decent idea of this colorful piece.  One request:  if you’re interested in playing it, please purchase an official copy from C. Alan Publications, who have listed it here:

18 Variations on an Original Romantic Theme, by Kit Mills – Complete, with program notes

A Norwegian Folksong in Seven Costumes (2014), for Chamber String Orchestra – Note: this recording is just a sightreading of an earlier draft of the piece, done by the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin during a short masterclass in 2014.

A Norwegian Folksong in Seven Costumes, by Kit Mills – 11×17 Conductor’s Score
Program Notes for A Norwegian Folksong in Seven Costumes – Kit Mills

A Rewarding Journey (2012), for Solo 3.0 octave Marimba
– This recording is excerpted from my MMus recording project, which I devoted to a survey of my compositions for student marimba players.  The piece was published by C. Alan Publications and can be found here:

Baroque Recessional (2009), for String Quartet
– I wrote this Baroque/Rococo-style piece to serve as the recessional for the wedding of my friend and former Wheaton roommate Rich and his wife.  The purported composer of the work, “Cristoforo Danieli (1677-1721),” is a play on my name that I’ve adopted once or twice when allowing myself the luxury of tossing off a piece in an older musical style.  This is as close as I will ever get to donning a powdered wig.

Baroque Recessional (for Rich and Michelle), by Kit Mills – Score

Benediction (2015)for Baritone voice and Organ
– I wrote this new setting of the familiar Benediction text (slightly altered) for my friend Dallas, a pastor of great integrity, a real character, and a fine musician to boot.  The MIDI file below substitutes Horn (French Horn if you’re not familiar with orchestra-speak) for voice, since the MIDI voice sound is ghastly.

Benediction, for baritone voice and organ, by Kit Mills

Beyond the Desert Sands (2011), for Orchestra – this is a concert recording by the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra of Whidbey Island.  The first minute or so is a little painful (the strings had an off day, I guess), but it gets better…

Beyond the Desert Sands, by Kit Mills – Score

Cantata for Trinity Sunday (2015), for Soprano and Baritone soloists, String Quartet, Piano, and Two Percussionists – this is a recording from my Master’s recital.  The piece is in nine short movements, based upon passages from the Bible along with settings of poems by Phineas Fletcher (1582-1650) and Henry Vaughan (1621-1695).

Cantata for Trinity Sunday, by Kit Mills – Score

Christ the Lord is Risen Today (2000), for Horn and String Orchestra
This energetic and cheerful piece was both my first contest winner and my first published piece, written during my final year at Wheaton College.  If you’re interested, the score and parts are available from Selah Publishing here: (Note that the marked tempo is too slow…the performance here, from my senior recital, was taken at a much better tempo).

Danza Triste (2008), for Solo Marimba (4.0 octave)
– This fun if slightly melancholy little student piece takes its inspiration from the Puerto Rican version of the Danzon.  Enjoy!

Danza Triste, by Kit Mills

Fantasy No. 1 for Harp, Bassoon, and Cello (2000)
– While writing music for my senior composition recital at Wheaton, I decided to write a piece for three instruments that frequently read tenor clef:  bassoon, trombone, and cello. Trombonists were in short supply that year, however, so in due time, it occurred to me, “Hey, I know a couple of good harpists, I love the instrument, and I’ve never written for harp.”  And that’s how this unusual instrumental combination came about.  The following recording is from my senior recital and I thought those guys did a great job on less than 24 hours (poor planning on my part!) with the music.

Fantasy No. 1 for Harp, Bassoon, and Cello, by Kit Mills – Score

Latin Vamprovisations (2014)for Marimba Soloist and Percussion Ensemble
This piece is unique (for me) in not including a true melody but instead allowing the players some room to improvise over two vamps with a Latin/Afro-Cuban feel.  It’s an interesting hybrid of composed and improvised music and will be different every time it’s performed.  This recording was done by the Western Oregon University Percussion Ensemble at my Master’s recital.

Latin Vamprovisations, by Kit Mills – Full Score
Latin Vamprovisations, by Kit Mills – Program Notes

Little Baroque Suite in b (2009), for Two Violins, Theorbo, and Basso Continuo
– Seattle-based Early Music specialist Tekla Cunningham invited me to write a new piece for her ensemble to premiere at the 2009 Whidbey Island Music Festival, so I indulged myself and wrote a pastiche Baroque suite for the available players.  It was a fun little project and the players seemed to enjoy tackling this “new old piece”; they were even nice enough to gloss over a few figured bass and theorbo registration errors on my part.

Little Baroque Suite in B Minor, by Kit Mills – Score
Minuet for Theorbo (from Little Baroque Suite), by Kit Mills

Little Toccata No. 1 in D (2015), for Organ
– I’m looking forward to hearing a great organist play this on a great organ in a great space some time.  This has to rank right up there with the most exuberant music I’ve written and was a lot of fun to write.  I’m probably going to alter the ending, which strikes me as too abrupt and “easy”, but here’s a MIDI file of the piece as it stands.

Little Toccata No. 1 in D, for organ, by Kit Mills

Little Toccata and Fugue in d (2011), for Solo Marimba (3.5 octave marimba)
– Sooner or later, every marimbist tackles J. S. Bach’s wonderful works for solo violin, cello, or lute.  This little student piece is an homage to such works but is written expressly for the marimba (to be played with two mallets).

Little Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, by Kit Mills

Meditation No. 1 (2010)for 4.0 octave Marimba (two players)
– Here is a studio recording of this serene and simple little piece for marimba.

Meditation No. 1 for Marimba (Two Players), by Kit Mills

Moonlit, the Sleeping Realm Awakes (2007), Fantasy No. 2 for Harp, Bassoon, and Cello
– After purchasing and listening an enrapturing disc of the English (and would-be Irish) composer Arnold Bax’s (1883-1953) chamber music some years ago, I felt compelled to revisit an unusual and beautiful instrumental combination I’d written for in the earlier Fantasy above.  At the time, I gave the piece this rather over-the-top Romantic title hoping that it would stick out more than “Fantasy No. 2” and garner an award or two in various composition contests.  No dice.  To the best of my knowledge, the piece hasn’t been performed, so I’ll have to place it in the semi-capable hands of MIDI.

Moonlit, the Sleeping Realm Awakes, by Kit Mills – Score

Organ Prelude in D (2015)
– Here’s a simple organ prelude (or postlude, interlude, offertory, pastorale, etc.) that marks my first foray into writing for solo organ and may end up a part of a set of organ works.  The MIDI recording below represents the piece pretty well.

Organ Prelude in D, by Kit Mills

“Pastoral” String Quintet, Mvt. 3: Nocturne (2006), for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Cello
– At the time I wrote the three finished movements in this unfinished quintet, I was heavily steeping myself in the wonderful music of the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), and it’s pretty evident throughout the work.  This movement works the best, I think, though some of the melodies relate to the earlier movements and might not have as much impact when you just hear this movement by itself.  I don’t have a recording of the other movements, but I hope you’ll enjoy this movement on its own.

Pastoral Quintet – III. Nocturne, by Kit Mills – Score

Processional for the Lyons (2009), for String Quartet
– I wrote this wedding processional for my dear friends Rich and Michelle some time ago, hoping to create a winsome piece that would lend beauty to the already beautiful ceremony.  It was an honor to be a part of this first day of their marriage!

Processional of the Lyons, by Kit Mills – Score

Rap Project, Backing Track (2015), programmed in Logic Pro X
– This backing track for the Salem, Oregon, Hip-Hop artist Matty was my first foray into rap and also my first time working with Logic, so it was a great learning experience all around.  Matty wanted more space than typical rap “loop and groove” feels, so at his request I left out drums and went for a generally spare atmosphere based around a simple piano melody.  Below you can check out an earlier version, followed by the final version (both unmixed, and sans Matty):

Reflections (2013), for Solo Cello
– I wrote this piece in response to a call for scores issued by cellist Suzanne Mueller (who liked and programmed it.  Yay!) in celebration of ten years hosting a festival in New York.  The piece grew out of my musing about all that had taken place in my own life during the previous decade, pondering whether I’d used those ten years well, and thinking about what I might do differently if granted another decade of life.  The performance here is by a student performer at Western Oregon University (our lone cellist, actually).

Reflections for Solo Cello, by Kit Mills

Reverie (2002), for Cello and Piano
– This is a wedding gift I wrote for a cellist friend from my days at Wheaton College (Illinois), and incorporates an inside joke.  Measure 36 introduces a new section, with the cello playing an initial descending whole step from B to A.  My friend and I used to go on long walks down the “prairie paths” that cut across the area and would often hear chickadees sounding a call similar to that little melodic snippet.  I would jokingly mock their whistling it out of tune, which usually earned me a hard punch on the shoulder.  Sadly, I don’t have a recording of the piece, which demands a subtlety of performance that the following MIDI file lacks.  On the good side, my shoulder is no longer bruised.

Reverie, for Cello and Piano, by Kit Mills – Score

Scenes from Monmouth (2014-15), Six Movements for Solo Viola
– This piece depicts aspects of life and scenery in this little town nestled in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon.  The included recording is from a rehearsal of the piece prior to my Master’s recital.

Scenes from Monmouth, by Kit Mills – Complete, with program notes

Tenebrae Nocturna No. 2 (2008), for Violin, Two Violas, and Cello
– “Tenebrae” is Latin for shadows or darkness, and is a traditional service in Holy Week, often observed on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday, the day on which Christ was executed on a cross).  Tenebrae services sometimes involve the lights, often candles, being extinguished, symbolizing Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, being “extinguished”.  I wrote this and another work for such a service some time ago.

Tenebrae Nocturna No. 2, by Kit Mills – Score

Three European Folksongs, Mvt. II: English (2007), for Strings; originally for 5.0 octave Marimba, Three Players
– This is an arrangement of an arrangement!  The original piece is scored for three players on one marimba, which is a bit cramped but works with some careful physical planning.  This movement is beautiful on marimba, but sounds more expansively so for strings; I arranged it for string quartet and present it here in a MIDI string orchestra version.

Three European Folksongs, II. English, by Kit Mills – Score (String Quartet Version)

What Wondrous Love is This (2005)for 4.0 octave Marimba, Two Players
– I’ve loved this beautiful Appalachian hymn ever since first hearing it, and tried to do it justice in a rather “English pastoral” sounding setting for two marimbists on one instrument.  It’s suitable for any good players, but would also work well for a teacher and student duo.

What Wondrous Love is This (for Marimba, Two Players), by Kit Mills

About Kit Mills

Kit Mills says: I'm a native (and admirer) of Whidbey Island currently serving and seeking to inspire students throughout the Puget Sound region as a private percussion instructor and clinician. As a composer and performer I befriend and collaborate with musicians of all ages and skills across the USA and overseas, with a particular emphasis on working with school age students.
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