In the Margins of Darkness

for piano & bass voice; 2011 (.pdf score | text)

I. (Untitled Fragment) #3 (.mp3 recording)

II. You Shall Be My Roots (.mp3 recording)

III. (Untitled Fragment) #1 (.mp3 recording)

IV. January 11, 1988 (.mp3 recording)

This song cycle is comprised of four settings from my favorite book, Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, and littered with references to the book itself (which you can try to decipher in the score!). Each movement's text comes from the novel's various appendices. The first three are peculiar musings of a mysterious old blind man, and the fourth is part of a letter written by a clinically insane mother to her son.
Recording info: A beautifully executed performance from one of our Composition Showcases by bass James Hayden and pianist Bronte Ficek, both of whom contributed so much musicality to this piece.

Fantasia on 'Red River Valley'

for brass octet; 2012 (.mp3 recording 1 | .mp3 recording 2 | .pdf score)

This brass ensemble piece is essentially a continuous, "reverse" theme and variations based on the old Western folk tune, Red River Valley. Instead of the usual presentation of the theme followed by variations on that theme, the variations come first (primarily based on small motivic elements of the melody), and the piece closes with a warm chorale that utilizes the main theme at last.
Recording info: Two recordings exist, the first from my sophomore recital and the second from my senior recital. Though both have merits and issues, they're still wonderful!

The girl with the dried out hands

for SATB choir and piano; 2014 (.mp3 recording | .pdf score | text)

An original choir piece with text from yours truly, based on a haunting vision of a girl standing with her back to an indescribably tall cliff.
Recording info: This was recorded during my senior recital, and several friends participated in bringing it to life. I think it would shine even more with a larger choir!

Æther Songs

trio for vibraphone, marimba and piano; 2014

I. Wisps (.pdf score)

II. Passing Clouds (.pdf score | .mp3 mockup)

Inspired by the fifth Greek element Æther, a pure form of air-like essence up in the skies thought to have been breathed by the gods, this piece explores different forms of the "ethereal". The first movement is tonally ambiguous and free-form but tied together by a constant pulse, while the second is a fleet-footed series of minimalist processes interjected by a wild chordal passage. Certainly took the most harmonic risk in this piece.
Recording info: Only a mockup of movement 2 exists. Sadly, due to some logistical issues involving the need of a full 5-octave marimba and the location of the venue for my senior recital, this huge piece intended to be a large bulk said recital never got performed (and honestly, the future movements hinged a bit upon the successful rendering of the first two). The mockup is reasonable other than the chordal section, which is full of badly rendered marimba rolls. The first movement is even further out that direction, so no conceivable rendering on my end could do it justice—but with any luck, this will be performed someday!

Scorpion of Red Eyes (arr.)

original piano piece by Kashiwa Daisuke, orchestrated by Hunter Van Brocklin; 2013 (.mp3 recording | .pdf score)

With my final orchestration project, I chose to arrange something by my favorite composer, Kashiwa Daisuke—this one was his piano arrangement of the main themes of a larger piece of his, so you could call mine an arrangement of an arrangement. All the same, I am particularly proud of the extensive string harmonic work intended to function like the sustain pedal of a piano, and it was wonderful to work with this music I already loved so much.
Recording info: There were about 20 people getting pieces read in this orchestra session, which left us with about ten minutes apiece, and I had specifically chosen to go way over the 2:30 time limit, so we basically got two runs through the piece, and the second one was recorded. With more rehearsal I'm sure the string harmonics would've spoken more, and of course it could be more polished, but I am grateful to have a recording of an orchestra playing my music!

Caves of Ice

for percussion ensemble; 2010 (.mp3 mockup | .pdf score)

A fully-fleshed out and carefully arranged version of a movement from a piece for a high school project ("Xanadu Suite"). An energetic theme and variations that journeys through several meters and several keys in four minutes.
Recording info: This piece hasn't been performed yet, but I am hopeful the opportunity arises. I did make a pretty reasonable mockup of the piece that I'd recommend, but I'm sure it would be even more exciting performed live!

Existential Crisis

duet for bassoon and horn; 2010 (.mp3 recording | .pdf score)

This piece thematically follows the idea of an existential crisis, wherein a sudden bad thought causes one to question their existence and purpose in increasing levels of disarray, but ultimately they settle back down in relative comfort.
Recording info: This was lovingly recorded by one of my teachers, Anthony Parnther, on bassoon, and a friend of his whose name I am unfortunately missing on horn, for one of my composition classes.


for solo alto saxophone; 2010 (.mp3 recording | .pdf score)

An extremely spooky, harmonically adventurous, expressive solo piece for the alto saxophone, one of my main (and therefore favorite) instruments.
Recording info: One of the finest musicians I know (and one of my best friends!), Andrew Brady, performed this piece, and it is stone cold fact that his tone in this recording is to die for.

All works, unless otherwise noted, are copyright © 2004-2020 by Hunter Van Brocklin.