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Charles Stier > About > Compositions

When I was a student, I came across this quote from American composer John J. Becker (1866-1961) that helped to define my work.

"To do that which has not been done, to transform old material into new, to create new beauty, defining beauty in its broadest sense, to evolve something vitally new, built up sincerely and with unshakable logic, is to be creative; to do otherwise is to be imitative."

Quintet in B minor for piano and string quartet, Op.1 (1995)
I. Allegro agitato
II. Largo
III. Andante
IV. Allegretto YouTube excerpt (Hymn of Thanksgiving)

Seven Songs of Emily Dickinson for voice and piano, Op.2 (1995)
No.1. They say that 'time assuages'
No.2. The Mystery of Pain
No.3. This is my letter to the world
No.4. Victory comes late
No.5. Dying
No.6. Sleeping
No.7. I died for beauty

The Robert Frost Songs for voice and piano, Op.3 (1991)
No.1. A Minor Bird
No.2. Canis Major
No.3. Waspish
No.4. Design
No.5. Departmental
No.6. Dust of Snow

Preludes (T.S. Eliot) for voice and piano, Op.4 (2001/2008)
No.1. The winter evening settles down
No.2. The morning comes to consciousness
No.3. You tossed a blanket from the bed
No.4. His soul stretched tight across the sky

The Cherry Valley Music Album for Young Pianists, Op.5 (2006)
No.1. Snow YouTube
No.2. Falling Acorns YouTube
No.3. What’s Under Mr. Beethoven’s Hat? Ideas! YouTube
No.4. Fish in the Pond YouTube
No.4. Deer Rondo YouTube
No.6. The Cat Queen’s Entrance YouTube
No.7. Cowboy Ponies Bedtime YouTube
No.8. Wind and Leaves YouTube
No.9. The Spiders YouTube
No.10. “Perfidy!” – The Squirrel’s Recitative YouTube

Click to hear excerpts
Molly Stier, piano,
plays Charles Stier
on YouTube

The Pirate, Op.6
A fast-paced, 2-act comic operetta "who-done-it", set in the British Colonial City of Charlestown, South Carolina in the 1730's.

Act I
(Narrator = Abraham)
Overture = Orchestra
Promenade = Orchestra with Traffic Cop
Wintertime = Fisherman
Clara’s Theme = Orchestra with Captain Martin
Song of Captain Martin = Captain Martin and Men’s Chorus
The Pirate = Hugh and Henry
Questions = Hugh
One Day = Henry and Rebecca
He Must Be = Rebecca and Marie
My Life = Marie
(Narrator = Street Preacher)
Perfidy! = John and Andrew
Song and Dance of the Jewish Merchant = Jewish Merchant
(Narrator = Tour Guide)
Four Lawyers of Corn = Cob, Pone, Mash and Ball
What is Happiness? = Andrew
Work Chorus = Chorus + John, Rebecca and Marie
(Narrator = Abraham)
Overture (reprise)
Act II
Like A Pirate = Chorus
Menu Song = Marie, Rebecca and 2 cooks
(Narrator = Newspaperman)
Charlestown Culture = 2 Charlestown Ladies
Charlestown Gentlemen = Hugh, Henry and 2 Charlestown Gents
Rondeau Nouveau (Aristocratic 4tet) = 2 Charlestown Ladies and 2 Charlestown Gents
(Narrator = Miss Ashley)
Daddy’s Little Baby = 3 lead girl singers and 3 backup singers
The Smoking Gun = John and Andrew
Babel Chorus = Marie, Rebecca, Hugh, Henry, John and Andrew (with the Jewish Merchant)
Song of Captain Martin (reprise) = Captain Martin and Men’s Chorus
Menuet = Orchestra
Anthem of Forgiveness = Cast and Chorus
Questions (reprise) = Hugh and Marie; Henry and Rebecca; John and Andrew
(Narrator = Abraham)
Closing Themes (Like a Pirate, etc.) = Orchestra

Love Poems for voice and piano, Op.7 (2008)
No.1. Symptoms of Love (Robert Graves, 1895-1985)
No.2. A Statue of Eros (Zenodotus, b.325 BCE)
No.3. A Drinking Song (William Butler Yates, 1865-1939)
No.4. She Who Is Always In My Thoughts (Bhartrhari, 5th Century)
No.5. In My Sky At Twilight (Pablo Neruda, 1904-1973)
No.6. Talking In Bed (Philip Larkin, 1922-1985)
No.7. In Former Days (Bhartrhari, 5th Century)
No.8. Music (Percy Byssche Shelley, 1792-1822)

Death by Water (Phlebas the Phoenician) for SATB Chorus, Op.8 (2008) from The Waste Land, No.IV by T.S. Eliot (1922)

The Voices (Nine Pages with a Titlepage) for voice and piano, Op.9 (2008) from The Book of Pictures, Book 2, Part II by Rainer Maria Rilke
No.1. Titlepage
No.2. The Song of the Beggar
No.3. The Song of the Blindman
No.4. The Song of the Drinker
No.5. The Song of the Suicide
No.6. The Song of the Widow
No.7. The Song of the Idiot
No.8. The Song of the Orphan
No.9. The Song of the Dwarf
No.10. The Song of the Leper

Solitude Poems for voice and piano, Op.10 (2009)
1. Abandoned Conversation with the Senses (Matthea Harvey, b.1973)
2. My Mind (Callimachus, 305-240 BCE)
3. Me from Myself – to banish (Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886)
4. The Poet with His Face in His Hands (Mary Oliver, b.1935)
5. no time ago (e.e. cummings, 1894-1962)
6. Danse Russe (William Carlos Williams, 1883-1963)
7. Not Waving but Drowning (Stevie Smith, 1902-1971)
8. Tonight I’ve watched (Sappho, 6th century, BCE)
9. Home is So Sad (Philip Larkin, 1922-1985)
10. A Clear Midnight (Walt Whitman, 1819-1892)

Piano Haiku for solo piano, Op.11 (2010)
No.1. Adagio Tranquillo
No.2. Youth, Maturity, Old Age

Halloween at the Cherry Valley Music Studio for solo piano, Op.12 (2010)
No.1. Zombie Boogie
No.2. Love Song of the Owls YouTube
No.3. Black Cat Ramble
No.4. Spider Dance
No.5. 12-Tone Cherokee Witches
No.6. Pumpkins Feud
No.7. Graveyard at Midnight
No.8. March of the Dead
No.9. Haunted House (four hands)
No.10. Icky Waltz

For jazz guitar and string quartet, Op.13 (2009)
No.1. In My Sky at Twilight adapted from Love Songs Op.7, No.5
No.2. Zigeuner

Twenty-four Character Pieces for solo piano, Op.14 (2020)
No.1. C Major. Toccata YouTube
No.2. C minor. Valse triste YouTube
No.3. Db major. Reverie YouTube
No.4. C# minor. Prelude YouTube
No.5. D Major. Andante espressivo YouTube
No.6. D minor. The Spiders from Op.5, No.9 YouTube
No.7. Eb minor. Sleeping from Op.2, No.6 YouTube
No.8. Eb Major. Capriccio YouTube
No.9. E Major. Anthem YouTube
No.10. E minor. Romanze YouTube
No.11. F Major. Moderato (Song for Sharma) YouTube
No.12. F minor. Fantasia YouTube
No.13. Gb Major. Regret
No.14. F# minor. Variations on a Theme YouTube
No.15. G Major. One Day from The Pirate, Op.6 YouTube
No.16. G minor. Reverie YouTube
No.17. G# minor. Etude for the Left Hand
No.18. Ab Major. Prelude
No.19. A Major. I died for beauty from Op.2, No.7
No.20. A minor. Scherzo
No.21. Bb Major. Waltz
No.22. Bb minor. Adagietto
No.23. B Major. Consolation YouTube
No.24. B minor. Tarantella

Nothing's Changed: Ten Erotic Poems from Antiquity for voice and piano, Op.15 (2010)
No.1-3. Three Poems. (Bhartrhari, 5th Century) (trans. John Brough)
No.4. In The Forrest Of Her Hair (Bhartrhari, 5th Century) (trans. John Brough)
No.5. Surprise, Surprise. (Anon., 9th Century Arabic) (trans. Derek Parker)
No.6. When His Mouth Faced My Mouth. (Amaru, 5th Century) (trans. John Brough)
No.7. Many Think Quintia’s Beautiful. (Catallus, c.84-c.54 B.C.) (trans. James Michie)
No.8. Epigram 24. (Martial, c.40-c.104 A.D.) (trans. James Michie)
No.9. Hello There. (Philodemus, 110-30 B.C.) (trans. William Moebius)
No.10. Good God, What A Night That Was. (Petronius, 1st Century A.D.) (trans. Kenneth Rexroth)

The American Myth for narrator, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, percussion and piano, Op.16 (2006)
[1] Introduction
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) Fanfare for the Common Man [P solo] with Walt Whitman (1818-1892) from To Foreign Lands and I Hear America Singing [Narr]
Anon. American Simple Gifts (Shaker Tune) [Cl and P]
[2] The Colonies
Robert Frost (1875-1963) The Gift Outright [Narr]
Anon. American Yankee Doodle [Fl, Vln and Side Drum]
Anon. American Sailing Song [Narr]
Anon. American Blow The Man Down [Fl, Vln, Vc and Tambourine]
[3] The Pioneers

Walt Whitman from Pioneers! O Pioneers! [Narr]
Anon. American The Erie Canal [Vc and P]
Anon. American Sweet Betsy from Pike [Fl, Cl and Vc]
Anon. American Shenandoah [Fl and P]
Anon. American I Wonder As I Wander [Cl solo]
[4] The Frontier
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) from They Have Yarns [Narr and Perc]
Medley. Stephen Foster (1826-1864) Oh, Susanna / Stephen Foster De Camptown Races / Anon. American Turkey in the Straw [Vln and P]
Anon. American My Darling Clementine [Vln solo]
[5] The Mighty Mississippi
Mark Twain (1835-1910) from Life on the Mississippi [Narr]
Medley. Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) from The Banjo “An American Sketch” / La Savane “Ballade Créole” / Bamboula “Danse des Nègres” [P solo]
[6] The South
Walt Whitman I sit and look… [Narr]
Anon. American Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen [Vc solo]
Walt Whitman Have you heard… [Narr]
Medley. Daniel Emmett (1815-1904) Dixie [Cl and P] / James Bland (1854-1911) Carry Me Back to Old Virginny [P solo] / Stephen Foster My Old Kentucky Home [Vc and P] / Charles Stier (b.1956) Southern Coda [Cl, Vc and P]
[7] The Civil War
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) from The Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863; Annual Message to Congress of December 1, 1862; and Second Inaugural Address of March 4, 1865 [Narr] with U.S. Army Civil War Drum Calls To Arms, Assembly and Cease Fire [Narr and Perc]
Medley. Patrick S. Gilmore (1829-1892) When Johnny Comes Marching Home / George F. Root (1820-1895) Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! / Anon. American Battle Hymn of the Republic [Vln, Fl and Side Drum]
Aaron Copland from Fanfare for the Common Man [P solo]
Horace Greeley (1811-1872) Go West… [Narr]
[8] The Railroad
Anon. American A Railroad Man For Me [Narr]
Medley. Anon. American She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain / I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad / This Train [Cl, Vc and Perc]
[9] The Cowboys
Anon. American Savvy Sayin’s [Narr]
Anon. American The Cowboy’s Lament (The Streets of Laredo) [Vln and Vc]
Wallace McRae (b.1936) from Between Earth and Sky: Poets of the Cowboy West
Anon. American Home On The Range and American Indian Melody [Vln and Fl]
Buck Ramsey (b.1938) from Anthem [Narr]
Anon. American Red River Valley [Cl, Vc and P]
[10] The Parlor
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) Piano [Narr]
Stephen Foster Beautiful Dreamer [Cl and P]
Stephen Foster Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair [Cl and P]
Anon. American I Know Where I’m Going [P solo]
[11] Finale
Walt Whitman No Labor-Saving Machine [Narr]
Charles Stier I died for beauty [P solo]
Walt Whitman Halcyon Days [Narr]
Aaron Copland Fanfare for the Common Man [P solo]

Limericks for voice and piano, Op.17 (2013)
No.1. A mouse in her room woke Miss Dowd

Sonata in E minor for solo piano, Op.18 (rev. 2020)
I. Presto
II. Andante
III. Adagio
IV. Allegro vivace

Sonata in G minor for solo piano, Op.19 (2020)
I. Moderato risoluto
II. Grief. Largo
III. Valse. Triste
IV. Rondo. Scherzando. Molto allegro

Meditation in C minor for solo cello, Op.20 (2021)

Sonata in A Major for solo piano, Op.21 (2021)
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Adagio sostenuto
III. l'istesso tempo
IV. Rondo. Moderato

Twenty-four Waltzes for solo piano, Op.22 (2021)
No.1. C Major. The Big Dog (Cowboy Waltz) from Op.3, No.2
No.2. C minor. Valse triste from Op.14, No.2
No.3. Db Major. Romanze
No.4. C# minor. Valse mélancolique
No.5. D Major. Heroic Waltz
No.6. D minor. Valse dangereuse
No.7. Eb minor. Waltz for the Dead
No.8. Eb Major. Viennese Drinking Song from Op.7, No.3
No.9. E Major. Ländler (Country Dance)
No.10. E minor. Waltz
No.11. F Major. (Who cares?) I’m In Love! (Jazz Waltz)
No.12. F minor. Waltz
No.13. Gb Major. Waltz
No.14. F# minor. Waltz
No.15. G Major. Kinderwalzer
No.16. G minor. Valse triste from Op.19, Mvt.III
No.17. G# minor. Der Teufelswalzer
No.18. Ab Major. Valse angélique
No.19. A Major. Petite Waltz
No.20. A minor. Waltz
No.21. Bb Major. Southern Waltz from Op.14, No.21
No.22. Bb minor. Icky Waltz for Halloween from Op.12, No.10
No.23. B Major. Valse sérieuse
No.24. B minor. Petite Waltz

Songs for a F*cked Up World for voice and piano, Op.23 (2021)
No.1. This be the verse (Philip Larkin, 1922-1985)
No.2. Differences of opinion (Wendy Cope, b.1945)
No.3. Soup Kitchens (Hollie McNish, b.1983)
No.4. Ancestors (Nikita Gill, b.1991)
No.5. The Pig (Anon.)
No.6. A love letter from my Mother -- from T. to J. (Charles Stier)

Sonata in C Major for solo piano, Op.24 (2021)
I. Moderato
II. Andante risoluto
III. Adagio
IV. Allegretto moderato

Preludes for solo piano, Op.25 (2022)
No.1. E-flat Major. Lento assai
No.2. G Major
No.3. A minor
No.4. B minor. Adagio
No.5. C Major. Allegro
No.6. B-flat Major. Largo molto
No.7. F minor. Andante mesto
No.8. E Major. Valse

Cherry Valley Music Kitchen Suite for Kids, Op.26 for solo piano (2022)
No.1. Tomato Tango
No.2. Toaster Oven Tarantella
No.3. Microwave Minuet
No.4. Bagel Bagatelle
No.5. Napkin Nocturne
No.6. The Trashbag The Trashcan
No.7. Oven Overture
No.8. Tunafish Toccata
No.9. Cherry Cha-Cha
No.10. Salt and Pepper Serenade
No.11. Salami Sarabande
No.12. Baked Potato Polonaise

Works Without Opus

Winter. solo piano
Haydn’s Head. voice and piano
In My Town (jazz ballad). solo piano


I died for beauty (from Op.2, No.7). (arr.) three cellos
Londonderry Air. (arr.) cello and piano
Lady Madonna (arr.) solo cello
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (arr.) Valse Triste. solo piano
O Beautiful For Spacious Skies (arr.) solo piano
Shenandoah (arr.) solo piano
Amazing Grace (arr.) for voice, cello and piano

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