Work Samples for Matt Marks
1. Sex Objects (2009-2011)
A collaboration with librettist/lyricist Royce Vavrek, Sex Objects is an exploration of the romantic and sexual relationships between humans and inanimate objects. The twenty-five minute, three-movement work is scored for three respective soloists –soprano, baritone, and tenor– and chamber ensemble consisting of a piano quartet plus electric guitar and drum set. The first movement, I Don’t Respond, is sung from the perspective of a high-priced sex doll who is unhappy with her boorish owner Karl; the second, Elena, is based on the true story of an Austrian doctor who fell in love with his young Cuban patient who died under his care, only for that love to persist beyond the grave for years; and the third movement, Red Thread Smirk, is told by a disgruntled homosexual sailor, whose shipmates have been neglecting his attention since the arrival of a cloth-made ‘Dame de Voyage.’
The recording is a rough mix of an album I am putting out with the ensemble Hotel Elefant, and features Mellissa Hughes, Joshua Jeremiah, and myself as the vocal soloists.
2. Headphone Splitter: Chapter One, The Marine Park Salt Marsh (2016)
Performed by Matt Marks
Inspired by my love of seedy 70s crime-thrillers and corny 80s slashers, Headphone Splitter tells the story of an unassuming Brooklyn bird-watcher named Matt Marks, his girlfriend Baby Schenkerian, and a serial murderer the press has dubbed “The Headphone Splitter” who Matt discovers is systematically murdering headphone-wearing residents across Brooklyn. Set around various Brooklyn landmarks, Headphone Splitter is a love letter to my adopted home, expressed through a series of grisly killings around its lovely, expansive terrain.
Headphone Splitter is highly influenced by Japanese pop, R. Kelly, and Meat Loaf. All text is written by me. I am the vocalist in the recording.
The piece consists of entirely pre-recorded and electronic material, and thus has no score.
3. Strip Mall from Strangers in Many Ways (2013)
Strip Mall is an episode of a serial opera I’ve been writing over the last five years titled Strangers in Many Ways, a collaboration with the librettist Royce Vavrek. It is an exploration of suburban American life, both in its setting and in the inspiration for the music, which is highly influenced by bubblegum pop, commercial music, classic Hollywood scores, and other musical mediums of consumerist culture.
This recording is from its premiere by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2013, with Alan Pierson conducting. Vocal soloists are Michael Marcotte, Lauren Worsham, and Timur Bekbosunov.
4. I. Dear Mrs. Budd from The Adventures of Albert Fish (2009)
The Adventures of Albert Fish (2009) is a setting of letters written by the infamous American serial killer and cannibal of the early 20th century, Albert H. Fish, and is scored for baritone soloist plus string quintet. A twenty-minute, two movement work, the first letter is a charmingly sadistic letter to the mother of a victim, and the second is a post-incarceration attempt of his to explain his behavior. The result is an unsettlingly sympathetic window into the mind of a twisted psychopath and his bizarre psyche.
The recording is a rough mix from an album I am putting out with the ensemble Hotel Elefant, and features Jeffrey Gavett as the baritone soloist.