Rock 'n' Moses is a full-length opera-musical that tells the biblical story of Israel in Egypt (1 hr 45 min not including intermission); is entirely sung, except for the show's host and a handful of supporting roles drawn from the chorus; and is a seamless mix of pop, rock, jazz, country, blues, funk, gospel, rap and classical styles.
A UNIQUE ONE-MAN PROJECT
One of the things that makes Rock 'n' Moses rather unique is how it ultimately remained a one-man project, from composition (book, music and libretto) through the “composer-does-it-all” reference recording (instruments, vocals, spoken character parts and studio production). Looking to the future, my vision is to have a professional cast perform the work, accompanied by symphonic orchestra with an interwoven rock band.
a short scene from the show
MINI BLOG: As quiet as a dormouse
I made the following video in the room I rented for many years in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The reason for the earbuds was to not disturb the neighbors. My goal in making the video was to convey the possible tone of a stage or film production.
Once You Held It All (Let My People Go [Reprise])
from "Rock 'n' Moses" (3:33)
The ninth plague, darkness, has come to an end. Moses and Aaron pass through the streets of Egypt on their way to Pharaoh's palace. The Egyptians show great respect for Moses as he makes his way, many joining him on his walk.
the composer-does-it-all recording
ACTS 1, 2, 3 on YouTube
For MAXIMUM experience, find a quite place, close your eyes and have a listen to the entire show from A to Z—people tell me that they forget they're listening to one guy and can visualize everything in their head.
If you'd like to jump to a specific scene, it's easy: just refer to the timings to the left of the scene titles when dragging on the video timeline.
MICRO BLOG: AI Vocals
See bottom of page.
Using Finale notation software, I've prepared a transcription of the “composer-does-it-all” recording in two formats: 1) full score with a piano reduction at the bottom of each system, and 2) vocals with piano. Available in PDF file format, upon arrangement.
PRIMARY RESEARCH SOURCES
• The Five Books Of Moses (aka the Bible or Torah).
• Rashi’s medieval commentary on The Five Books Of Moses.
• The Midrash (ancient post-biblical legends, stories and elaborations), with "The Legends of the Jews," by Louis Ginzberg (public domain), being a primary source.
A brief history of the composer-does-it-all reference recording
As mentioned on the bio page, I recorded the instrumental midi tracks for Rock ‘n’ Moses between the spring of 1998 and fall 1999, while living in New Mexico.
(Equipment list: Apple Quadra 630 computer, Motu Performer sequencer software, AKG K240 headphones and an Alesis QS7 synthesizer with 16 MB of ROM.)
Initially, I thought that I would start recording the vocals at the start of 2000; however, events beyond my control (see bio) cast me into a nomadic way of life, putting the project on hold for over four years.
In the fall of 2003, I took a room in a rent controlled, two bedroom apartment in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Finally having a space where I could record, albeit with headphones so as not to disturb the neighbors, the following spring I purchased a new Apple laptop, as well as other recording peripherals, and began tracking the vocals for my Moses project in a makeshift vocal booth.
(Equipment list: Apple PowerBook G4, Motu Digital Performer DAW, Metric Halo ULN-2 audio interface, Shure KSM44 microphone and Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones.)
Having worked with amateur vocalists in the past on an earlier attempt to record the show and being mostly frustrated with the results, I opted to try and perform all the parts myself, regardless of gender. My thinking was that I would focus on conveying the characters personalities, which might serve as an inspiration for future performances, and not get bogged down by what naysayers might say.
(A few production details: I made adjustments to Moses vocal range, successfully changing him from a tenor to a baritone in order to accommodate my voice. Pitch correction was rarely used. I also made minimal use of pitch shifting technology, primarily doing so for upper harmony parts in the chorus.)
In 2008, after four grueling years, the vocals were finalized. In 2010, two years later, I mixed the project.
(A few production details: Other than adding reverb, plug-ins were rarely used. And as with the vocals, I used headphones, only occasionally referencing my work on speakers.)
Recent developments in artificial intelligence have made it possible to turn my composer-does-it-all vocal performances on the Rock ‘n’ Moses recording into other voices—e.g. Morgan Freeman as the show’s host, a speaking role with occasional rapping; the lovely Karen Carpenter singing Moses mother’s heartbreaking lullaby; Jim Morrison rocking it out as Moses… Or perhaps a blend of popular voices with opera singers? I wrote about AI vocals in more detail in “A new recording of the piano score Pt.2. The Future Is Here: AI” found at the bottom of the Chasing a Dream: A Backpacker’s Odyssey in Mexico page.
Regarding the composer-does-it-all recording, if I would have had this AI technology from the get-go, I might have gone this way; however, I’m delighted with my composer-does-it-all version and see no reason to spend further time on the matter at this point.