Notes in the Air
The Music of Vermont Public Television


A delightful compilation of music from some of Vermont Public Television's most popular programs. Themes from RFD, In Days Gone By, Points North, and others included. Written and performed by Emmy® Award-winning musician, Peter Bruce Wilder.  Cover scene created by renowned Vermont artist Sabra Field.
          75 minutes/$19.95     To order, please call 1-800-866-1666.
"The long, inspired collaboration between Vermont Public Television and Peter Bruce Wilder has resulted in a body of music that spans over 15 years.  The music has earned three regional Emmy® Awards, an unprecendented nine regional Emmy® Nominations (in a row) and has served as a brilliant accompaniment to original VPT programs.  So often requested by our viewers, it is with great pleasure that Vermont Public Television presents this collection of the music of Peter Bruce Wilder."

-  Dan Harvey, Vice President for Production, General Manager
Vermont Public Television
 

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The Music

The Farming Series (1993-1994)
Enzo DiMaio, Producer

Trk 1    Main title theme  (0:51)
Trk 2    Alternate title theme  (1:07)
Trk 3    Credits theme   (1:00)
Trks 4-7    Incidental music  (1:21, 2:30, 1:07, 2:33)

Northern Railroads - Vermont & Her Neighbors (1995)
Fred Fischer, Producer

Trk 8    Main title theme  (1:32)
Trks 9-12 Incidental music  (1:04, 0:16, 1:49, 2:03)
Trk 13 Closing theme  (1:57)

Points North (1995-2001)
Enzo DiMaio, Rob Michalak,
Michael Richards, Lynn McCrae, Producers

Trk 14  Main title theme (long version 2:00)
Trk 15 Main title theme (with drums  1:34)

Vermont Memories II - Into the 50’s  (1996)
Enzo DiMaio, Producer

Trk 16   Main title theme  (0:37)
Trk 17 Football  (1:40)
Trk 18 Farmers  (2:44)
Trk 19 Progress  (0:36)
Trk 20 Skiing Polka  (1:40)
Trk 21 Al’s French Frys  (1:41)
Trk 22 Conclusions  (2:14)

ABC’s of Change (1996)
Eileen Llewellyn, Producer

Trk 23 Main title theme  (0:24)
Trk 24-27 Incidental music  (0:32, 0:25, 0:37, 0:38)

 Vermont Memories III - Vanishing Images(1996)
Jill Halstead, Producer

Trk 28 Main title theme  (0:54)
Trk 29 Loggers  (4:33)
Trk 30 Burlington Harbor  (3:49)
Trk 31 Catamount Races  (1:28)

In the Public Interest (1996-1997)
Enzo DiMaio, Joe Merone, Andrea Melville,
Caro Thompson,Producers

Trk 32  Main title theme (0:34)
Trk 33 Credits theme  (0:48)

Land For Learning - Justin Morrill
and the Land Grant Colleges (1999)
Jill Halstead, Producer

Trk 34   Main title theme (long version - 2:03)

Rural Free Delivery (1998-2001)
Andrea Melville, Caro Thompson, Producers

Trk 35 Main title theme  (0:48)

Vermont’s Past Century (1999)
Brian Young, Producer

Trk 36  Main title theme  (1:36)
Trk 37 The Flood  (5:10)

In Days Gone By (2000)
Caro Thompson, Producer

Trk 38  Main title theme  (1:19)
Trk 39 Credits theme  (1:41)

Buying Back The Wilderness (2000)
Enzo DiMaio, Producer

Trk 40  Main title theme  (0:26)
Trk 41 Aiken and History  (1:13)
Trk 42 Divide by Three  (1:32)

Vermonters At War: World War II (2001)
Brian Young, Producer

Trk 43  Main title theme  (1:06)
Trk 44 Tossing Annie   (2:56)
Trk 45 Scrap Metal  (2:29)

CD total running time:  74:34
 

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The Story

It has been over fifteen years since VPT Executive Producer Enzo DiMaio asked me to compose the new theme for “Crossroads”, the much beloved predecessor to “Points North”.  He must have liked it, because he asked me to compose the theme for a documentary called “The Governors” not long after that. (Ironically, these two are the only main themes not present on this recording.)

The music represented here are some of my favorite pieces from productions during the past few years.  To date, I have had the privilege of composing the main title themes for over twenty major series and/or special programs for VPT and countless quantities of incidental music within those series.   The information that follows is to the best of my recollection...

In 1993, Enzo called to describe an in-depth series detailing the past, present and future of farming in Vermont.  Simply titled “The Farming Series”, this was a production of significant proportion, not simply from a composer’s stand point, but from the sheer quantity (and quality) of information and issues being tackled.  When asked if I would be interested in creating the music, I jumped at the chance.

The Farming Series” earned VPT two regional National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences EMMY® awards; one for the production and one for the original music.  It was the first time my compositions had been entered into the competition, and the win was surprising and gratifying.   The closing segment for “The Farming Series: The People” (CD track 7) was one of the most moving I have ever composed for.   It was a letter read by a daughter (a former Miss Vermont) about her farming father, and talked about the endless hours and extreme work conditions family farmers endure everyday.  It was a true tribute to a way of life that is far too rapidly vanishing.

The next project was produced by Fred Fischer, an independent from New York City.  “Northern Railroads” was a fantastic project.  Seriously, who doesn’t like old trains?  The primary goal of the music for “Northern Railroads” was to provide just a hint of a sense of loss at the disappearance of these majestic trains and their routes.

Points North” with Enzo as the executive producer was the act to follow “Crossroads”.  It required an extremely memorable theme, to help it rise to the throne that “Crossroads” built.  Here, I have presented two variations of the theme’s extended version, one without drums, and the next one with.  It was a very hot topic on whether to go with the drums or not.  VPT Director/Editor Scott Esmond was deeply convinced that the drums should be there.  Enzo doesn’t much like drums!  You will have to be the judge.  The ‘drum-less one’, in a shortened version, became the actual on-air title theme.

Vermont Memories II - Into the Fifties” was the next collaboration with Enzo.  This was one of the few soundtrack projects that was conceived and composed in a single 20+ hour marathon that started early one morning and ended even earlier the next!  Consequently, some of the music has an obvious sense of humor.   This project was challenging because of the need to create “period” music; music that hinted at the music of the era, while also being faithful to the images been presented.  The pieces here are my favorites, with special mention to the music for Burlington's infamous Al’s French Frys (mis-spelling is accurate) segment.  Al’s widow was fabulous, complete with the most stunning eyeglasses I have had the pleasure of seeing.

ABCs of Change” took me into completely different musical territory.  Produced by former BBC contributing producer Eileen Llewellyn, “ABCs...”  featured a fast-moving, computer-generated opening title segment.  The series was an informative look on how education in Vermont has changed.  This forward leaning visual content allowed me to explore a more electronic, rhythmic sound, which supported the often high-tech classroom images.

Vermont Memories III - Vanishing Images” was my first project with independent producer Jill Halstead.   This program had some long visual segments that required music to start one way, develop in the middle and end in another - yet still be cohesive to an overall theme.  One of my all-time favorite pieces of music ever composed for television is simply titled “Loggers” (CD track 29) and it accompanies the history of logging in Vermont...its dangers, joys, ruggedness and passing.

In the Public Interest” was a new format for VPT. The series included a brief documentary, along with a hosted question and answer period where experts surrounding the issue at hand discussed aspects with the host and call-in viewers.

Land for Learning - Justin Morrill and the Land Grant Colleges,” showed the history and effect Vermont U.S. Senator Justin Morrill had on America.  The main theme for this documentary was the first (and to date only) time I have ever used an existing piece of music to interface with a composition.  The piece “Aliluya” was recorded in 1983 in a 11th century church in Russian Georgia.  The church has 200ft high ceilings and is open to the outside (you can hear the birds).  It made sense to the opening visual sequence, and producer Jill Halstead gave me the go-ahead to get permission to use it from Multicultural Media.  Special thanks to Stephen McArthur for allowing us to use this.

Rural Free Delivery” has become one of VPT’s most beloved series.  The main theme had to be really memorable.  The series’ first episodes were produced by Andrea Melville; the past few seasons have been produced by Caro Thompson.  Both producers were extremely supportive, and in the process we produced literally hundreds of short music pieces for the series.  With so many to choose from, I was overwhelmed and chose to present the title theme only!

1999 and 2000 brought forth three new documentaries.  The first was producer Brian Young’s appraisal of “Vermont’s Past Century”.  My favorite here was a solo piano piece underneath some incredible footage of Vermont’s historic Flood of 1927.  The piece is presented here as simply “The Flood” (CD track 37).  Next came “In Days Gone By” with producer Caro Thompson.  This considered reflection of Vermont traditions was a joy to compose to.  Finally, in mid 2000 came “Buying Back the Wilderness” produced by Enzo DiMaio, a detailed look at Vermont's historic Champion Lands sale of 1999, where thousands of acres of Vermont forest, watershed and recreational areas were sold to a consortium of public and private parties.

This CD ends (three years ago in late 2000) with producer Brian Young’s tour de force, “Vermonters at War: World War II”.  Brian found incredible footage of specific campaigns and of the home front.  The images supported compelling interviews with WWII veterans and their families.  The special part of this project was the contribution made by the Vermont Jazz Ensemble.  This sixteen piece big band arranged and performed five of my compositions, adding an incredible layer of detail to the soundtrack.  Special thanks to Rich Davidian and Bear Irwin of the VJE for the support - and to all the musicians for a really stellar performance.

Finally, some words of recognition.  Television productions can’t be created (music included) without tremendous support from the production staff.  I would like to thank Vice President for Production Dan Harvey; Editors Mike Dunn, Larry Evans, Neil Hilt and Scott Esmond, Camera operators Edward Lalonde and Jim Hering; Production support Louise Raischle and Holly Hungerford; technical support staff Phil Kinnerson, Rob Belle-Isle and Rich Dana; producers Paul Bloomhardt, Enzo DiMaio, Fred Fisher, Jill Halstead, Neil Hilt, Eileen Llewellyn, Lynne McCrae, Andrea Melville, Joe Merone, Rob Michalak, Michael Richards, Caro Thompson, and Brian Young.

It is entirely appropriate to single out my friend, mentor, and long time collaborator, VPT Executive Producer Enzo DiMaio.  Enzo gave me my first opportunity to compose for television and first entered my music in regional EMMY® competition, where in the past nine years I have been nominated eight times and honored with three EMMY® Awards. (The competition is from major New England metro stations in Portland, Hartford, Boston, Providence, etc. as well as powerhouse public television stations like WGBH Boston and Connecticut Public Television.)  Enzo’s gifts of highly constructive criticism, along with those from each of the other producers, have made me a far better, more versatile, and more enlightened composer.  For this I can’t offer enough thanks.

Peter Bruce Wilder
September 2003

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