Rich expressiveness that cries out for more performances infused all of these intense but not expansive poems. Other groups should take note of this gratifying premiere.
- David Hoose speaks about the Collage New Music season, including this Sunday’s concert, featuring the premiere of A Sibyl, in this Boston Musical Intelligencer interview.
- There are a number of YouTube videos featuring soprano Mary Mackenzie, who will be the soloist for A Sibyl. These include several of my own music. Here’s Mary singing two songs with pianist Heidi Louise Williams; the first is on a text by Susan Scott Thompson, the second sets words by Susan Orlean.
Mary and Heidi have recorded these songs and several others for a CD to be released later this season on Albany Records.
- here are some excerpts from Sacred Songs and Meditations, a big set of vocal and instrumental pieces based on plainchant and other ancient melodies. The ensemble is the 21st Century Consort led by Christopher Kendall, with members of the Folger Consort and choirs of the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C.
- Read about Susan Stewart, author of the texts for A Sibyl, here and here. Susan published a volume of new and selected poems this year, entitled Cinder. The title poem is the first of her texts that I set, some 18 years ago. Listen to Susan Narucki sing it, again with the 21st Century Consort and Christopher Kendall.
Oboist Peggy Pearson commissioned and premiered my Oboe Quartet, playing the first performances back in 2015 with members of the Apple Hill Quartet. This week’s performance here in Philadelphia will be the first time the Daedalus plays the work. Mark DeVoto reviewed the first performance of the Oboe Quartet for the Boston Musical Intelligencer – you can read the review here. Preview the piece with audio or the score.
Here’s a program listing and note on the piece:
2) Allegro con fuoco
3) Passacaglia: Adagio, ma non troppo
4) Moderato e fluente
5) Moderato; Allegro giocoso
I first heard Peggy Pearson’s eloquent playing as part of the performances of Bach cantatas at Emmanuel Church in Boston, and I think that baroque context has influenced this quartet. The work’s central passacaglia invokes a baroque form, while the first, second and fourth movements, though not suggesting a baroque idiom, perhaps hint at cantata recitatives and arias without words – lyrical, dramatic, plaintive. The impulse throughout the work is more songful than symphonic. Using a stylized dance, as I do in the finale of the quartet, also reflects baroque practice, though the choreography in my quartet clearly has more to do with a 20th century dance floor than with an 18th century ballroom.
Peggy Pearson and members of the Apple Hill Quartet gave the first performance of my new Oboe Quartet in Newburyport, Massachusetts this past Sunday, and Mark DeVoto reviewed the concert for the Boston Musical Intelligencer. A “csárdás with bebop chords underneath” is a memorable phrase and even more insightful than Mark might think, given the number of wedding receptions with a central European flavor I played during my student days in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, affairs at which my desire to be playing jazz had to be repressed while we performed the ethnic dance numbers that were expected of us. I’m not too sure I hear the Hungarian aspect of my quartet, but the bebop is definitely there. You can hear the piece in Peterborough, New Hampshire on April 25, and in Brookline, MA on April 26.