Anecdote Hilary Tann
The first ideas for Anecdote came from the poem, “Anecdote of the Jar,” by Wallace Stevens. Stevens imagines a “jar…upon a hill” as he muses upon man’s relationship to nature. He notices “the wilderness rose up to it … no longer wild” and says of the jar, “it took dominion everywhere.” In Anecdote, the cello soloist “has dominion” in this slow, one-movement, work. The cellist’s soliloquy is complemented by the surrounding string quartet and by “wilder” full orchestra textures. Another meaning of “anecdote” also influences the composition. An anecdote is often a story shared, and shared again, in intimate circumstances. The overall structure of Anecdote is that of an arch in which a personal story is told, and elaborated, and retold.
Anecdote was composed during the summer of 2000 in response to a commission from the Newark (DE) Symphony Orchestra. It was first performed December 10, 2000, in Loudis Hall (University of Delaware), by the Newark Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Roman Pawlowski, with cello soloist Ovidiu Marinescu. – H T
Cantus for String Orchestra Hans Bakker
After finishing Est I decided on another work for strings. The word-stem reminds me of the Incantation part of Mantra I, but the form and structure have a different eloquence.
To Spring – An Overture Daniel Perttu
Commissioned by the Lakeland Civic Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio, this piece was written in honor of my daughters, Annika Madeline and Fiona Joy Perttu. While I was writing this piece, I had the great pleasures of watching them grow and develop. Their spirits epitomize the season of Spring and are captured as well by the following poem by William Blake.
To Spring, from Poetical Sketches (1783)
O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!
The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn’d
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!
Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.
O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish’d head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee.
In Memoriam Jan Järvlepp
In Memoriam is dedicated to my late brother, Harry Jarvlepp (1955-2016), who died at Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga, Ontario after a 2 & 1/2 year battle with liver cancer. During his dying days in the palliative care ward, I would visit him daily for long periods of time with my girlfriend Jane. Much coffee was consumed.
I became restless and started writing down some musical ideas on manuscript paper. When he could no longer speak, he would make a couple of jerking motions with his hand as he frustratingly tried to communicate something. Those became a kind of rhythmic motive throughout this piece which is heard right at the beginning. I sat right beside his hospital bed, although I could not tell if he could understand what I was doing since he had lost the ability to turn his head.
What I find interesting about the style of this spontaneously composed emotional music of grief is that it could have been written over 100 years ago. I paid no attention to the currently popular styles of composition or to music theory. I just composed what I felt in this life and death situation. The emotionally expressive nature of this music gives some validity to the notion that romantic expression is just as meaningful today as it was in the 19th century.
The piece is playable either by a string orchestra or by a quintet. Since my brother was a great lover of classical music, I could find no better way to do something in his memory than to compose this piece.
Late Harvest Pierre Schroeder
The title comes from wine making. A winemaker may decide to wait past the traditional late summer harvest time to achieve a greater richness and concentration in his grapes, which will translate into a more complex and exquisite wine. But the risk is great, the grapes becoming fragile and having to survive the bird’s ferocious appetite, hail, and early frost. The entire harvest could easily be ruined. It is the intensity of that process, an everlasting summer reaching into winter, that is expressed here with a solo violin over string ensemble, bass clarinet, and piano.
Silver Fantasy Paul Osterfield
Silver Fantasy (2012) was commissioned by a consortium of nine flutists, organized by Lisa A. Jelle, for the purpose of encouraging the composition of new music for the flute and wind ensemble. The work captures the fluid technical potentialities of the modern flute and piccolo while sharing the musical responsibilities equally with the woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
The first section of the piece begins with a slow, somber introduction followed by a statement of the theme by the flute soloist. The theme is restated by a sequential trio of instruments, beginning in the trombone, moving to the horn, and concluding in the trumpet. The soloist develops the theme in the following passage, with light interplay between the flute part and the ensemble. Harmonies utilized include the dissonance of the minor second, though scored an octave apart to soften the effect. The first section concludes with a return of the introductory material.
The second section of Silver Fantasy is introduced by the percussion section, with the timpani stating the thematic material. Upper woodwinds answer this initial statement utilizing derivative rhythmic material initially stated within the percussion section. New rhythms and intensity appears in the trumpets and trombones as the section moves toward a thematic transformation by the flute solo. The solo line borrows freely from the accompanimental material leading to a third section. This appears in a militaristic, comical statement by the solo melodic line, now played on the piccolo. The ensemble, not wishing to miss out on the fun, repeats the piccolo statement in a somewhat dissonant manner while the piccolo soloist freely executes pseudo-improvisatory figurations that brings the piece to an "Ives-like" conclusion. – Barry E. Kopetz
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