Choral and Vocal Music of Gregory W. Brown
Gregory W. Brown composer
The Crossing | Donald Nally director
New York Polyphony “Spring” Ensemble | Eric Dudley conductor
The human voice: A forceful yet delicate instrument. The weight of its expression can be as heavy as a ringing bell or as light as the whisper of an autumn breeze. Composer Gregory W. Brown presents a collection of his vocal and choral works on the Navona Records release MOONSTRUNG AIR, capturing the wonder of the human voice as our rooted connection with nature.
Five Women Bathing in Moonlight depicts an idealized rendering of a sea-side party scene by poet Richard Wilbur, evoking a dreamlike and timeless atmosphere with shifting harmonic centers, imitative polyphony, quasi-Baroque ornaments, and canonic structures. Entrai, pastores, entrai and Three American Folk Hymns – “The Dying Californian,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” and “The Morning Trumpet” – are settings of traditional tunes that pay tribute to the original while drawing on Brown’s extensive singing and conducting background to create distinctive textures that range from incisive to gossamer. Imagery of the natural world and our gradual awareness of its presence in the shroud of our daily lives are primary themes in Vidi Aquam and Spring. Brown’s innovative and adept technique shines in Missa Charles Darwin, a setting of texts from Darwin in the form of the Roman Catholic Mass featuring DNA from one of Darwin’s finches translated into motivic material.
Brown is a composer, conductor, scholar, and experimental musician as well as founding artistic director for the Smith College Festival of Sound & Space. He received his DMA from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia and his MM from Westminster Choir College in Princeton NJ. He has studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, Stefan Young, Adrian Childs, and others.