Notes

Chin Ting Chan

Falling Stars

A falling star has nothing to do with stars. It is caused by tiny bits of dust and rock called meteoroids that swipe across Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. The trail of light thus created is a meteor. Since the ancient times, humans have been fascinated by changes in the unreachable sky. Falling stars, especially, have motivated countless myths, the most common being that one’s wishes can be granted.

 

On the contrary, the “falling” of a star depicts the death of an important person in Chinese Mythology. In Ancient China, each emperor was accompanied with a professional “star interpreter” who served to predict the kingdom’s future by studying the messages from God. It all seems mythical today, where myths and legends are largely despised by modern science. But if the Moon can exert tidal force on the Oceans, whereas Man is composed mostly of water, a meteoroid approaching close to Earth’s surface must affect the living beings in ways we are yet to understand. Perhaps the creation of this composition is infused with hidden meanings from such phenomenon.

 

Bradford Blackburn

ChimerA

Chimera is a musical triptych, based on a poem by the composer, that explores a reverse chronology of life’s journey, from adulthood back to childhood. The sectional thematic material and contrasting styles reflect the evolving stanzas of the poem, returning through a blissful escape back into a child-like state of mind:

 

Chimera

 

Breath of fire, head strong,

Facade of ferocity,

The lion roars.

 

A narrow escarpment,

Precariously agile,

The goat ascends.

 

Aloft on the summit,

Blithe to the sunset and pain,

Writhing in joyful rounds,

We are kids at play.

 

Philip Schuessler

Hymn for the Arc Harvester

Hymn for the Arc Harvester is for seven or more pitch-based instruments. Players may play any combination of instruments that have the ability to play pitch.

 

This work uses unspecified pitch in its entirety. The music is notated on single-line staves. Performers may choose pitch content for these pitches while conforming to the general contour of the line, as indicated by placement of note heads relative to the horizontal line. The middle line should be considered the mid-range for the instrument.

 

The work evokes a rigorous metrical vitality in which all instruments explore pitch freely within a steadfastly unison rhythmic space.

 

The title is a reference to an ancient, mythological creature who aided farmers in their annual harvest through its natural metamorphoses into various forms which brought about changes in weather patterns.

 

Hymn for the Arc Harvester was composed for the 2019 Southeastern Contemporary Ensemble and was premiered by the ensemble on March 19th, 2019.

 

Daniel Adams

Reflecting Pool

A reflecting pool is designed with its perimeter basin deeper than its center, as to prevent the formation of waves, thus preserving the undistorted but amplified mirror image of its subject. Accordingly, the title of the piece is based on the contrapuntal relationship between the two instrumental parts, which is based on modified mirror images of motives, rhythmic patterns, and extended performance techniques such as alternate fingerings on a single pitch, tongue slaps, and multiphonics.  Metric modulations and frequent changes of time signature and rhythmic subdivisions are used to maintain tension between pulse and temporal fluidity.

 

The clarinet and bass clarinet alternate between the roles of subject and reflection as slightly modified musical figures are passed between them, beginning with the alternation of rapid passages and long durations and followed by freely imitative passages that suggest the effect of tossing a pebble or coin into the otherwise placid body of water.

 

Tianyi Wang

Dark Blessing

A work inspired by the strings’ various timbral colors. Dark Blessing explores an ethereal and ominous sonic realm as if a dark rite takes place. The beauty of darkness surrounds us all.

 

Paul Paccione

Saint John Turned To See The Sound

The text is the fragment “Visus per omnes sensus recurrit” (“All the senses are called seeing”). It is taken from a sermon preached by poet John Donne on Easter-Day in 1628.

 

The piece consists of one unfolding of the text and is performed as one uninterrupted flowing drone. The manner in which the individual sounds are formed is equivalent for each voice, with no perceptible break in the sound when sounds are transferred from one voice to another. The normal singing voice is senza vibrato and the dynamic is piano sonoro throughout.

 

The most characteristic aspect of the setting is heard in the sustained pitches and prolonged vowel sounds that at times produce resonant overtones. The harmonies are formed from a symmetrical set of six pitches (F-G-D-A-E-F#). The pitches F-natural and F-sharp individually appear only once in the composition, on the word “sensus”.

 

I’ve been influenced by the contemplative nature of much minimalist art and sculpture and the way in which its unique sense of presence informs the process of beholding. In this sense, my compositional approach could best be described as minimalist. Shared in common is an aspiration toward openness and clarity.

 

Mary Claire Miller

Cards

After a long day in the muggy Ohio heat, one finds repose in the balmy twilight, filled with the soft pinks and blues of cumulonimbus clouds, the pixie-glow of fireflies, and the tranquil evening sounds of the countryside. Cards is a window into a collection of fond memories of summer evenings spent on a screened-in-porch, enjoying the rural peace, a couple hands of Euchre with family, and perhaps even a little ice cream. Yet the piece explores an underlying introverted personality, one for which there is a fine line between much-needed alone time and loneliness. A nighttime thunder storm and the company of a beloved sister are grounding. Cards is dedicated with love and gratitude to Kate Miller, with whom I am free to be completely ridiculous.

 

Andrea Reinkemeyer

Wild Silk

 

 

Wild Silk for Baritone Saxophone, Percussion and Piano (2009) was commissioned by Jeffrey Heisler for the Primary Colors Trio, who premiered the work during the thirtieth annual Bowling Green State University (Ohio) New Music Festival in Bryan Recital Hall on October 24, 2009.

 

While composing this work, I found inspiration in the strikingly beautiful and elusive Luna Moth. The form, character, and instrumentation of this piece follows its surprisingly violent life cycle, from: egg to caterpillar, pupa, and adult moth. In the first stage, the caterpillar grows rapidly, passing through five instars by breaking through its own skin five times. It then forms a silken cocoon, within which the pupa wriggles noisily during metamorphosis. Once the adult moth emerges, it must focus on the crazed goal of propagation. Deprived of a mouth, it is only a matter of hours or days until the imago will perish from exhaustion. Without any way to nourish and sustain itself, the adult’s sole purpose is to replace its ephemeral generation with a new one just as fleeting – a form of renewal that seems, to me, to mirror the constant self-reinvention that human artists undergo as the world changes around us.

 

Many thanks to Jeffrey Heisler, Isabelle Huang, I-Chen Yeh, and Brian Amer for their artistic support of this project. In 2011, the International Alliance of Women in Music recognized Wild Silk with an Honorable Mention for the Theodore Front Prize. This recording was made possible through a faculty grant and the 2019 Julie Olds and Thomas L. Hellie Faculty Award for Creative Achievement at Linfield University. –Notes by Andrea Reinkemeyer and Sabine Ganezer

 

Allen McCullough

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling (story by Hans Christian Andersen) was composed in 2010, and is the central composition in the composer’s seven-piece suite for piano Legends and Tales.  Composed for pianist Elizabeth Pridgen, Legends and Tales was commissioned by the Office of the Provost at Mercer University, where the composer was on faculty from 2009-2013.

 

Each work from the suite is based on fairy tales, myths, or legends – particularly those geared toward the fanciful nature of childhood.  Notes from the premiere performance for The Ugly Duckling are as follows:

 

“Beauty can be found in almost anything.That which seems ugly at first might be transformed into something beautiful, or might attain a sense of beauty retrospectively.  (Hindsight is especially remarkable in shaping our perceptions.)

 

 Even the faint dimness of what was once seen as ugly can shine in the warmth of beauty.”

 

Joo Won Park composer

Jenifer DeBellis text

Hungry

Hungry (music by Joo Won Park, poem by Jenifer DeBellis) is an intimate conversation between the guitar and the voice on being hungry and deprived. The electronic part in the piece represents the hunger: it influences the person's thoughts, emotions, and actions, however subtle or disruptive it is. The piece was commissioned by The Oakland University Guitar Ensemble as a part of their Bridging the Gaps: Guitars for Social Justice project.

 

 

 

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