Rise

Music In Times of Uncertainty

David Colson composer

Release Date: April 22, 2022
Catalog #: NV6416
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Large Ensemble
Percussion
Saxophone

On RISE: MUSIC IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY, composer David Colson employs conventional and innovative chamber combinations alike to express a wide array of emotional content. Drawing upon years of experience as a performer, conductor, and composer, his command over the music and ability to adapt is present on each piece. How We Change for brass quintet pays homage to a dear friend with quick-changing tempos and unequal phrases, which represent the flood of emotions caused by sudden loss. The Wind Is Rising, the Earth lets itself be inhaled for bassoon and percussion, simultaneously primitive and cosmic, calls for respect for the earth. The micro-concerto RISE for piano and percussion quartet highlights various percussion elements to emphasize the performers’ skill and versatility. Finally, Dionysian Mysteries, composed freeform with minimal methodology, allows the saxophone quartet to plumb the depths of their instruments’ capabilities to render raw, emotional sound.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 How We Change David Colson Western Brass Quintet | Scott Thornburg, trumpet; Robert White, trumpet; Lin Foulk Baird, horn; Daniel Mattson, trombone; Chance S. Trottman-Huiet, tuba 11:34
02 The Wind Is Rising, the Earth lets itself be inhaled David Colson Benjamin Kamins, bassoon; Matthew Strauss, percussion 14:41
03 RISE: I. Hear the Sun’s Thunder David Colson Clocks in Motion Percussion | John Corkill, Kyle Flens, Christopher G. Jones, Sean Kleve - percussion; Clare Longendyke, piano 3:44
04 RISE: II. I am rain, falling slowly on the leaves that shiver and sparkle David Colson Clocks in Motion Percussion | John Corkill, Kyle Flens, Christopher G. Jones, Sean Kleve - percussion; Clare Longendyke, piano 4:42
05 RISE: III. we all shine on David Colson Clocks in Motion Percussion | John Corkill, Kyle Flens, Christopher G. Jones, Sean Kleve - percussion; Clare Longendyke, piano 4:16
06 RISE: IV. Moonlight slips through the broken glass David Colson Clocks in Motion Percussion | John Corkill, Kyle Flens, Christopher G. Jones, Sean Kleve - percussion; Clare Longendyke, piano 4:42
07 RISE: V. Fire is born David Colson Clocks in Motion Percussion | John Corkill, Kyle Flens, Christopher G. Jones, Sean Kleve - percussion; Clare Longendyke, piano 4:29
08 Dionysian Mysteries: I. Madness is my specialty David Colson Capitol Quartet | Christopher Creviston, soprano saxophone; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone; David Stambler, tenor saxophone; Henning Schroeder, baritone saxophone 2:34
09 Dionysian Mysteries: II. Bacchus found him beside the lotus David Colson Capitol Quartet | Christopher Creviston, soprano saxophone; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone; David Stambler, tenor saxophone; Henning Schroeder, baritone saxophone 4:11
10 Dionysian Mysteries: III. Reality doesn’t impress me (…what wine goes with Cap’n Crunch?) David Colson Capitol Quartet | Christopher Creviston, soprano saxophone; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone; David Stambler, tenor saxophone; Henning Schroeder, baritone saxophone 2:35
11 Dionysian Mysteries: IV. Rainbow Body David Colson Capitol Quartet | Christopher Creviston, soprano saxophone; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone; David Stambler, tenor saxophone; Henning Schroeder, baritone saxophone 6:49
12 Dionysian Mysteries: V. Let’s rave! (I feel more like I did when I came in than I do now.) David Colson Capitol Quartet | Christopher Creviston, soprano saxophone; Joseph Lulloff, alto saxophone; David Stambler, tenor saxophone; Henning Schroeder, baritone saxophone 4:34

Tracks 1, 8-12
Recorded October 18, 10-22, 2021 at Dalton Recital Hall, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo MI
Session Producer & Engineer Brad Michel

Track 2
Recorded June 5, 2017 at Stude Concert Hall, Rice University in Houston TX
Recording Engineer Andy Bradley
Sound Editing Engineer Brad Michel

Track 3-7
Recorded October 20 & 21, 2021 at Dalton Recital Hall, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo MI
Session Producer & Engineer Brad Michel

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Quinton Blue

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Director Levi Brown
Editing, Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner

Artist Information

David Colson

David Colson

Composer

David Colson is an American educator, administrator, percussionist, conductor, and composer of classical music. He is Professor of Music at Western Michigan University (WMU) where he teaches composition and music theory and leads the new music ensemble, Birds on a Wire. He served as Director of the School of Music from 2007 to 2014 and Director of the Gwen Frostic School of Art at WMU from 2017 to 2021. He came to WMU from California State University–Chico, where he taught composition and music theory, chaired the Department of Music, and was the David W. and Helen E.F. Lantis University Professor, the university’s first endowed professorship.

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Notes

The brass quintet How We Change was composed following the unexpected and heartbreaking death of my friend, Robert Spradling. I first met Bob, who was the Director of Bands at Western Michigan University (WMU), when I joined the WMU School of Music in 2007. He and I sailed boats on Lake Michigan during the summers—we spent a lot of time together and knew each other pretty well. In the time before this composition, there was a pandemic lockdown, during which I hadn’t found either the energy or desire to compose for several months. This composition became a way to honor and remember my friend, and so I started composing again and completed the piece a couple of months later.

The composition has many quick tempo changes and short, unequal phrases, which can lead to certain obstacles in creating a cohesive musical work. It also presents a challenge to the brass players who are required to make quick shifts in tempo during performance. The piece has varied textures that move between complex contrapuntal sections to that of simple choral-like moments. How We Change has a contrasting harmonic landscape that takes the listener back and forth from tonal to atonal music. This is the third quintet I’ve written for the Western Brass Quintet—they have been very supportive of my work and I am grateful to them for being committed collaborators and performers.

— David Colson

As a former percussionist, I always enjoyed performing duo combinations with other instrumentalists. When I decided to compose a piece for bassoon and percussion, I had little experience with composing for the bassoon, so I was excited for the opportunity to collaborate with my friend, Benjamin Kamins, an extraordinary musician, teacher and bassoonist. He and percussionist Matthew Strauss were both inspirations for this piece.

This work is a part of three other pieces I had imagined composing as a group. RISE, also on this audio recording, was one of those pieces along with compositions for solo piano and a mixed chamber ensemble composition for nine instrumentalists. For this piece, the combination of bassoon and percussion conjured “earthy” kinds of sounds with dark colors and rustic timbres—a sort of autumnal music. With the musical content, I wanted to convey a sense of respect for the earth, so both instrumentalists present musical objects and expressions that seemed to me to be both primitive and cosmic. I also imagined that this work might have the possibility to be choreographed, since it contains both theatrical and pulsed music that would be attractive for dancers.

— David Colson

RISE was composed for pianist Lori Sims and the percussion quartet Clocks in Motion Percussion. Several years back, I engaged Clocks in Motion to present a concert at Western Michigan University’s School of Music. Their concert beautifully demonstrated the ensemble’s remarkable skills and versatility, and afterwards, we began a conversation about a new work I might compose for piano and percussion quartet. A couple years later in 2018, these musicians premiered RISE, which was followed by this recording nearly three years later.

RISE has many influences, including Béla Bartók, John Cage, George Crumb, and Christopher Rouse, to name a few. The piece originally started with material from an earlier percussion trio I composed titled Einstein’s Gravity. This percussion trio was quite difficult which made it impractical for future performances, so I transformed it into what I call a micro-concerto for piano and percussion quartet—the piano is featured in movements I, III, and V along with the full percussion ensemble. Movement II is a piece for piano alone and movement IV is a duo for piano and marimba. While the outer movements take full advantage of most of the percussion instruments listed in the score, the middle movement (III) is for the piano and pitched percussion instruments including marimba, xylophone, and vibraphones.

— David Colson

The saxophone quartet Dionysian Mysteries was written at the request of the Capitol Quartet. In this work, I wanted to express a wide array of emotions and make each movement contrasting and unique from one another. While composing this piece, I relied on my intuition and musical instincts in a way that I hadn’t in my past musical works—I really had no systems or methods for making this piece. Because of that, I was able to freely discover a wide-ranging set of materials suitable for the saxophone, which has not only a lyrical capacity, but is able to play effectively at the extremes of the register, colors, dynamics, and rhythms.

The orchestration of the four instruments is fairly balanced with each saxophone having its exposed moments. However, movement IV features the soprano saxophone in a bigger way, showing off the full emotional range of the instrument.

As suggested by the titles of the movements, I felt empowered to use humor, and have suggested a kind of reckless and free character in the music itself. Because I had the opportunity to write for this specific group of saxophone virtuosi, I felt I could push myself to create a complex and demanding work, which the Capitol Quartet executes magnificently in this recording.

— David Colson