Voices of the Night

And Other Works For Orchestra

Richard E Brown composer

Royal Scottish National Orchestra | David Watkin conductor
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek conductor

Release Date: May 13, 2022
Catalog #: NV6425
Format: Digital
21st Century
Orchestral
Orchestra

With VOICES OF NIGHT, composer Richard E Brown introduces a formidable set of works to American orchestral repertoire. His lush orchestration gives his works depth and texture, while individual instruments cut through to create musical narratives that whisk listeners through lyrical passages and dancelike rhythms. While his pieces thrive on the suspenseful and dramatic, they are by no means a pure emotional onslaught—for every build and crescendo, Brown returns to calmness and simplicity. His ability to wrest control of the orchestra from rafter-shaking crests to gentle melodies provides each piece with breathing room, making them all the more powerful.

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Performance Video

Richard E Brown – Voices of the Night: A Nocturnal Fantasy for Orchestra

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Voices of the Night: A Nocturnal Fantasy for Orchestra Richard E Brown Royal Scottish National Orchestra | David Watkin, conductor 9:50
02 Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra: Sostenuto; Poco allegro; Tempo I Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Karel Dohnal, clarinet 10:39
03 Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra: Adagio; cadenza Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Karel Dohnal, clarinet 8:14
04 Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra: Allegro; Più allegro Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Karel Dohnal, clarinet 7:34
05 Paisano Suite: Prelude Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 1:53
06 Paisano Suite: Scherzo Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 1:42
07 Paisano Suite: Berceuse Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 2:56
08 Paisano Suite: Fugue Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 2:04
09 Paisano Suite: Pastorale Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 2:46
10 Paisano Suite: Caprice Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 2:01
11 Paisano Suite: Romanza Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 4:18
12 Paisano Suite: Finale Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 2:32
13 Expansions for Orchestra Richard E Brown Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor 7:56

Voices of the Night
Recorded March 24, 2021 at
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, United Kingdom
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer Hedd Morfett-Jones
Editing & Mixing Brad Michel

Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra
Recorded December 9-10, 2020 at Dům Kultury města Ostravy (The Ostrava House of Culture), Ostrava, Czech Republic
Session Producer Jan Košulič
Session Engineer Jana Jelínková
Assistant Engineer Mikhail Pavlov
Editing & Mixing Brad Michel

Paisano Suite
Recorded October 26-27, 2021 at Dům Kultury města Ostravy (The Ostrava House of Culture), Ostrava, Czech Republic
Session Producer Jan Košulič
Session Engineer Aleš Dvořák
Editing & Mixing Melanie Montgomery

Expansions
Recorded May 25, 2021at Dům Kultury města Ostravy (The Ostrava House of Culture), Ostrava, Czech Republic
Session Producer Jan Košulič
Session Engineer Pavel Kunčar
Editing & Mixing Lucas Paquette

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Mastering Brad Michel

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

Artist Information

Richard E Brown

Richard E Brown

Composer

Dr. Richard E. Brown, a native of New York State, has been active as a composer-arranger and music educator for many years. His training includes M.M. and D.M. degrees in Composition from Florida State University, as well as a B.A. in Music Education from Central College, which named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 1983. His principal composition studies were with Carlisle Floyd, John Boda, and Charles Carter. He is a member of ASCAP and is represented in the catalogs of several trade publishers, as well as his personal imprint Dacker Music.

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Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava

Orchestra

The Janáček Philharmonic is a world-class symphony orchestra based in Ostrava, Czech Republic and an emerging figure on the international performance scene. With over 100 top-level musicians, the orchestra aims to introduce unique, quality repertoire while showcasing their own recognizable sound.

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Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Orchestra

Formed in 1891 as the Scottish Orchestra, the company became the Scottish National Orchestra in 1950, and was awarded Royal Patronage in 1977. Throughout its history, the Orchestra has played an integral part in Scotland’s musical life, including performing at the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament building in 2004. Many renowned conductors have contributed to its success, including George Szell, Sir John Barbirolli, Walter Susskind, Sir Alexander Gibson, Neeme Järvi, Walter Weller, Alexander Lazarev and Stéphane Denève.

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Karel Dohnal

Karel Dohnal

Clarinet

Clarinetist Karel Dohnal is an active soloist with a wealth of experience performing in many countries in Europe, South and North America, and Asia. A graduate of the Ostrava Conservatoire and Prague´s Academy of Music, he also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Universität der Künste Berlin, and Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in St. Petersburg. He is also a laureate at competitions in Prague, Rome, Bayreuth, Seville, and London.

As a principal clarinetist he has cooperated with such orchestras as the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Solistes Européens Luxembourg, and others.

He is member of the State Opera Orchestra Prague, Trio Amadeus, and Philharmonia Octet. A professor on the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Ostrava University, he regularly gives master classes both at home and abroad.

Karel Dohnal has built up a reputation as an erudite, technically outstanding and dedicated performer of modern and contemporary music, and is appreciated for his promotion of brand new or less frequently performed works.

His recent appearances include solo concerts with Bamberger Symphoniker (Copland), Essener Philharmoniker (Copland, Mozart), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (Kabeláč), Györ Philharmonic (Kubín), Liepaja Symphony (Weber) and concerts in Holland, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Germany, Hungary and Luxembourg.

Notes

The title of this composition is taken from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The following excerpt serves as an epigraph to the score:

All forms of sorrow and delight,
All solemn Voices of the Night,
That can soothe thee, or affright…

More descriptive of “affright” than “soothe,” Voices of the Night is in three connected parts:

I. “Andante con moto”: The opening section is rather slow and moody. The croaking of frogs and chirping of insects and other nocturnal creatures punctuates the gloom. Menacing shadows gradually grow and become more threatening.

II. “Allegro moderato”: After building to a nearly unbearable pitch of suspense, the tension breaks as ominous nocturnal fantasies appear out of the shadows and seem to dance to a lively but somewhat dark rhythmic section, which is built almost entirely on a single motif. After seeming to wind down, the dance suddenly rekindles and rushes to a feverish climax, which dissipates as the shadows give way to a glimmer of light.

III. “Tempo I”: The ominous fantasies scatter, and approaching dawn at last brings a “soothing” epilog, based on the opening music.

— Richard E Brown

Early in 2013, I undertook the daunting task of revising my 1973 clarinet concerto, which was originally written as my doctoral dissertation in composition at Florida State University. It was played there once in the spring of 1974, and then promptly fell into the dustbin of academic obscurity, where it languished for four decades, until at last I returned to disturb its slumber.

When I first dug it out and began to get reacquainted with it, I quickly realized that in its original shape, as the work of a graduate composition student who still had much to learn about writing in large forms, this concerto needed a fair amount of revision. But I felt like there was more than enough merit in the work to justify spending the time and energy that would be required to turn it into a viable piece of music, so I committed to the project and started digging in.

At first it felt like I was taking the ax to someone else’s work, which made me uncomfortable. Eventually I made peace with this feeling and conceded that it was indeed originally written by “someone else,” but since I am the “direct descendant” of that person, I need feel no guilt about tearing his work apart and rebuilding it.

The clarinetist with whom I had worked while writing the piece, and who played it at FSU, had told me that in the clarinet concerto literature that he was acquainted with, only the one by Danish composer Carl Neilson (1865–1931) is more difficult for the soloist. But I decided at the outset of my revision project that I would not ease off on the solo part, so I left it largely intact, minus cuts. After all, I had worked with an excellent clarinetist who had pronounced it—while very challenging—completely idiomatic for the instrument, so I didn’t want to mess with it. But what I did need to do was overhaul the form of the composition, reorchestrate much of it, and cut out several minutes of unnecessary material until I had a cohesive work that made musical sense.

I soon found that the lyrical second movement and sonata-rondo/theme and variations hybrid third movement, for which I had taken a page from Copland and linked with a cadenza, needed less revision than the first. After I made a few cuts, did some tweaking and quite a lot of reorchestrating, they were ready to go.

But the first movement—a complex experimental hybrid of sonata-allegro and arch forms—needed more work, and I have to say it was quite an enlightening challenge wrestling it into shape. I cut about 20 percent of it, reduced the number and prominence of several “breaking waves” that are a feature of the movement, and did an extensive amount of rewriting on the remainder. It went through several revisions over the nearly two years that I struggled with it—alternating between periods of intense work and resting in the “wine cellar”—before I was finally satisfied and declared it completed.

— Richard E Brown

“Paisano” is the name of a ranch located in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin, once the private retreat of Texas folklorist and writer J. Frank Dobie. Now owned by the University of Texas, the ranch has for many years been used as a residence for recipients of the prized Dobie Paisano Fellowship, awarded twice annually to promising Texas writers.

In the summer of 1982, I had two lucky breaks come my way. First, I received a commission from Austin Ballet Theatre to compose the score for a new ballet. They had produced an earlier ballet of mine the year before and were eager for another one. The second break was that, as the spouse of a Dobie Fellowship–winning writer, I got to live at the ranch for six months, during which time I completed the entire score. It was a magical location to work in, and I will never forget the experience.

Since the Dobie Fellowship is not open to composers, and winners of it are not likely to come to the ranch with a composer-spouse in tow, this is quite probably the only musical score ever to be composed there.

The music was originally scored for a small pit orchestra, and it was only in 2012 that I shortened and reorchestrated it to create this suite for full orchestra. Since the original title—Ballabile—is a term used specifically for dance music, and the new version of the work is meant to be a concert suite rather than a ballet, I also retitled it after the Paisano Ranch, where it was originally composed and which served as its inspiration.

The entire 20-minute suite is actually based on a fairly modest amount of musical material and the eight short movements are thematically all very closely related. The overall framework is highly unified in that way.

— Richard E Brown

Expansions for Orchestra is modeled on a concert band composition that was commissioned from me in 1975, which I titled Expansions for Winds and Percussion. The title of both pieces refers to the way the music takes a few short motifs and, without using any of the common musical forms, develops or “expands” them into a complete composition.

Written in an atonal contemporary idiom, the music uses tone clusters, dissonant counterpoint, and various aleatoric devices to build and release tension. Rhythm, color, and texture are stressed above melody and harmony.

— Richard E Brown