Falling Man/Dancing Man for solo organ and orchestra, Opus 68
Falling Man/Dancing Man is a concerto-style work for solo pipe organ and orchestra composed for first performance on the organ of the Melbourne Town Hall in 2005. The twenty minute work is in three separate but related movements.
Falling Man/Dancing Man was initially inspired by two photos with contrasting depictions of human reactions to war. The first was the abject image of a Falling Man taken from the ground below the World Trade Centre attacks in New York in 2001. The image was later suppressed and remains a deeply contradictory photo given the choices and pain implicit in the subject's decision to jump. The second shows a Dancing Man who is celebrating in a Sydney street at the end of World War Two. His hat is in the air as he dances for joy at the end of war.
The more I looked into it the more I became aware that images and artwork depicting falling and dancing bodies are almost universal icons from rock art to the present. Perhaps this is because they depict fundamental truths about human experience. Whilst echoes of both these and other images have found their way into the piece, the musical matters took their own course in the work and in the end the organist's dancing feet and physical elevation in the organ loft also seemed apt for the title.
Falling Man/Dancing Man was commissioned by Symphony Australia for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Oleg Caetani, conductor and Calvin Bowman, organ) and composed with the assistance of a residency at the Leighton Studios, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada.
A recent interview:
The following interview with Andrew Schultz is by Bronwyn Tarrant and appears in the Summer 2006 edition of “Stress Points, Newsletter for the Australasian Society of Traumatic Stress Studies.” The interview discusses the work for organ and orchestra, Falling Man/Dancing Man, and emotional expression in music from an unusual perspective.
Dancing Man in a Sydney street following the end of fighting in World War Two.
John A. Carollo
Let Freedom Ring
This work was transcribed from the fifth section of my Second Guitar Suite for Solo Guitar (2014). I wanted to compose a musical piece that exemplified the freedoms we have as Americans. We need to be mindful of them and treasure them in order to retain them.
My musical aesthetics calls for interpretation on the player’s part. The dynamic ranges are suggestions only, but should work well as written.
The Transfiguration of Giovanni Baudino
I have always preferred to let music speak for itself. We each derive our own unique personal meanings from our listening experiences and most of it is felt viscerally.
For me, music should reflect the newness of the day. In its most exalted state music should be fresh and new, resembling the moment, which is always unique. There are no two identical moments in observable nature. Just as a river meanders down dynamic vistas, so to music should change over time giving us newness in motion. This concept of metamorphosis fascinates me and also the idea that nothing in nature is static. Musically, I have endeavored to translate this notion of change by composing works that evolve so that no two musical moments are identical. Since everything is new, we are, so to speak, fresh as a meandering stream rolling over changing landscapes.
In my own musical development, being crisp and concise is now a conscious effort, taking an idea and expounding upon it. Reflecting back on my own writings, I can see that the poems that stand out are the ones delineating a single subject matter. It is the simple idea that is the most complex to elucidate. We will hear this most profoundly in the string orchestra works. The orchestra works are intensely composed as they are reflections of everyday life, e.g., the humor of musicians needing an ER room for their exceptional product requiring healing from the demands of the music industry to transformations we experience as human beings living through life’s demands and delights, it’s turmoil and tribulations.
R. Barry Ulrich
Russian Winter was written as part of a suite for string orchestra. It is written in a minor key (g minor) and for me t it brings to mind the extreme weather in the steppes of Russia. Hence, the title.
Episodes for piano and orchestra was composed in 2001 for pianist Dr. William David of Iowa State University and the Westminster Community Orchestra in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Westminster Choir College of Rider University. The composition is scored for winds, brass, percussion, harp, strings and piano solo. Episodes has been revised extensively for this recording with pianist Peter Laul and the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Lande.
The work begins with a short, slow introduction with a solo clarinet foretelling a theme that will later be developed. Immediately thereafter, the piano enters playing both a C minor and a C major scale simultaneously (an exercise to expedite the playing of piano warm-ups). Thereafter the piano takes us into the first major section marked Feroce. This section is in the asymetric meter of 7/8 and reminds the listener of the final movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7, or perhaps Dave Brubeck’s Blue Rondo ala Turk. The piano and the orchestra work in a call-and-response manner, and a tune that can best be described as reminiscent of Offenbach may be found.
The second section introduces a slower motif, which is first developed by the piano followed by the orchestra with the piano accompanying. There is a short transition that utilizes pieces of the first major section and leads into a lilting 6/8 section where the orchestra and piano alternate developing a theme based on a melody taken from the Jewish Yom Kippur services, or perhaps from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This third large section is followed by a section for strings and piano that develops the theme the clarinet introduced at the beginning of the work. This theme is based on the song “On Parent Knees” by Gerald Finzi (a composer whose works Dr. David accompanied on numerous occasions during the late 1970s and early 1980s). A piano cadenza follows, which leads back to the opening 7/8 theme and a climactic ending.
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