On WRTI Sunday: The Consolation of Apollo, The Waking Sun

earthriseWRTI broadcasts The Crossing’s recent premiere of The Consolation of Apollo on Sunday, November 23rd at 3 pm, with David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion. Conducted by Donald Nally, this was recorded October 12th at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square.

Along with Donald’s commentary, the program concludes with the 2011 live recording of The Waking Sun, my setting of the words of Seneca for The Crossing and Tempesta di Mare.

The broadcast also streams at wrti.org.

For a sneak listen to Consolation, click through to the WRTI post here for the brief last movement—the sound in Holy Trinity’s sanctuary is fantastic! (This is also what the Westminster Williamson Voices sang last weekend, under the direction of James Jordan.) Here’s the Boethius text to that final section (all the program notes are here):

The stars shine with more pleasing grace when a storm has ceased to roar and pour down rain. After the morning star has dispersed the shades of night, the day in all its beauty drives its rosy chariot forth. So thou hast looked upon false happiness first; now draw thy neck from under her yoke: so shall true happiness come into thy soul.

The Crossing performs Consolation and The Little Match Girl Passion again, January 3rd in Chestnut Hill and January 4th in Wilmington.

Textures on Now Is the Time

LanskyTexturesThreadsDifferent quartets evoke different textures on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 22nd at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Geology dominates Paul Lansky’s Textures. It’s for two pianists and two percussionists, and movement titles use words like striations, substrates, granite, and round-wound (makes me think of bass guitar strings). Hammering keyboards and lyrical mallets comprise this unusual foursome.

Philip Glass composed a string quartet, his fourth, in memory of the artist Brian Buczak, who died in 1987, and was a friend. The lilting, pulsing music carries a smooth sadness as its predominant Glassian texture; the great quartet Kronos brings this to us to close the program.

from Paul Lansky: Textures 

PROGRAM:
Paul Lansky: Textures
Philip Glass: Quartet No. 4 (Buczak)

Every Saturday night at 9 Eastern, Kile Smith brings you Now Is the Time, all styles of contemporary concert music by living American composers on WRTI’s all-classical stream. Just go to wrti.org and click on the Listen: Classical button at the top of any page. In the Philadelphia area with an HD radio? Dial us up at 90.1 FM-HD2, or find all the frequencies here, from the Jersey Shore to the Poconos to Harrisburg to Delaware. Thanks for supporting American contemporary music on WRTI! 

The stars shine, at Westminster Choir College

earthriseMy great thanks to James Jordan, director of the Westminster Williamson Voices, for their performance of the last movement of The Consolation of Apollo, “The stars shine.” Their concert Saturday Nov. 15th, “Spiritual Lights,” included music by Bruckner, Forrest, LaVoy, Mendelssohn, Pärt, Poulenc, Stanford, Whitbourne, and a gorgeous new work written for them by Westminster alumnus Cortlandt Matthews.

The Grammy®-nominated Westminster Williamson Voices is named for the founder of Westminster Choir College, John Finley Williamson. The entire concert was a complete delight, beginning with unconducted chant. The sound of their 60 voices was clear, focused, unforced, and exciting. It was thrilling to hear my work on that program. My thanks to them, and especially to James Jordan, who heard the premiere of The Consolation of Apollo last month in Princeton and wanted to excerpt it as the closing piece of his concert.

The Church of the Holy Trinity performance of the entire Consolation by The Crossing airs Sunday Nov. 23rd on WRTI.

Premiere of Mark the Music

ShakespearePritchard

Batik artwork by Laura Pritchard

So many thanks to soprano Jessica Lennick, tenor Eric Rieger, baritone Michael Adams, and pianist Laura Ward for the rousing Lyric Fest premiere of Mark the Music, a trio using Shakespeare’s text from The Merchant of Venice, which includes the words “The man that hath no music in himself, / Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, / Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.” Complete text, notes, and a sample of the score are here.

This was my musical introduction to Lyric Fest audiences as Composer in Residence.

The song was the closing piece for “Much Ado about Shakespeare,” a concert at Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, Pa. We’re repeating it on Friday November 21st at the Girard Academic Music Program School in Philadelphia.

The actor Jim Bergwall wrote a script which he and Charlotte Blake Alston recited and acted (with the singers and audience) to create a moving look into songs written on Shakespeare texts. Jim and Charlotte are inventive actors, narrators, librettists, and storytellers, and crafted a thoroughly engaging program.

The singers were entertaining and powerful, throughout the music of Britten, Blitzstein, Hoiby, Quilter, Schubert, Vaughan WIlliams, and others. Little surprises of meaning met me in my scena, in which I was delighted to hear new discoveries, brought out by these wonderful musicians. Jessica is busy with lots and lots of singing, Eric, who also teaches at Westminster Choir College, brought his wife and two young children to the concert, and Michael is in the middle of L’italiana In Algeri performances these two weeks at the Academy of Vocal Arts. They were exquisite on Mark the Music. And Laura, well, she just makes the piano sing every time; what a thrill, I can never say enough about her.

[Update: Friday morning’s concert on Nov. 21st at GAMP was given in front of almost two hundred students from there and, brought in for the occasion, Central High. A crew recorded and videotaped the concert, and interviewed the musicians and composer, for a future documentary about the residency.]

Thanks to Laura and to Suzanne DuPlantis for creating this program! Thanks also to the American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter, for supporting these concerts, and to Main Line Reform Temple for hosting us. I can’t wait to get started on the Waxing Poetic song cycle; Lyric Fest premieres that in March.

In Rio

The Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira, holding the poster for Mélomanie‘s concert in Rio de Janeiro on November 22nd, during the international four-day festival Compositores de Hoje. I was honored to meet Sergio in Wilmington at our release party for Excursions. My chamber work The Nobility of Women is on the CD, along with terrific music by Sergio, Ingrid Arauco, Jennifer Margaret Barker, Mark Hagerty, and Roberto Pace. It’s being explained to me how my name is pronounced in Portuguese!
Sergio with poster

Post-modern Homages on Now Is the Time

HartkeComposers praise composers on Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 15th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Randall Woolf re-forms, with a string quartet, the phrasings of another century in Franz Schubert, and for Zeitgeist’s 30th Anniversary, Carol Barnett wrote Z=30; Schumann’s Excellent Extension (with a tip of the hat to Terry Riley).

Stephen Hartke salutes Rochberg, Satie, Enrique Oswald, and Donald Crockett in selections from his Post-modern Homages for piano. For computerized sounds is Reginald Bain’s Chaos Game (for Nancarrow), honoring the early, groundbreaking work of Conlon Nancarrow. In Serenata No. 1, Brian Banks imagines the legacies of Henry Sapoznik, Arturo Marquez, and two Harrisons, Lou and George. And cellist Maya Beiser rips into Little Wing of Jimi Hendrix, arranged by Evan Ziporyn.

from Carol Barnett: Z=30; Schumann’s Excellent Extension 

PROGRAM:
Randall Woolf: Franz Schubert
Carol Barnett: Z=30; Schumann’s Excellent Extension
Stephen Hartke: Post-modern Homages, Selections
Reginald Bain: Chaos Game (For Nancarrow)
Brian Banks: Serenata No. 1 (Imaginary legacies)
Jimi Hendrix, arr. Evan Ziporyn: Little Wing

Every Saturday night at 9 Eastern, Kile Smith brings you Now Is the Time, all styles of contemporary concert music by living American composers on WRTI’s all-classical stream. Just go to wrti.org and click on the Listen: Classical button at the top of any page. In the Philadelphia area with an HD radio? Dial us up at 90.1 FM-HD2, or find all the frequencies here, from the Jersey Shore to the Poconos to Harrisburg to Delaware. Thanks for supporting American contemporary music on WRTI! 

The Consolation of Apollo on WWFM

listenliveWWFM’s Noon Concert, Friday, Nov 14th, hosted by David Osenberg and Sebastian Currier, is a broadcast of The Crossing, Donald Nally, director, from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton at Wolfensohn Hall. It’s the world premiere of my recent work for them, The Consolation of Apollo, followed by David Lang, The Little Match Girl Passion.

Tonight, Thursday Nov. 13th at 10 pm, David Osenberg interviews Donald Nally and me on WWFM. The program repeats Saturday at 7 am. Just go to wwfm.org and click on Listen Live.

My notes on The Crossing’s commission of The Consolation of Apollo are here, and the Inquirer’s review of the premiere is here.

As it happens, on Saturday night, Nov. 15th, James Jordan conducts “The stars shine,” the last movement from Apollo. It’s the Westminster Williamson Voices, Bristol Chapel, Westminster Choir College, Princeton, at 8:00.