Monthly Archives: March 2012

Testimony

My first thought was to call this short piano work Elegy, my second, not to. We were all saddened by the tragedy of Sam Hsu’s death, but anyone who knew Sam could not stay sad for long. Elegy, though, seemed to lock me into sadness, however peaceful or resigned it may be.

I knew that I would use the tune of “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,” as it was a favorite hymn of Sam’s. His arrangement of it resonates with me to this day. Its beauty and Debussy-like luxuriance speak so eloquently of Sam’s personality while playing anything on the piano. When I was a student composer, I thought it wasn’t fair that anyone who didn’t compose could write something so beautiful. And now…well, I still don’t think it’s fair.

Three elements go into this piece: a chaconne (repeating chords and bass line), bits of the hymn tune, and the letters of Sam’s name (in pitches, Samuel becomes E-flat, A, E, C, E, A, and Hsu, B, E-flat, C). It opens with “I fain would take… my…,” and then Sam’s name is played over the chaconne. It gradually becomes busier, until it ends on “I fain would take my…,” and then, in a new key, “stand.”

Very simply, the tune for the words “Beneath the cross of Jesus” is stated, then Sam’s letters again. And then I felt him showing me what the title should be. It is his testimony, and mine.

Premiered 24 March 2012 by Ephraim Schäfli, at Cairn University, Dr. Samuel Hsu Memorial Concert. Commissioned by Cairn University.

Now is the Time, Mar 25 2012

Coming up Sunday, 10–11 pm:

Crooning

Braxton Blake. Dorothy Parker Songs

Andrew Bishop. Crooning

Gloria Coates. Symphony No. 15

Now is the Time, American contemporary music, Sundays at 10 pm. On WRTI-HD2 and on the classical stream at wrti.org, it’s all styles of concert music by living American composers. Here are the recording details and complete schedule, and because you really wanted to know, here’s the theme music and how it was written. Tell me what you think (if I can’t take it, I promise to write back), and ask me where to send CDs for broadcast consideration.

Concert at St. Peter's, Old City

Thanks to St. Peter’s Choir and director Peter Hopkins for a beautiful rendition yesterday of My Shepherd Will Supply My Need. Lovely concert built around the music of Victoria, ending with Robert Maggio’s grand “Because of the Joy.” Hopkins instilled a warm spirit around the entire evening.

Plus I got to spy friends and hear lovely singing from Maren Montalbano Brehm, Jeff Dinsmore (beautiful solo on the Gerald Near), Colin Dill, Bob Bader, and all the singers and scholar choristers. It was fun to hear my anthem, of which I’m particularly fond, written when Coolidge was President, if I recall.

Now is the Time, Mar 18 2012

Coming up Sunday, 10–11 pm:

Chameleon Music

Robert Dick. Fish are Jumping

Dan Welcher. Chameleon Music

Paul Richards. Falling on Lobsters in the Dark

Dennis Báthory-Kitsz. RatGeyser

Brooke Joyce. toydogmusic

Christopher Rouse. Wolf Rounds

Now is the Time, American contemporary music, Sundays at 10 pm. On WRTI-HD2 and on the classical stream at wrti.org, it’s all styles of concert music by living American composers. Here are the recording details and complete schedule, and because you really wanted to know, here’s the theme music and how it was written. Tell me what you think (if I can’t take it, I promise to write back), and ask me where to send CDs for broadcast consideration.

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

My anthem My Shepherd Will Supply My Need will be included in a concert by the Choir of St. Peter’s Church, Old City Philadelphia, Peter Hopkins, Music Director, this Sunday, March 18, at 5pm. Called “From Here to Eternity,” the concert features music of Tomas Luis de Victoria along with sacred anthems and motets of present day composers, including Philadelphia-area composers James Lavino and Robert Maggio. Directions.

 

Now is the Time, Mar 11 2012

Coming up Sunday, 10–11 pm:

Ceremonies

Jeremy Haladyna. Puc zikal Peten (Hearts of Yucatán)

Paul Chihara. Ceremony I

James Primosch. Songs and Dances from The Tempest

Jeremy Haladyna. Escalation from Demon Zero

Now is the Time, American contemporary music, Sundays at 10 pm. On WRTI-HD2 and on the classical stream at wrti.org, it’s all styles of concert music by living American composers. Here are the recording details and complete schedule, and because you really wanted to know, here’s the theme music and how it was written. Tell me what you think (if I can’t take it, I promise to write back), and ask me where to send CDs for broadcast consideration.