Monthly Archives: December 2012

Rising

bubblesWe rise to inspirations and challenges in the new year on Now is the Time, Sunday, December 30th at 10 pm. Nicholas Vasallo explodes a supernova in Antares Rising, but Robert Xaver Rodriguez’s Scrooge is a lightly dramatic take on the Dickens tale. David Del Tredici accompanies his song New Year’s Eve, and a single clarinet sings between eerily resonating pianos in Voices Rising of Rodney Rogers, inspired by the ancient chant Iste confessor.

Daniel Sturm revoices, for flute and harp, a Czech tradition of touching nature in Early Rising, and Maggi Payne manipulates the commonest of found sounds into the surprising celebration that is FIZZ.

from Rodney Rogers: Voices Rising 

PROGRAM:

Nicholas Vasallo. Antares Rising
Robert Xaver Rodriguez. Scrooge
David Del Tredici. New Year’s Eve
Maggi Payne. FIZZ
Rodney Rogers. Voices Rising
Daniel Sturm. Ranné vstávání (Early Rising)

Every Sunday night at 10, Kile Smith brings you Now is the Time, all styles of contemporary concert music by living American composers on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at wrti.org. Here are the recording details and complete schedule.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel on Now Is the Time

auroraborealisIt’s expectation, light, and looking up on Now is the Time, Sunday, December 23rd at 10 pm. Welcher’s Zion for band refers to what is now the national park in Utah—the haven for Mormons in the 19th century—and the old American hymn tune. Skyriding, from Brouwer’s Light CD, is “a water ride in a celestial amusement park,” and Zaimont’s Chroma depicts the aurora borealis.

Daron Hagen and Carson Cooman’s choral music fit the show for the turn from Advent into Christmas, ending with Hagen’s original and exciting Hosanna.

from Daron Hagen: Hosanna 

PROGRAM:

Dan Welcher. Zion
Carson Cooman. Love Came Down at Christmas
Cooman. The Rose Tree Carol
Margaret Brouwer. Skyriding
Daron Hagen. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Judith Lang Zaimont. Chroma—Northern Lights
Hagen. Hosanna

Every Sunday night at 10, Kile Smith brings you Now is the Time, all styles of contemporary concert music by living American composers on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at wrti.org. Here are the recording details and complete schedule.

Three Dances re-orchestrated for string orchestra

GusMemeJust finished a new piece. Well, it’s an old piece that I can’t seem to leave alone. For a performance in the spring of 2013, it’s my third take on Three Dances.

That’s me, to the left, after hitting the double bar.

Three Dances was originally commissioned by the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, and premiered by them in 1995. That version is for double winds (2nd flute alternating with piccolo), pairs of horns and trumpets, one percussionist, and strings.

I then re-orchestrated it for string orchestra with one percussionist, and the Chamber Orchestra (then the Concerto Soloists) of Philadelphia premiered that in 1998. It has had a few hearings, and the chamber orchestra original has been performed multiple times—my most-played orchestral work, in fact.

But I was dissatisfied with the string orchestra version, and rewrote it again, now eliminating the percussion altogether, and simplifying the string writing, for this 2013 performance. I even got rid of the foot-stomping in the Country Dance (yes, the players stomp their feet, seemingly with enjoyment, at least that’s what they tell me), not because it displeased me so much, but more to see if I could retain the character of the work while transforming it into a vehicle for a traditional string ensemble.

The three dances after the Introduction are a Country Dance, Waltz, and Fuguing Tune. I work a chorale and an early American hymn tune into the proceedings. For the Waltz I found myself beset by a novel concept and wrote my own tune. Here are the original program notes.

1. Introduction and Country Dance 
2. Waltz 
3. Fuguing Tune 

Powers of Heaven, Advent Vespers

advent3aThank you to Jackie and the choir of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Abington, Pa., for singing my hymn, Powers of Heaven yesterday. The hymn is a setting of an Advent text by the Rev. Dr. Michael Tavella at Holy Trinity.

It was Vespers for this Third Sunday of Advent, preceded by the Vesper Recital in which the hymn was sung. Cellist Elena Smith played the obbligato for a second week in a row, amazing everyone, not least of all, her proud father. She topped that with the Prelude from the Bach Suite No. 2 in D minor. So that’s how you write for cello.

Vespers featured the Praetorius Magnificat super Ecce Maria et Sydus ex claro. Strong, exalted, deceptively simple. So that’s how you write for choir.

Now ys the tyme of Crystymas singing

WassailSepiaThe Chester County Choral Society performs Now ys the tyme of Crystymas tonight and tomorrow. I heard a tape of a rehearsal from about a month ago and they already sounded very good! Thanks to Artistic Director Gary Garletts and all the singers.

Here are directions and more information about the concerts and about the CCCS.

Here’s a video of a performance of it a couple of years ago with the Virginia Chorale. I’m so happy with the performances of this over the last few years, especially since it’s virtually the only piece I’ve ever written without someone asking for it!

Luna, Nova Luna

JeremyBeckIt is sleeping and waking on Now is the Time, Sunday, December 16th at 10 pm. Jeremy Beck’s Slow Motion duo for piano and vibes is dreamy but not really slow, Kenji Bunch’s Lost & Found, for the viola/percussion Duo Jalal, shimmers with tight constructions, and Michael Djupstrom’s piece for Mimi Stillman and Charles Abramovic is a child’s folk song.

Christopher Campbell brings in bells and electronics for a ritual procession, but the processions for Mark Winges in Luna, Nova Luna are all voices. A youth choir joins with San Franciso’s Volti for this sumptuous look at the influence of the moon.

from Jeremy Beck: Slow Motion 

PROGRAM:

Jeremy Beck. Slow Motion
Christopher Campbell. Ritual Waking, Ritual Sleepwalking
Kenji Bunch. Lost & Found
Mark Winges. Luna, Nova Luna
Michael Djupstrom. Sejdefu’s Mother Wakes Her

Every Sunday night at 10, Kile Smith brings you Now is the Time, all styles of contemporary concert music by living American composers on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at wrti.org. Here are the recording details and complete schedule.