Monthly Archives: March 2014

Italian Songs in Recital

templelogoThanks to baritone Matthew Giallongo, for singing two of my Three Italian Songs on his Master’s Recital tonight at Temple University. He has a beautiful voice and sang “Autunno” and “Morire” with a great depth of feeling. Kristen Kiekel accompanied with precision and warmth.

Matthew is a student of Lawrence Indik, who has done me the great honor over the years of not only singing my songs but also of recommending them to others. If there is praise higher than that, I cannot think of it.

I am grateful to him, and also to Sheryl Woods and Randi Marrazzo at Temple, who have done the same. So blessed by the support of such wonderful people, and so happy to have gotten to hear Matthew Giallongo tonight. Bravo!

Two Meditations on Freu dich sehr, at Ursinus College

organpipesblue

Alan Morrison plays my Two Meditations on Freu dich sehr at Ursinus College today at 4:00, on the Heefner Organ in his recital in Bomberger Auditorium. Along with being head of the organ departments at the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Alan is the College Organist at Ursinus.

As I’m singing on two choir concerts today, I can’t be in Collegeville to hear one of the great organists play, and grr. But I’ll be having fun singing with the Franklinville/Schwarzwald Männerchor at the regional Liederabend at the Canstatter Volksfest Verein in Philadelphia.

Then it’s over to the Ann’s Choice Community in Warminster to sing a concert with the 35-voice Musica Concordia. Jackie directs, and among the Lenten pieces on the program will be my Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts.

My notes about Two Meditations are hereAlan played brilliantly at the premiere a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll certainly miss not hearing him play today. Thank you, Alan!

Bremen in Harrisburg March 29th

bremen1Wish I could be there! My children’s piece for narrator, violin, and cello, The Bremen Town Musicians, is being played Saturday morning at 11, March 29th, at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa., as part of the big Book Festival there. The players are Cary Burkett, narrator, Peter Sirotin, violin, and Fiona Thompson, cello, and the event is produced by Market Square Concerts.

Here’s more about the piece, and here’s the text I wrote from the Brothers Grimm story. I wrote this in 2008 for David Yang and Auricolae. Glad to see Market Square taking this on, and I hope everyone has a great time with it!

 

An Exaltation of Larks on Now Is the Time

ExaltationLarksLet the larks play! They sing us into spring on Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 29th at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. Jennifer Higdon considered “exaltation” not only to be a wonderful collective noun but also a pretty good title, so she wrote the romantic and soaring An Exaltation of Larks for string quartet. We get to hear, appropriately, the Lark Quartet in this recording.

Daniel Goode loves birds, too, and weaves examples of different thrushes into one mega-birdsong for an unusual orchestra in Tuba Thrush. Benjamin Beirs describes circles, whorls, and storms in Fluidity. It’s for his instrument, the guitar, and is inspired by the paintings of Sunny Gibbons, who is his sister. Book-ending the program are two works—one for marimba, one for vibraphone—by Alvin Singleton. He titles them Argoru, which is the Ghanaian word meaning “to play.”

from Benjamin Beirs: Fluidity 

PROGRAM:
Alvin Singleton: Argoru VI
Jennifer Higdon: An Exaltation of Larks
Benjamin Beirs: Fluidity
Daniel Goode: Tuba Thrush
Alvin Singleton: Argoru VII

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. Here are the recording details and complete schedule. 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!

New choral work for The Crossing and the Jenks School

JenksPlayground

Children’s Park at Jenks School

Thrilling to be asked to work with The Crossing again, this time with the exciting poet Ryan Eckes in educational outreach with the John Story Jenks School in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.

Ryan, members of The Crossing, and I will visit with students during this spring and next year to share about the creative process. This will culminate in a poem which will be set to music for The Crossing and Jenks students to perform.

Thanks to the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, the Presser Foundation, the Jenks School, its visionary faculty, and of course to The Crossing—Donald Nally, Steven Gearhart, and all (getting ready for their L.A. Philharmonic debut next month)—for making this great idea come alive. I can’t wait to work with Ryan and the students. Thanks to the wonderful Crossing family!

(A fort! Is that a great playground or what? Built and maintained by the community.)

First Leaves of Spring on Now Is the Time

LeafDewIt is spring, finally, we hope, we really do, on Now Is the Time, Saturday, March 22nd at 9 pm at wrti.org and WRTI-HD2. It engenders all sorts of good thoughts as we consider Circling Permutations, a flute and double bass improvisation by Robert Ackerman, and a concert rag for piano, Spring Beauties, by Brian Dykstra. Always elegant, the music of Paul Chihara seems appropriate for our turn to the warmth; we’ll hear his String Trio.

Avner Dorman brings along his Azerbaijani Dance for piano, and if you feel like a play on words, David Gunn’s always good for that, so a Missing Inn March could fit the bill this month. New music for old instruments symbolize a change of seasons; Will Ayton’s Songs of the British Isles is for the consort of viols, Parthenia. And in a similar vein, Dick Hensold breaks out his Northumbrian pipes for First Leaves of Spring.

from Brian Dykstra: Spring Beauties 

PROGRAM:
Robert Ackerman: Circling Permutations
Brian Dykstra: Spring Beauties
Paul Chihara: String Trio
Avner Dorman: Azerbaijani Dance
David Gunn: Missing Inn March
Will Ayton: Four Pieces from Songs of the British Isles
Dick Hensold: First Leaves of Spring

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. Here are the recording details and complete schedule. 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!

Double bar: Song of the Angels, for orchestra

IsaiahSistineFInished my newest piece yesterday, Song of the Angels. Except for the blank page before the music starts, the score’s done, and the parts are all extracted. Cairn University commissioned it for their 100th Anniversary; the premiere is May 9th, Joseph Caminiti conducting the Cairn University Orchestra in Langhorne, Pa.

That blank page is where the program notes will go, so you see how far along those are. I can say, though, that the music is based on Isaiah 6:3:

And one cried to another, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.

It’s for an orchestra of 2222—4231—timpani, triangle—strings, and is seven and a half minutes long.

Above, detail from Sistine Chapel, Isaiah, Michelangelo.