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June 6, 7p

Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

2006 Riverside Dr, Monroe, LA 71202

[Livestream Link]

 

Program

Whited Air by Samuel Holland (Georgia)

 

and my body's cells keep ticking by Robert McLure (Ohio)

 

The Frozen Lake Whispers Sweetly by Kevin Su (Maryland)

 

Jedem das Seine by Norberto Oldrini (Italy)

 

Adapted Frictional Neurons by William Toutant (California)

...and the sorrow of sincere devotion, Op. 9 by Peter Swanson (North Carolina)

 

Notes

Written for ensemble vim, Whited Air (2021) is a trio for flute (doubling piccolo), cello, and piano. The opening came from a short musical idea that I stumbled upon one day: a slow descending whole tone scale in parallel fifths (parallel fifths are a big no-no in traditional Western music theory). The second theme, first introduced by the cello about two minutes into the piece, is based on a series of falling fourths. This theme appears and reappears throughout the work in various guises, providing a sense of unity. I am especially proud of the long, almost operatic section about midway through the piece in which the piccolo and cello are locked in an ecstatic, contrapuntal duet. In retrospect, I feel that this section exhibits the “endless melody” that Wagner described when discussing the ideal of his own work. The title came to me after I had the piece nearly finished, when I realized that much of the music could be interpreted as snow imagery, though I had by no means intended that during the composition process. The title comes from the opening lines of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The Snow-Storm”: Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.


and my body’s cells keep ticking was commissioned by Eunmi Ko and the Contemporary Art Music Project (Tampa, FL). It is a set of three songs with text by Alix Anne Shaw that prompts a reassessment of the self. Who am I? And what is “I”? Am I my body’s “tangled microbiome”? Am I the images I select to represent myself? Am I my faulty memories? These ideas are juxtaposed with images of organisms for who “I” is not a useful construct: trees, mosses, fungi, etc. Shaw writes, “Because we are not, after all, such isolates of mind, not lonesome kings enthroned above the body’s unattended factories.” Text for these songs was excerpted from Shaw’s poems “Rebewilderment”, “The Core is Molten, Though the Crust Has Cooled”, and “Where Truth Lies”.


The Frozen Lake Whispers Sweetly was inspired by my childhood memories of visiting a local lake, during the dead of winter. The winters in Maryland get awfully cold, but are not without beauty. I remember gazing upon the body of water and being transfixed by its gray pristinenessI wanted to evoke the sounds of the breeze across the lake ice, the faint echo of wind chimes, and the subtle sound of crackling. It was almost as if the lake whispered to me, invited me, to join its quiet repose.


One of the poems (by an unknown author) of the Brettl Lieder by Arnold Schönberg with a new outfit. An expressionist but ironic text – about a soldier, his equipment, his desires – in its original German version, and a music that alludes to the musical style of that historical period.

Adapted Frictional Neurons consists of two movements based on somewhat similar material. The first movement has two contrasting ideas that are developed independently. At the end of the movement, they are stated simultaneously. The primary motive of the second movement is based on the opening motive of the first movement and is rather lighthearted. The title of the piece has no particular meaning or relation to the music other than being an anagram of “Duets for Clarinet and Piano.”

This piece was written for Dr. Heather Armstrong and premiered at the Iowa Composer's Forum Mid-Winter Conference in January of 2017.

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