top of page

June 6, 1p

Masur Museum of Art

1400 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71202

[Livestream Link]

 

Program

Insomnolence by Harry Gonzalez (Colombia)

 

"1. DoDec Shuffle" and "4. Quintal Grooves" from Four Third Streams by Douglas Hedwig (Tennessee)

 

Three Pieces by Benjamin Webster (Connecticut)

 

Glass Flowers by Adrian Wong (Hong Kong)

 

Notes

Sleep, one of the basic human needs, is at the same time so common in our daily lives and essential to our system, as well as one of the most complex features of our body and brain and is often undervalued by today’s world. It is so important that not getting enough sleep daily can affect our organisms in so many ways, from lowering our mood and energy levels in the short term to increasing the probability of chronic health problems in the long term. Insomnolence for String Trio is a piece reflecting what one experiences when one is sleep-deprived, how it affects our daily rhythm and energy, and conducts us into madness after several days of insomnia. This is portrayed in the development and structure of the piece, with moments of anger and frustration expressed with energic rhythmic gestures, moments of low-energy and cranky mood expressed with unlined and disorienting rhythmic patterns, and the abandonment or sudden introduction of musical materials reflecting the inability to focus consistently. Towards the end, a ¾ untuned dance reflects the deteriorated state of mind that one gets after being sleep-deprived for several days.


Four Third Streams for wind quintet, is a classical/jazz fusion composition in four movements. The title refers to the 20th century American musical style sometimes referred to as "Third Stream," a term first coined by the composer, conductor, and horn player, Gunther Schuller. Schuller was prominent among a group of mid-century composers who wished to integrate the two primary musical idioms (or "streams") of jazz and classical music into a viable "third stream" of distinctly American art-music. Each movement of Four Third Streams takes inspiration from a different jazz style; sometimes overtly, and at other times more indirectly. The work combines elements of jazz inflections, rhythms, phrasing, and harmonies with contemporary classical tonal and atonal organization, melody, thematic development, structure, counterpoint, etc. Though the 1st movement, DoDec Shuffle is predominantly atonal and serial - entirely derived from two 12-tone-rows - the rows (pitch sequences) are worked out in such a way to frequently result in contemporary, extended jazz harmony. The rhythmic elements of the movement reflect the influence of so-called “swing jazz,” and certain melodic elements - especially within the flute and clarinet cadenzas - are indicative of “Be-Bop” jazz style. The lyrical, ballad-like 2nd movement serves as a kind of interlude. It is inspired by the so-called “Cool Jazz” movement associated with the West Coast School, and mid-50s Miles Davis and Gil Evans collaborations. The mysterious-sounding 3rd movement takes its inspiration from the rather “smokey” style associated with “Film Noir” scores of the 1940s. The lively and energetic final movement derives much of its character from Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz. The overall work of rather stylistically contrasting movements is unified by the recurrence of melodic elements and fragments - both tonal and atonal - throughout the four movements. For instance, one of the two 12-tone themes first presented as the basis of the 1st movement, can be most clearly and directly heard in its entirety at the beginning of movement three. Composed between 2017-2019, Four Third Streams was composed for, and premiered in 2019 by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Wind Quintet, Chattanooga, Tennessee USA.


Three Pieces is a collection of short, contrasting works for unaccompanied violin. The opening movement is spirited and virtuosic, with constant motion from start to finish. The second, titled Interlude, is gentle and nostalgic, foregrounding a simple pizzicato chord progression as its primary idea. The final movement, the most lyrical of the three, moves freely between emotions of anguish and introspection.

Glass Flowers (2022) is inspired by the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants (colloquially known as "Glass Flowers") made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka from the late 18th to the early 19th century. These models are indistinguishable from the real thing——the petals embody a gentle softness, the stems and leaves delicately fine and gossamer——the only indication of its unnaturalness being its resting place: on plaque-adorned, thick white boards housed in gently lit antique wooden cases. You peer at them, knowing it's glass, admiring every carefully manicured detail as it subtly reflects the light, relishing in its fragility. The longer you admire them though, the more the model grows and blossoms, and you soon forget that you are staring at a facsimile——the plant comes to life. Small details draw you in: tiny thorns on the stem of a rose, the fuzz on the roots of a water lily, the thread-like pistils on a Great St. Johnswort... and then you remember that all these impossibly tiny details, all these minutiae which we rarely notice in our lives, are made of glass. You're brought back to reality, or at the very least reminded of it, as you stand in awe of the craftsmanship of this glass flower——and then you move on to the next one. But that isn't what I find most beautiful about these flowers. The Glass Flowers were originally commissioned by Harvard as a learning tool, a resource for botany students to understand plants found around the world year-round in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These are permanent representations of the fleeting, lasting renditions of the impermanent. Yet, like real flowers, they wilt——centuries-old paint applied on these flowers contracts over time, slowly but surely cracking the brittle glass. Indiscriminate in its nature, time imparts life upon everything. Glass Flowers was written for Hub New Music with admiration, as part of the Philadelphia Student Composers Project.

bottom of page