Program Notes (Winter 2013)

John Holland

The Blues (2007)

(Conlon Nancarrow Study No. 25 from Studies for Player Piano, Billie Holiday singing I Can’t give You Anything But Love by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields with Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra, Electronic Sounds)

The Nancarrow Study No. 25 is separated into naturally interrupted segments, then reordered. I separated the Billie Holiday track into short phrases or segments, numbered them, then rearranged the segments and inserted silences between them. I have included enhanced electronics that correlate mostly with the Nancarrow Study.

Kurt Weil / Maxwell Anderson

Lost in the Stars for Men’s Barbershop Chorus (1949)

Lost in the Stars is a song from the musical of the same name, with words by Maxwell Anderson and music by Kurt Weil, based on the 1948 book Cry, the Beloved Country by Allan Patton. In his last music drama, Weil gives a passionate and sublime voice to this powerful, uncompromising indictment of apartheid South Africa.

Steve Reich

New York Counterpoint for Clarinet and Tape (1985)

New York Counterpoint was commissioned by The Fromm Music Foundation for clarinetist Richard Stolzman. It was composed during the summer of 1985. The duration is about 11 minutes. The piece is a continuation of the ideas found in Vermont Counterpoint (1982), where as soloist plays against a pre-recorded tape of him or her self.

In New York Counterpoint the soloist pre-records ten clarinet and bass clarinet parts and then plays a final 11th part live against the tape. The compositional procedures include several that occur in my earlier music. The opening pulses ultimately come from the opening of Music for 18 Musicians (1976). The use of interlocking repeated melodic patterns played by multiples of the same instrument can be found in my earliest works, Piano Phase (for 2 pianos or 2 marimbas) and Violin Phase (for 4 violins) both from 1967. In the nature of the patterns, their combination harmonically, and in the faster rate of change, the piece reflects my recent works, particularly Sextet (1985). New York Counterpoint is in three movements: fast, slow, fast, played one after the other without pause. The change of tempo is abrupt and in the simple relation of 1:2. The piece is in the meter 3/2 = 6/4 (=12/8). As is often the case when I write in this meter, there is an ambiguity between whether one hears measures of 3 groups of 4 eight notes, or 4 groups of 3 eight notes. In the last movement of New York Counterpoint the bass clarinets function to accent first one and then the other of these possibilities while the upper clarinets essentially do not change. The effect, by change of accent, is to vary the perception of that which in fact is not changing.

Steve Reich

 Traditional Fife and Drum Music

We Are On the Road To Boston (1777)

The Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums of Coventry, Connecticut is officially recognized as the reactivated 19th Connecticut Regiment of Foot – Continental Line. Organized in 1965, their commitment to authenticity has resulted in their having won the coveted recognition from the Company of Military Historians. The ensemble participates in a variety of events: parades, musters, re-enactments, demonstrations and concerts.

Charles Ives

Piano Trio (1911-14)

The first voice of truly American music, and one of the very first modernists, Charles Ives compositions have no precedents and no antecedants. They are unique, original and are still capable of striking fear into the heart of the average concert-goer.

The third movement of the Piano Trio titled with the acronym TSIAJ translates as ‘This is not a joke.’

Late 19th Century American Hymn

What A gathering That Will Be by John Henry Kurzenknabe

‘A reed organ (often referred to as a pump organ) is a unique instrument that used to be found in many homes, churches, schools and other places where people gathered whenever music was required. ‘ –Rodney Jantzi

Charles Ives could have easily heard this hymn, or even played it as the church organist in New Haven when he was attending Yale. It certainly contains the kind of ‘borrowed’ melody that appears in much of Ive’s music. Ives was using ‘samples’ in his music long before the practice was in use by 20th/21st century composers and musicians.