The Bryne:Kozar Duo – soprano Corrine Byrne and trumpeter Andy Kozar – recently commissioned a quarter-tone piece from me, a setting of Amy Lowell’s poem “A Lady.” They will be premiering the work in Boston on September 9th, one of three performances they will be giving of the piece; the others are in New York and Media, Pennsylvania (see listings below). Also on the program are pieces by Paula Matthusen, Scott Wollschleger, Reiko Füting, Rob Deemer, Scott Worthington and David Smooke.
Byrne:Kozar Duo – September Performances
9/9 – A Lady (premiere), Byrne:Kozar Duo, Second Sunday Concert Series, Boston Sculptors Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; 4 PM.
9/14 – A Lady, Byrne:Kozar Duo, National Opera Center, New York, New York; 7:30 PM.
9/16 – A Lady, Bryne:Kozar Duo, Delaware County Community College, Media PA; 3 PM, $10.
Soprano Sara Noble
Tomorrow (May 13) at 1:30PM in Kobacker Hall, my Ross Gay Songs will be premiered by soprano Sara Noble and pianist Nadia Shpachenko as part of New Music Gathering 2017 , held this year at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH).
Pianist Nadia Shpachenko
Three Ross Gay Songs were composed while I was recuperating in Tennessee from cancer surgeries. Looking for something uplifting to read, I went to Anne Patchett’s bookstore Parnassus and was instantly drawn to the vibrant colors on the cover of his book Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. What I found on the pages within was poetic ‘music’ that nearly sang off the page, providing me with much joy and consolation: and ideas for several songs. ode to drinking water from my hands mirrors a childhood memory of my own, learning to use a water pump in my grandparents’ garden. wedding poem is an example of the vivacious and poignant connection to nature that Ross Gay, who maintains orchards and community gardens in Indiana, finds central to most of his work. ode to the flute is pithy yet filled with evocative imagery. These texts are used with the kind permission of the poet and the songs are dedicated to soprano Sara Noble.
Jenny Olivia Johnson
Don’t Look Back
Innova Recordings CD 925
Wellesley professor Jenny Olivia Johnson presents a program of synth-inflected songs on Don’t Look Back, her debut recording for the Innova imprint. Like many good indie classical songwriters, her formula combines beautiful sounds with stark lyrics: I like to think of it as the “Corey Dargel effect.” Very fine interpreters sing the songs: Megan Schubert, P. Lucy McVeigh, and Amanda Crider. Johnson’s performances as percussionist and electronic musician are seamlessly melded with instrumental contributions by some of the luminaries from the current indie classical scene: violinist Todd Reynolds, cellist Peter Gregson, flutist Jessica Schmitz, clarinetist Eileen Mack, and pianist Isabelle O’Connell among them. Conductor Nathaniel Berman leads the ensemble in assured renditions of the material. While plenty of composers are reveling in the electro-acoustic playground, there aren’t too many that have the orchestrator’s ear and sense of pacing possessed by Johnson. Recommended.
Someone asked me where to start with recordings of the Britten song cycles. I would say always start with the source: Britten/Pears. Then anything recorded with Graham Johnson. Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, Phillip Langridge, and Robert Tear are also important to hear. I go back and forth on Bostridge. Are there more? Of course, but these will keep you busy for a while.