CNM Concert Season 34

David Gompper, Director



1999-2000
Concert VII


Notes & Bios
   Michael Eckert
 Lawrence Fritts
 Jeremy Dale Roberts
 George Crumb
 Richard Hervig
 Richard Danielpour
 

   SEASON: 
   CONCERT: 


 PROGRAM NOTES & BIOS



Concert VII

Sunday, December 5, 1999, 8:00 pm at Clapp Recital Hall







Trio for flute, clarinet and double bass (1988) Michael ECKERT
  Antonio Guimaraes, flute
Michelle Fox, clarinet
Anton Hatwich, double bass
Doctrine of Chances for tape (1999) Lawrence FRITTS
Layers (1995) Jeremy DALE ROBERTS
  Tamara Chadima, flute
Mark Weiger*, oboe
Christine Bellomy, clarinet
David Greenhoe*, trumpet
David Gompper*, conductor
brief intermission
An Idyll For The Misbegotten (1986)
for Amplified Flute, and Percussion (3 Players)
George CRUMB
  Sonja Feig, flute
Brett E. E. Paschal,
Jon-Marc Donald,
John Willmarth, percussion
Fantasy and Toccata (1998)
Richard HERVIG
  Dennis Eppich, piano
Urban Dances (1989)
Riddle Dance / Burlesque
Shadow Dance (Dirge) / Peripetia
Richard DANIELPOUR
  Iowa Brass Quintet
David Greenhoe* and Barbara Deur, trumpets
Kristin Thelander*, horn
David Gier*, trombone
Robert Yeats*, tuba

* SOM faculty

 




  MICHAEL ECKERT
Trio for flute, clarinet and double bass (1988)

In late 1987 the Iowa Music Teachers Association commissioned me to write a piece for their 1988 convention, with the stipulation that I provide the performers. My colleague Eldon Obrecht not only agreed to play double bass in a chamber work, but generously gave me a crash course in writing for the instrument, particularly the possibilities of harmonics, including double-stops, which I used extensively in the double bass to match the sound of the flute. Trio is a single movement lasting a little over six minutes, and was first performed in June 1988 at the IMTA convention at Graceland College in Lamoni, by Julianna Moore, flute; Barbara Bullock, clarinet; and Prof. Obrecht.
Michael Eckert has taught music theory and composition at the University of Iowa School of Music in since 1985, and is currently Head of the Composition/Theory Area. He studied composition with John Richard Ronsheim at Antioch College, and with Ralph Shapey at the University of Chicago, receiving an M.A. in music history & theory in 1975 and the Ph.D. in composition in 1977. Before coming to Iowa he taught at Colorado State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tulane University, and Antioch College. His awards for composition include the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, a Charles E. Ives Scholarship from the National Institute of Arts and Letters , an NEA fellowship, and the Music Teachers National Association Distinguished Composer of the Year Award. In 1986 he received a Fulbright Junior Fellowship to Italy and an NEH Travel to Collections grant for research on the music of Luigi Dallapiccola. Eckert has also done research on fifteenth century music, and from 1993 to 1995 directed the UI Collegium Musicum, the School's early music ensemble.

Link to Michael Eckert

 

LAWRENCE FRITTS
Doctrine of Chances (1999)

the title of which is taken from an obscure 18th-century mathematical treatise on probability, re-examines the relation between statistical distribution and form in music in the latter part of the twentieth century. The so-called chance composers of the fifties and sixties, represented by Cage, Wolff, Brown, and others, used probabilistic procedures to create sound worlds that were free from what they would regard as doctrinaire approaches to formal organization, as represented by Babbitt and the east coast academic composers. From our vantage point at the end of the century, these differences between these two approaches appear to be not so great as once imagined. Serialists, it has often been argued, sometimes too casually applied higher mathematical processes without a clear understanding of their structural implications in order to create expressive patterns of richness and complexity. At the same time, chance composers came to incorporate increasingly elaborate sets of rules and conditions governing how chance operations would be employed in their music. Both approaches to creating pattern and complexity are integrated in Doctrine of Chances, which combines the structural clarity of digitally-generated sound with the richness of digitally-processed musical instruments.
Lawrence Fritts received his PhD in Composition from the University of Chicago, where he studied with Shulamit Ran, John Eaton, and Ralph Shapey. He is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Iowa, where he directs the Electronic Music Studios. Recent compositions have been presented at festivals, conferences, and concert series in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Bowling Green, San Jose, Thessaloniki, Gorizia, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Lyons. His music is recorded on the Frog Peak and Innova labels. His work on mathematics and music has been published in Music Theory Spectrum and by the American Mathematical Society and the Institute for Advanced Study in Informatics and Systems Research.

Link to Lawrence Fritts

 

JEREMY DALE ROBERTS
Layers (1995)

Based on a well known Lament - Dido's 'When I am laid in earth' - I had first thought of calling this piece 'A Good Lay'. But that didn't seem quite seemly for the occasion-the tricentennial celebration of Purcell's death-and anyway I wasn't sure that Purcell and I would make such good bedfellows. Besides, in the end, it didn't turn out to be all that lively a piece-let alone exclusively Purcells's: Debussy, Chopin and Mahler all get a look in...
Jeremy Dale Roberts (b. 1934, Gloucestershire, England), who recently retired as the distinguished Head of Composition at the Royal College of Music, London, is a Visiting Professor of Composition at the University of Iowa. He studied with William Alwyn and Priaulx Rainier at Marlborough College and the Royal Academy of Music, and his compositions have been performed at the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh Festivals, the Venice Biennale, the Diorama de Geneve, and the festivals of Avignon and Paris. They include the Cello Concerto - 'Deathwatch' written for Rohan de Saram; Tombeau for piano, written for Stephen Bishop Kovacevich; Croquis for string trio, written for members of the Arditti Quartet (BBC commission); In the Same Space, nine poems of Constantin Cavafy, written for Stephen Varcoe; and Lines of Life, lyric episodes for ensemble, written for Lontano (BBC commission); 'Casidas y Sonetos - del amor oscuro', for solo guitar (Arts Council commission) for Charles Ramirez. He was the subject of a BBC "Composer's Portrait" in April, 1981.

Link to Jeremy Dale Roberts

 

GEORGE CRUMB
An Idyll For The Misbegotten (1986)

I feel that "misbegotten" well describes the fateful and melancholy predicament of the species homo sapiens at the present moment in time. Mankind has become evermore "illegitimate" in the natural world of the plants and animals. The ancient sense of brotherhood with all life-forms (so poignantly expressed in the poetry of St. Francis of Assisi) has gradually and relentlessly eroded, and consequently we find ourselves monarchs of a dying world. We share the fervent hope that humankind will embrace anew nature's "moral imperative."

My little Idyll was inspired by these thoughts. Flute and drum are, to me (perhaps by association with ancient ethnic musics), those instruments which most powerfully evoke the voice of nature. I have suggested that ideally (even if impractically) my Idyll should be "heard from afar, over a lake, on a moonlit evening in August."

An Idyll for the Misbegotten evokes the haunting theme of Claude Debussy's Syrinx (for solo flute, 1912). There is also a short quotation from the eighth century Chinese poet Ssu-K'ung Shu:

"The moon goes down. There are shivering birds and withering grasses."

G.C.
George Crumb was born 24 October 1929 in Charleston, West Virginia. He received his D.M.A. at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he studied composition with Ross Lee Finney. Crumb has received numerous awards, honors and commissions (Pulitzer Prize 1968; International Rostrum of Composers (UNESCO) Award 1971; Fromm, Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Rockefeller Foundations) and is a member of the National Institute of Arts & Letters. Presently he is composer in residence at the University of Pennsylvania. Audience enthusiasm, critical acclaim and colleagues' praise have been extensive for Crumb's mature works (dating from approximately 1962). Among those qualities that are most frequently cited are the following: an extraordinarily sensitive ear resulting in highly refined timbral nuances; a very powerful evocative sense and a sureness and concision in realizing his musical intentions. All of these interact structurally to form a body of music which is moving and convincing.


 

RICHARD HERVIG
Fantasy and Toccata (1998)

The work Fantasy and Toccata was originally a Toccata, written for the composer's 80th birthday concert at Merkin Hall, New York City, in 1997. The movement entitled "Fantasy" was added last year.

Richard Hervig was born in Iowa, grew up in South Dakota, and studied composition under the later Philip Greeley Clapp at the University of Iowa starting in 1940. One wife, one child and one war later, he received the PhD from Iowa. From 1955 until 1988 he taught composition and theory at Iowa. He was the co-founder of the Center for New Music, which received its initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1966. In 1988 he retired from the University of Iowa and began teaching in the Literature and Materials of Music program at The Juilliard School in New York, where he still lives.


 

RICHARD DANIELPOUR
Urban Dances (1989)

My brass quintet Urban Dances attempts to evoke some of the various energies (as I experience them) of New York City, where I was born and now live. Its first movement, "Riddle Dance," is about confronting crisis, on a daily basis ("It's always something ..."), while the second movement, "Burlesque," involves the sexual energy and dynamics between men and women in New York City. "Shadow Dance," the third, and longest, movement, is a dirge with variations set in a style somewhat reminiscent of a chorale prelude. This movement is preoccupied with the death, dying, and desolation one witnesses in New York as a result of violence, neglect and disease. The last movement, "Peripetia," is a cross between perpetual motion and vicissitude; it is the most positive and optimistic of the quintet's four dances, and perhaps the most challenging music for the performers. In "Peripetia," all of the compositional ideas heard in the previous three movements return briefly in various guises.

Urban Dances was commissioned by Chamber Music America for the Saturday Brass Quintet, which gave the work's first performance on January 15, 1989 in New York City. From the outset I had conceived this quintet with a choreographic possibility; in April 1990 Debra Fernandez choreographed and staged Urban Dances for the Marymount Manhattan Theatre in New York City.

Richard Danielpour has established himself as one of the most gifted and sought-after composers of his generation. His is music of large and romantic gestures, brilliantly orchestrated and rhythmically vibrant.

Richard Danielpour's music has been heard throughout the United States and abroad. In 1996, Sony Classical recognized his special talent in signing the composer to an exclusive recording contract. Recent premieres include: Vox Populi (1998), a concert-opener for the Evansville Philharmonic; Celestial Night, a symphony celebrating the October 1997 opening of the new home of the New Jersey Symphony; the January 1998 performance (along with the 22 January Carnegie Halldebut) of Elegies (1997), an orchestral work for Roger Nierenberg and the Jacksonville Symphony, featuring soloists Frederica von Stade and Thomas Hampson; the May 1998 premiere at Lincoln Center of Spirits in the Well, a song cycle for Jessye Norman, with texts by Toni Morrison, and the August 1998 premiere of Feast of Fools, a bassoon quintet for Stephen Walt and the Muir String Quartet. Danielpour's schedule includes numerous commissions extending well into the millennium. His works for premiere in 2000 include: Voices of Remembrance, a concerto for the Guarneri String Quartet with the National Symphony, in Washington in January and then later in Carnegie Hall; The Night Rainbow, also in January, a concert opener for the Pacific Symphony; a work entitled A Child's Reliquary for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio (April 2000); and a violin concerto in August for the Philadelphia Orchestra with soloist Chantal Juillet and conductor Charles Dutoit.

Among the more than 30 other organizations that have commissioned Danielpour's music are the New York Philharmonic (Toward the Splendid City); the San Francisco Symphony (Symphony No. 2, Song of Remembrance, and the Cello Concerto); the Pittsburgh Symphony (Concerto for Orchestra, celebrating the orchestra's 100th anniversary); the Baltimore Symphony (The Awakened Heart); the New York Chamber Symphony (Metamorphosis); the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Piano Quintet and Sonnets to Orpheus Book I, for Dawn Upshaw); Absolut Vodka (Piano Concerto No. 2); and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Sonnets to Orpheus Book 2). His music has also been performed by the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle, and Utah, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome. He has written for John Aler, Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Kurt Ollman, Christopher O'Riley, William Sharp, Dawn Upshaw, the Emerson and Muir quartets, and the Saturday Brass Quintet. Danielpour has also composed two major scores for ballet, Anima Mundi (1996) for the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Urban Dances for Orchestra (1997) for the New York City Ballet.

Among Danielpour's awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, the Bearns Prize (from Columbia University), The Charles Ives Fellowship and a Lifetime Achievement Award (both from the American Academy of Arts and Letters), two Barlow Foundation grants, and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the American Academy in Rome. Danielpour is currently serving a three-year composer residency with the Pacific Symphony.

Born in New York City on 28 January 1956, Danielpour studied at the New England Conservatory and the Juilliard School with Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin. Danielpour was also trained as a pianist with Lorin Hollander, Veronica Jochum, and Gabriel Chodos. He is a member of the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute and the Manhattan School of Music.