2018 ACDA Western Division Conference

MUSIC WORTH SHARING:

Rare & Adventurous Choral Literature for Women’s Voices

Through collaborations with composers, conductors, choirs and musicians from around the world, Vox Musica’s featured concert projects have included eastern music from India, Persia, and Georgia, music for taiko drums and women’s voices, an electronic concert for women’s voices and DJ, a performance of music for guitar quartet and women’s voices, a project of musical settings of bedtime stories, collaborative performances featuring new works based off of the art work of Sam Francis and Gottfried Helnwein, several composition contests, and others featuring Orthodox music and traditional Jewish music.

For twelve years we have been collecting rare and adventurous music for treble, girl’s, and women’s choruses. Much of this literature has only been performed by our ensemble, is unpublished, or in some cases published or self-published by the composers. Hopefully, this session will make a significant contribution to the canon of SSA(A) literature, will provide choir directors/ music educators access to rare and unheard-of repertoire, and will serve as an inspiration for creative and adventurous programming. Both women’s and mixed ensemble directors could benefit from having attended this session.

Repertoire:

(Selections will be made from the following literature.)

THE EAST: Eastern Music from India, Persia, and Georgia (2009)

Chorale – Ioseb Kechaqmadze (1938-2013) [SSAA]

Bishnau – Lua Hightower (b1956) [SSAA, solo]

Raga: Iman Kalyan – Matthew Grasso (b1972) [SA, tabla, raga guitar]

THUNDER: Music for Taiko Drums and Women’s Voices (2010)

Soaring II – Iris Shiraishi (b1954) [SA, taiko ensemble]
Message from Miyako Island, III. Hyanna – Naoko Zukeran (b1966) [SSAA, pf, drum]
Sacramento Sanka – arr. Yoko Fujimoto (b1952) [SA, taiko drum]

FIDESIUM: Guitar Quartet and Women’s Voices (2011)

Desabafo, Para quarteto – Gonçalo Lourenço (b1979) [SSAA, guitar quartet]

REMIX: Electronic Concert Project for Women’s Voices and DJ (2012)

Hildegard Remix – arr. Brent Lee & Chris McNamara [SA, electronics]
Physica – Joel Matthys (b1974) [SSAA, electronics]
Undivided – Benjamin Martinson (b1987) [SSAA, electronics]
Stasis – Jordan Nobles (b1969) [SA, handbells]

RENEW: Early Music accompanied by Trombone and Saxophone (2012)

O Virgo Splendens – anon. Medieval Chant [SA]
Verbum Caro Factum Est – anon. 12th-Century Medieval Chant [SA]

REPLAY: Musical Settings of Bedtime Stories (2013)

Maggie and Milly and Molly and May – David Husser (b1981) [SSAA]
The Harmony Jar – Peter Hilliard (b1975) [SSAA, narrator, puppets]

MAACAM: Music for Looping Violin and Choir (2016)

As Rivers of Water in a Dry Place – Adam Ward (b1981) [SSAA, looping violin]

VOICES IN POETRY: Music for Hang Drum and Women’s Choir (2017)

Countdown – Heather Razo (b1988) [SSAA ,hang drum]
Stay – Mario Burgos (b1987) [SSAA, hang drum]

OTHERS:

In te Domine, VIII. Sicut Erat – Nicola Porpora (1686-1768), ed. Daniel I. Paulson (b1977) [SSAA ,strings, continuo]
Love – Derek Sup (b1992) [SSAA, pf]
Ode to the Sun – Derek Sup (b1992) [SSAA ,organ]
Silent Night – arr. Daniel I. Paulson (b1977) [SSAA]

REPERTOIRE DETAILS:

THE EAST

Yesuvaipola Nadai – Victor Paranjoti (1906-1967)

Victor Paranjoti (1906-1967), is one of the leading composers from the country of India. He was born in the teeming city of Bombay and is well known in Indian musical culture for his creative blending of Western and Indian music. Paranjoti’s compositions deemed him the creator of a “new music.” He was also a music critic for The Times of India, a painter, and Deputy Director General of All India Radio. His Choir, the Paranjoti Academy Chorus, which he founded in 1958, remains to this day one of India`s premiere choral groups. The group motto is “International Harmony through International Music.” They have toured internationally and have received acclaim for the remarkable precision of their singing and “their brilliantly executed repertoire.”The chorus is currently under the direction of conductor Coomi Wadia. She has been with the choir for over a half century, first as a singer, then as assistant conductor and, on the death of Victor Paranjoti, was unanimously elected conductor, a position she has held for well over three decades.

Yesuvaipola Nadai is an arrangement based on the Mohana Ragam from the Carnatic School of classical Indian music. The counterpoint is maintained in complete purity throughout but is overlaid in the final eight bars by a three-part chorus of women’s voices in harmony, which gently refuses strict allegiance to the ragam without doing violence to it. Sung in the language of Tamil, a rare language spoken in southern India, Yesuvaipola Nadai is significant in that the text sheds light on Paranjoti’s own devoted commitment to Christ.

Text
Yesuvaipola nadai, yen magale!
Yesuvaipola nadai, Ilamayil
Yesuvaipola nadai.
Neesa manudar sai thosham akatrida
Pasam neeraindhu nal palanai vantha
Panniru vayathil annai than thai yudhan
Panndigaikku Yerusalem nagar vara
Sinna vayasiley desigarai ketta
Unnatha gnanathai ullandhanil enna.

Translation

Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, my daughter!
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, In your youth,
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
To cleanse the unworthy of their sins,
Abounding with love, for man’s well-being He came.
At the age of twelve, escorted by parents,
At festival time, He came to Jerusalem.
At tender age, hearing priestly instruction.
Deeply He pondered over wisdom supreme.

For More Information Contact: www.facebook.com/paranjotichorus

Media:

Chorale – Ioseb Kechaqmadze (1938-2013)

Ioseb Kechaqmadze (1938-2013), is a composer and Choral-Conductor Chair at the Tbilisi State Conservatory. He is the winner of the Shota Rustaveli and Zakaria Paliashvili State compositions contest, and is the recipient of the People’s Artist of Georgia award. He began actively composing toward the end of the 1960s. His writing continues the traditions of Niko Sulkhanishvili, a classic composer of Georgian national choral music, yet his compositions have a progressive tone that has deemed him the founder of a new choral style. The introduction of modern means of expression in choir music in Georgia and the international renown of Georgian professional music are linked with his name.

Chorale is miniature choral setting that paints a contemplative and idyllic atmospheric portrait, and in doing so creates a sense of tonal color more normally associated with stringed instruments.

For More Information Contact: www.voxmusica.net

Bishnau – Lua Hightower (b1956)

Lua Hightower (b1956), is a classically trained pianist as well as a composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist (piano, tambura, frame drum, ney, oud). She is the founding member of Beloved World Music Ensemble, an ensemble dedicated to performing traditional and original devotional music in the Sufi tradition of mystical Islam. LuAnne has performed jazz in various New England venues throughout the 1980s, at the 1992 Baha’I World Congress in New York City, Washington DC, at the Rumi Festival in Chapel Hill, NC and most recently at Grace Cathedral for a celebration of Huston Smith.

Bishnau is a centuries old Afghani melody, set to the mystic saint Rumi’s “Masnavi” (Mathnawi I: 1-3). The Masnavi is a collection of Sufi stories, ethical and mystical teachings. It is deeply permeated with Qur’anic meanings and references. Rumi himself called the Masnavi “the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Islamic) Religion… and the explainer of the Qur’an.”The Sufi imagery in this poem typifies our journey from God (into flesh) to God (the return=the spiritual quest). The image of the reed field – rooted in the mud – is like us humans, all in a unified field. Though we spring from clay, we have in us this nature that strives toward the Divine. All humans experience a deep sense of separation (and hence, longing) due to the embodiment of our souls (a.k.a., the human condition; being plucked from our source and planted here in our bodies). Sufi poetry is all about being torn from our Divine source and the journey of separation and return. The return begins once we acknowledge the extent of our deep sense of separation (I want a heart torn open with longing).

Text
be-sh’naw în nay chûn shikâyat mê-kon-ad
az jodâ’îy-hâ hikâyat mê-kon-ad,
k-az nayestân tâ ma-râ be-b’rîda-and
dar nafîr-am mard-o zan nâlîda-and
sîna khwâh-am sharHa sharHa az firâq
tâ be-gôy-am sharH-é dard-é ishtiyâq

Translation

Listen to the reed [flute], how it is complaining!
It is telling about separations,
‘Ever since I was severed from the reed field, men
and women have lamented in my shrill cries.
I want a heart torn, torn from separation,
so that I may explain the pain of yearning.

For More Information Contact: www.facebook.com/LuaSufiMusic

Media:

Raga: Iman Kalyan Matthew Grasso (b1972)

Matthew Grasso (b1972), composer, was born of Chinese and Italian ancestry. Matthew began playing guitar at the age of twelve. He attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Scott Tennant and Lawrence Ferrara. Matthew has participated in master classes held by artists including Eliot Fisk, David Russell, and the L.A. Guitar Quartet. His training has been complemented with studies of the classical music of North India at the Ali Akbar College of Music with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Matthew developed a new style of playing, entitled Indian classical fusion. This combines elements of north and south Indian music. In this style he has conceived new talas (rhythmic cycles) such as 10 1/2, 27 1/2, 9 1/4, and 5 1/2. Matthew is on the faculty at Sacramento City College, The Experimental College of U.C. Davis, and teaches privately. He currently resides in Davis, California.

Raga Iman Kalyan is one the most beautiful ragas of the evening. Iman Kalyan means “blessings of the heart.” The moods are devotion, peace, the feeling of romantic love or joy, and compassion. Its rhythmic cycles (talas) are that of Jhaptal, 10-beats (2+3+2+3), and Kaharwa, 8-beats (4+4). Both Jhaptal and Kaharwa are traditional north Indian talas. This piece is sung using the traditional Hindustani syllables of Sargam.

For More Information Contact: www.matthewgrasso.com

Media:

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THUNDER

Soaring II – Iris Shiraishi (b1954)

Iris Shiraishi (b1954), a Japanese American composer and taiko drummer, joined Mu Daiko, a nine-member professional taiko ensemble from St. Paul Minnesota, in 1997 and then became apart of the staff in 2002. As Taiko Programs Director, she facilitates the public taiko classes along with the rehearsals and performances for Mu Daiko and the Mu Community Taiko Group. Shiraishi maintains an active performing, composing and residency/studio teaching schedule and is a member of Mu’s Core Artistic Group. She has a BM in Composition from the University of Hawaii, an MA in Composition, an MFA in Arts Administration from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in Music Therapy from the University of Minnesota.

Soaring II was composed in 2006 and was supported in part through SUBITO, the quick advancement grant program of the American Composers Forum. Soaring describes the sensation of lightness and freedom the composer has had in “flying” dreams over the years. It uses Okinawa’s distinctive melodic scale and Hachijojima’s wonderful drumming style for inspiration and guidance.

For More Information Contact: www.macphail.org/faculty/iris-shiraishi

Media:

Message from Miyako Island – III. Hyanna – Naoko Zukeran (b1966)

Naoko Zukeran (b1966), holds her Bachelor degree in composition from the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Chōfu, Tokyo, Japan. Her recognition as a composer became known after she was awarded the 1999 Best Composed Work Award in the Choral Composition Competition sponsored by Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture. Since then Zukeran has become a highly recognized and commissioned composer in Japan. Her output consists of primarily choral music and, although she composes for all types of choruses, she has a particular gift for setting music for women’s and children’s voices. Recently, Zukeran finished her first theatrical work. Currently she lives in Okinawa where she teaches and serves as a part-time lecturer at the Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts.

Message from Miyako Island is a multi-movement work based on and inspired by a collection of traditional folks songs that had been born from the suffocating feeling of living in the Miyako-jima Islands. Located about 190 miles south of the Okinawa Islands, the Miyako-jima Islands, in the 15th century, were a part of the independent Ryūkyū Kingdom, a tributary state of China. Influenced by the need to obtain trade relations with China in 1609 the Japanese authorized the Satsuma clan to invaded the Ryūkyū Kingdom. At that time Japan had no formal diplomatic relations with China, thus it was essential that they not realize that the Ryūkyū Kingdom was under their control. This caused a 300 year suppression of the people: they forbid them from adopting Japanese names, clothes, or customs, and required any person aged 15-50 to pay a heavy tax to the Satsuma clan. Despite their hard life these fun and lively folk songs uplifted the spirit of the Miyako-jima people. When hearing these folk songs Naoko explains, “I have a hard time separating the singing and dancing of Miyako- jima Island with the difficult life the people had experienced. However, it is the singing and dancing that allowed the community to overcome the pains to these oppressions.” Music is very important to the Miyako-jima people and is considered more honorable than combat skills. The folk music from Miyako is bright and spirited and they are always performed jubilantly. In Message from Miyako Island, Zukeran sets these folk songs in the traditional modes of Miyako and Ryūkyū and colors them with modern western harmonies. Message from Miyako Island was premiered in Tokyo, 2007.

Translation & Description:

I. Nakaya-no Mabunarya Ayagu
Row the ship to which a fisherman, coming to Miyako-jima Island from Hirara-shi, sings a song.

II. Tarama-yo(folk song and dance performed for three days in August)
We pray for a rich year handed down to us.

III. Hyanna-no Machigama-no Ayagu

(The silly song which a woman Matigama sang making fun of one’s beauty).

For More Information Contact: www.editionkawai.jp

Media:

Sacramento Sanka – arr. Yoko Fujimoto (b1952)

Naoko Zukeran (b1966), Yoko Fujimoto (b1952) is a senior member of the professional wadaiko performing group, KODO which she joined in 1976. She currently serves as Kodo’s principal vocalist, performs in the song and dance group ‘Hanayui’, and holds concerts and drum-and-song workshops with her husband Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Kodo’s principal O-daiko player. Sacramento Sanka is the result of a conversation between Sacramento Taiko Dan’s Music Director, Tiffany Tamaribuchi and Fujimoto. (Tiffany and Yoko had been discussing their love for traditional music and folk songs and about creating a traditionally styled folk song expressing the character of Sacramento. A very long discussion ensued about the notable things that could be recounted in the piece. They talked for hours and later, Yoko handed her a composition with seven verses neatly hand-written on a piece of notebook paper.)

Sacramento Sanka speaks about the rivers and deltas, the history of flooding in the city, the gold rush, salmon runs, the varied wildlife, rafting and fishing, the whitewater and eddies, and the constant flow of water that could be crystal clear, green, brown, or black as night. It discusses the various seasons, especially the blistering heat of summer and how the delta breezes cooled everything down at night. The blooming flowers, the snow-covered Sierra Nevada on the eastern horizon on a very clear day. The Japanese farmers that had settled in the region who had grown all sorts of crops, especially strawberries, and how in the winter the tule fog often blanketed the city and in summertime the air was thick with the smoke from burning rice straw.

For More Information Contact: www.kodo.or.jp/en/tag/yoko-fujimoto

Media:

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FIDESIUM

Desabafo, Para quarteto de Guitarras e Coro Misto – Gonçalo Lourenço (b1979)

Gonçalo Lourenço (b1979), composer and conductor, was born in Lisbon Portugal. Active as a choral conductor, he founded the Odyssea Choir and the Coro da Universidade Lusófona in 2004. Currently he is in the MM Choral Conducting program at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Lourenço’s music has been performed by the Young Musicians Orchestra of Iceland. Additional commissions include works for Small Orchestra, Christmas Motets and other pieces for the Mastersingers of Ohio.

Desabafo, Para Quarteto de Guitarras e Coro Misto is a commission of the poem writer, Ana Paula Rosa. In the text the poet is suffering intense philosophical problems, like what is love, passion, life, death, present, past and future. The frenetic rhythm in the guitars and the speech-like tone in the choir is used to create an atmosphere of tension and release. Originally for SATB, the SSAA version performed tonight was specially arranged for “Vox Musica”.

Text:

Fazer algo novo é fazêlo no passado
Por isso só sente bem o instante que passa,
Quem faz actos no tempo que já lá vai,
E que ainda é o mesmo instante?

O que se faz já foi feito,
Permanece num recanto da memória
E é recorda çao e Viver constante.

Ser é ter sido e não ser ao mesmo tempo.
Es que cer e lembrar perpeteame ne sia

Odiar é amar plenamente
o inverso, o inverso.

Só saboreia o bem quem sabe o mal,
Por isso em vez de açucar bebo sal
E salgadas são estas gotas que me banham
o rosto alegre angustiado?
sim, mas com um sorriso.

Os meus olhos são o prazer que o reflecte
Orgasmos a que logrei dar vida

O meu corpo é tão perfeito como as imperfeitas
O Sol é negro e o silêncio tão insuportável

Que um grito dila cera odia, nascido em mim ?

A cor dapureza é o negro, é o vermelho
A sensualidade é azul, o pecado loiro.

A vida e eu é toda esta mistura inefável.

Translation:
What is newly done is gone
Only good moments pass.
Why does time pass so quickly,
and pass in the same instant?

What is done is done,
it will forever remain a memory
but reminds me to live fully.

Being is being and not being one.
Live and remember that life is inevitable.

Feeling death is living.
conversely, the same…

Who knows what evil is?
Instead of sugar,
I drink salt
Are these salty drops that I am bathed with
the happiness that troubles me?
Yes, but with a smile.

My eyes are pleased that the mirror reflects
the excitement that I succeeded in giving life.

My body is perfect as the imperfect things.
The sun is black and silence unbearable

Why is hate born in me?

The color of purity is black and red
and sin white and blue.

I am confused but life is inevitable.

For More Information Contact: glmusican.wixsite.com/goncalo-lourenco

Media:

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REMIX

Hildegard Remix – arr. Brent Lee & Chris McNamara

Brent Lee is a composer, performer and educator based in Windsor, Ontario. He is currently the co-director of Noiseborder Multimedia Performance Lab at the University of Windsor, and is a member of the Noiseborder Ensemble. Chris McNamara is a Windsor/Detroit/ Ann Arbor-based video artist, writer, DJ, new media instructor, and founding member of Thinkbox (thinkbox.ca).

Hildegard Remix – Brent and Chris collaborated on this remixing of Hildegard’s music, which reflects the monophonic chant style pervasive in the 12th century. Its subtle simplicity is ideally suited to harmonic and timbral elaboration. What you will hear includes fragments of Hildegard’s miracle play Ordo virtutum arranged (remixed?) for a polyphonic chorus and in turn amplified and processed (remixed again) using computer technology.

Text:

O Felix Anima
Virtutes O felix Anima,
et o dulcis creatura dei,
que edi cata es in profunda
altitudine sapientie dei, multum amas.

Translation:
Virtues Oh happy Soul,
oh sweet creature of God,
fashioned in the great height
of the wisdom of God, you show much love.

For More Information Contact: musiccentre.ca/node/79777

Media:

Undivided – Benjamin Martinson (b1987)

Benjamin Martinson (b1987) a native of Alaska, is a graduate student of composition at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Butler University, where he studied composition and voice. He has written for a variety of ensembles and media, spanning from SATB choir to interactive electronics, from baroque ensemble to the iPhone. All of his output is influenced deeply by his experience as a vocalist, his work as a programmer/ designer, and his passion for early and contemporary music. His works have been performed across the United States; in England, Ireland, and China; and at the national MENC and SEAMUS conferences. His groove-making iPhone app, Minimalicious, is available for free download on the App Store.

Undivided was written in 2011 for Vox Musica. As a composer who specializes in choral and electronic music, Benjamin jumped at the opportunity to combine these media, and to work once again with Vox Musica. The goal of the electronic sounds in this piece is to emphasize and enhance what makes the choir essentially choral, rather than contrast or subvert it. The computer brings no new sounds to the piece, but rather processes the sound of the choir in real time. The poetry speaks for itself.

Text:

All is undivided.

We are each a stroke of color,
A single note,
A sun- fleck on the ocean;
A burst of light,
A hanging torrent,
A final breath of wind
Within a single drop of rain.

Imagined by our dreams;
We are sung by our music,

Shaped by our clay,
We exist with our hands;
We give life for life.

We are turned to polished glass
Within the mind still wet with paint.

The real moon is in the lake,
The deepest well behind the eye,
And all is blurred to beauty.

For More Information Contact: www.benjaminmartinson.com

Media:

Stasis – Jordan Nobles (b1969)

Jordan Nobles (b1969), is known for creating music filled with an “unearthly beauty” (Mondomagazine) that makes listeners want to “close (their) eyes and transcend into a cloud of music” (Discorder Magazine). Jordan Nobles has emerged as one of Canada’s finest composers. He is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and an Associate of the Canadian Music Centre. He lives in North Vancouver, BC, with his wife and muse, Kelly, and their son Julian.

Stasis is an open-form work where long tones enter and exit without a fixed plan. Its an exploration of a acoustics and sonic worlds.

For More Information Contact: www.jordannobles.com

Media:

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RENEW

O Virgo Splendens – anon. Medieval Chant

O Virgo Splendens, is a monodic song (a musical work with a single melodic line) from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat (fol. 21v-22), one of the oldest extant medieval manuscripts containing music. Here the voices and instruments perform this chant in four part cannon.

Text
O Virgo splendens, hic in monte celso
Miraculis serrato fulgentibus ubique,
Quem deles conscendunt universi.
Eia pietatis oculo placato
Cerne ligatus fune peccatorum
Ne infernorum ictibus graventur
Sed cum beatis tua prece vocentur.

Translation

O resplendent Virgin, here on the high mountain,
glowing with miraculous wonders,

where the believers from everywhere ascend.
Ah, with your gentle loving eye behold
those caught in the bonds of sin,

to let them not suffer the blows of Hell,

but let them be with the blessed by your intercession.

Media:

Verbum Caro Factum Est – anon. 12th-Century Medieval Chant

Verbum Caro Factum Est, is one of the most popular of all medieval carols, known as early as the twelfth century. The text is partly in Latin, partly in Provençal (dialects of Occitan). Several versions of this carol survive. This edition comes from the 1420 Czech Jistebnice Cantional manuscripts and it is in a binatim style, literally meaning ‘doubled’ plainchant. This was a very common type of simple polyphony. In origin it was a technique of improvising a second voice to an existing melody, often with a characteristic ‘mirroring’ of the line. The saxophone embellishes this ‘mirroring’ with a descatus style musical line.

Text
Verbum caro factum est de Virgine Maria.
In hoc anni circulo vita datur seculo,
nato nobis Parvulo de Virgine Maria.
O beata femina, cuius ventris
Gloria mundi lavat crimina de Virgine Maria.
Stella Solem protulit,
Sol salutem contulit,
carnem veram abstulit de Virgine Maria.

Translation

The Word was made flesh by the Virgin Mary.
In this rounding of the year life is given to the world;
a little Boy is born to us by the Virgin Mary.
O blessed woman,
the Glory of whose womb cleanses the sins of the
world by the Virgin Mary. A Star brings forth the Sun,
the Sun brings salvation,
and takes unto itself very flesh by the Virgin Mary.

Media:

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REPLAY

Maggie and Milly and Molly and May – David Husser (b1981)

David Husser (b1981), received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and his Masters in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. David currently lives in Traverse City, Michigan, where he is a member of the teaches at Northwestern Michigan College and maintains a private piano studio. He also collaborates as a pianist with many individuals and organizations, and composes music for piano and various vocal ensembles. Maggie and Milly and Molly and May by e.e. cummings was first published in cummings’ fifteenth collection of verse, 95 Poems. Like many of his poems

Maggie and milly and molly and may depicts children at play and uses them as a vehicle to arrive at a universal statement about life. Husser’s playful arrangement mimic’s the singsong tone and style common to childhood nursery rhymes. In the story four children have gone to the beach to play and each child describes what they find in the process. Maggie finds a shell, milly finds a star fish, molly a “horrible thing,” and may a “smooth round stone.” This story is found illustrated and published in many different children’s books throughout the world.

Text
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

For More Information Contact: www.davidhusserpianostudio.coms

Media:

Harmony Jar – Peter Hilliard (b1975)

Hilliard and Boresi are a writing team devoted to adding beauty, energy, and above all humor back into classical music. Their award winning and crowd-pleasing operas, musicals, song cycles, and choral music combine a love of classical forms with a fresh, irreverent approach. Matt Boresi (b1975), is a teacher, director, writer, coach, and podcaster in Chicago. Peter Hilliard (b1975), is a teacher, conductor, composer, and blogger in Philadelphia. The Harmony Jar, is a piece for chorus, piano, and puppets. It may be hard to believe, but The Harmony Jar is not the first classical music puppet show Hilliard & Boresi have written.

NOTES FROM THE COMPOSER:
Unless you were attending Avant-Garde Puppet ‘happenings’ in Soho about 11 years ago, you probably missed ‘Eat Your Greens’: The Complete Operas of Verdi in 20 Minutes Performed By Vegetables, in which we re-enacted the ‘complete’ Verdi canon on a chopping block with hundreds of characters made of fresh produce. More than a decade later, we are at it again, having fun with classical music and puppets with this commissioned work for Vox Musica. In The Harmony Jar Matt has very cleverly named the three main characters after medieval modes. This allowed Hilliard to refer to those modes in the course of the piece. It also contains 2 of Matt’s favorite devices: sound effects and ridiculous phony Latin. Of course, there is also plenty of zaniness, and pretty moments too. Something for everyone, we hope, in this wacky musical fairy tale, including a moral about the power of singing together.

For More Information Contact: peterhilliard.wordpress.com/

Media:

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MAACAM

As Rivers of Water in a Dry Place – Adam Ward (b1981)

San Francisco based singer and composer Adam Ward, was commissioned to write a new work for this project. Mr. Ward is currently in his tenth season with the international choral ensemble, Chanticleer where he sings alto and soprano. Mr. Ward holds degrees in Horn performance from Manhattan School of Music and Yale School of Music.

De Bary’s poem As Rivers of Water in a Dry Place offers the opportunity to create the very music she describes – fresh, clear, undefiled, the first-born, the earliest ancient music ever heard. A personal, secret song that, like the water brook, gives new life. Mr. Ward sends a special thank you to Vox Musica, Daniel Paulson and Joe Kye for bringing his newest song to life.

Text
Lonely, lonely lay the hill,

not a bird was there to sing,

not a bee was there to drone;

the sky, unbrushed of any wing,
hung above me like a stone
,
And scarce my feet obeyed
my will as heavily I walk alone.

For More Information Contact: www.chanticleer.org/adam-ward

Media:

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VOICES IN POETRY

Countdown – Heather Razo (b1988)

Poet’s Notes: Inverse poem — these were poems that after scanning, were inverted (black background, white text). This was to separate them from the other poems — the inverse poems were created in heightened states of anxiety (stress dreams, nightmares, etc). “Countdown,” as the title suggests, represents this sense of time running out. This was written in the summer, the premier season for this project. I was in Sacramento temporarily to see family and very restless to get back to New York, where I was living at the time.

Composer’s Notes: “Countdown” features a recurring motif that imitates the ticking of the clock which anchors the piece. This motif uses a compositional technique called hocketing, which splits a single word up over multiple voice parts, so as to, in this case, hearken to the back and forth quality of the clock’s ticking. As the vivid portions of the dream begin to give way, a hazy texture takes its place which eventually dissipates to the nothingness left when sleep ends and the dream is over.

For More Information Contact: www.VoxMusica.net

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Stay – Mario Burgos (b1987)

Poet’s Notes: This early morning poem was created from a somber headspace. I was feeling
very lost, and even contemplated throwing away this whole project as I entered the second phase (fall aka sophomore slump? Just kidding). Feelings of being kind and hopeful amidst a very lonesome and hopeless state. I remember feeling on the edge of REM/dreaming, but not quite there.

Composer’s Notes: Mario Burgos was inspired by the text of “Fall: Ill” which brought up the comforting, yet anxiety-laced inconsistency in one’s falling into sleep. There is a constant ebb and flow – falling and rising, much like the ocean’s waves – to this work. He wanted to acknowledge the desire to find peace and sleep while trying to calm the natural anxiety of an adult mind trying to fall gracefully into a dream state.

For More Information Contact: www.themarioburgos.com

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OTHERS

In te Domine – VIII. Sicut Erat – Nicola Porpora (1686-1768)

Nicola Porpora, in addition to his compositions, has also gained a significant reputation as a voice teacher, numbering among his students the great castrato alto Farinelli for whom the alto solos Ospedali, the homes for young women which were famous for the quality of their choral music, much of it for women’s voices. Sadly, little of these vast resources of music for London to compose were for an opera company, creating a rival with the company directed by George Frederic Handel. It was this situation which turned Handel from Italian opera to concentrate on oratorio. The greatest frustration of Porpora’s life was his failure to for the last time, settling first in Dresden. Five years later he went to Vienna, destitute and depending on voice and composition lessons for a living. His prize pupil was none other than the young Franz Joseph Haydn, who served Porpora as valet and accompanist in return for composition lessons. Haydn later said that “I wrote diligently, but not quite correctly, until at last I had the good fortune to learn the true fundamentals of composition from the celebrated Porpora.”

In Te Domine for the figlie di coro at the Ospedale della Pietà. It distinctively shows his characteristic workings of two choral parts against two others, where one group is very active and the other very sustained. The original manuscript is an eight movement work written for SSATB chorus and string accompaniment. It is found at the British Museum, London, in the part book collections of Nicola Porpora. Earlier this summer Vox Musica’s music director, Daniel Paulson, was able to acquire a copy of the original manuscript in Porpora’s own hand and was able to transcribe four of the movements into modern notation. It is important to note that this is an unpublished musical work.

Text
Sicut erat in principio,
et nunc, et semper,
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Translation

As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.

For More Information Contact: www.dpmusic.net

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Love – Derek Sup (b1992)

Derek Sup was born and raised in Sacramento, and started classical piano lessons with Debra Miller in Gold River. He attended Rio Americano High School, where he focused more on jazz and pop music, playing vibraphone in the big band and singing in rock groups. In May of 2014, he graduated from Willamette University with a Bachelors in Music Composition. He sang in four choirs, and continued studies of jazz music in campus ensembles. For his thesis, he wrote, directed, and accompanied a forty-minute opera called Neon Mirror Festival for SATB chorus, barbershop quartet, piano trio, organ, and soloists. Throughout college, he played synthesizer and sang in a Sacramento-based art-rock group, Family Photo, which has released two EP’s and one full-length album, and toured the east and west coasts.

His compositions continue to be actively performed in Oregon. He received a commission from the Willamette Master Chorus to write a piece called, First I Tell the Patient, for their concert, Celebrating Life, in May 2014. In 2013, he won the Young Composer Award for his choir piece, Angels, put on by the Portland Vocal Consort. Although he currently is organist/choir director at St. Paul’s Episcopal in downtown Sacramento, he beings a new position at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Oakland in June as an organist/choir director.

Love is based on the biblical text, Corinthians 13:4. The text is fragmented into cells into which other segments of the text are plugged, creating a repetitive atmosphere which subtly changing harmonies. Halfway through the piece, the composition enters a more dissonant tonal world, where the composer reverses the text to ask the question, “Is love?” instead of the previous statement, “Love is.” A heated, frightened crisis ensues, until the text reverts back to its original layout and tonality, displaying the simplicity of love triumphing over evil, rejoicing in the truth.

For More Information Contact: www.dereksup.com

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Ode to the Sun – Derek Sup (b1992)

This amazing work was inspired by the poem Ode to the Sun, by Scott Mehner. Ode to the Sun is found in Mehner’s recent publication, Illustrated Poems, which is a collection of his poetry that has been illustrated by twenty other artists and calligraphers from all around the globe. Vox Musica commissioned Derek Sup to compose a setting of this text especially for this performance. The result of the collaboration is a stunning work for choir, organ, and projection mapping.

NOTES FROM THE COMPOSER: The sun was formed by a gravitational collapse of matter within a molecular cloud, a mixture of interstellar dust and hydrogen gas, 4.6 billion years ago. It is roughly 864,000 miles in diameter, and the core temperature of the sun is 27 million degrees F. The energy within the sun is equal to 400 billion one megaton nuclear bombs every second. Roughly three- fourths of the sun is hydrogen, and the remaining is comprised mostly of helium with traces of oxygen, carbon, neon, and iron. The gravity of the sun accounts for about 99.8% of the mass of the Solar System, and dictates the orbits of all of the planets within it. Through the sun are coursing many enormous rivers of plasma, each generating its own magnetic eld. These magnetic fields explode through the surface of the sun, creating Solar Wind, a stream of charged particles ring in all directions away from the sun. The sun is accountable for all changes in seasons, ocean currents, weather, aurorae, and all life on our planet. It is a yellow dwarf star, and will develop into a red giant in 5 billion years, swelling and engulfing Mercury and Venus and obliterating everything on Earth. The outer layers of the sun will be shed, leaving only the core, transforming into a white dwarf. Once it runs out of energy, which will take longer than the age of our universe, it will reach its final stage, forming the theoretical stellar remnant known as a black dwarf.

For More Information Contact: www.dereksup.com

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