Earplay
P.O Box 192125
San Francisco, CA 94119-2125
earplay@earplay-sf.org

Program Notes and Composer Biographies

Made in the Bay Area

May 21, 2001

The First Congregational Church of Berkeley

Mary Chun, conductor


Wave-Particle (2001) by Lori Dobbins

Earplay Commission—World Premiere

Dana Putnam, 'cello
John McGinn, piano
Tim Dent, percussion

NOTES:

When composing, I first think about the kinetic aspect of music - how the music moves through time Đ fast, slow, or in between Đ pulsed and rhythmic, or more suspenseful and timeless. The interaction of musical materials and how they affect the form of the piece is also a primary concern. At times the musical ideas collide, changing the trajectory of the music, while at other times the different ideas are presented simultaneously, creating several layers of activity. In calmer sections, the instruments cooperate in presenting similar musical ideas.

Another important compositional choice is the instrumentation of a given work. I chose piano and percussion for their resonance and color. The ability of the piano to cover a wide range and create an almost orchestral sound is utilized, particularly in the dramatic piano cadenzas in the first section and coda. In the cello writing, I emphasized the wide range and expressiveness of the instrument as well as its ability to sustain a note indefinitely.

In this piece, sixteenth notes, often repeated, with irregular accents are used to create rhythmic drive and pulse. Rhythmic cells provide some variety, and the sixteenth notes are, at times, disrupted by grace notes and triplet rhythms. Arpeggios covering a wide register provide "waves," which are not pulsed. These two musical ideas are the building blocks of the piece. Moving the 16th notes from a horizontal to vertical position is often used to build rhythmic chords, and melody is derived from a slowed down version of the waves.

The title, Wave-Particle, refers to a physics term, wave-particle duality, which describes a basic feature of quantum mechanics: objects manifest both wavelike and particle-like properties. I do not pretend to understand quantum mechanics, but believe this term serves as a good metaphor for this piece, in which the particles (16th notes, chords) and waves (arpeggios, melody) interact in many ways and often occur simultaneously.

The form of the piece is introduction, three main sections and a coda. A 12-note chord, which provides the basis for the harmony of the piece, is presented in the introduction. The first section consists of rhythmic music alternating with wide-ranging arpeggios in the piano. Eventually, the "waves" take over, leading to a dramatic piano cadenza.

The second section features suspenseful, non-pulsed music, and begins with cello harmonics and tam-tam. Eventually, the cello provides a melody, accompanied by rich harmonies, sustained by trills and tremolos, in the piano and percussion instruments. Repeated notes, derived from the first section of the piece, return gradually in the accompaniment to kick off the third section.

In the third section, musical ideas from the first two sections, including the rhythmic music, arpeggios, rhythmic chords, melody, and trills and tremolos, are superimposed. The coda begins with the vibraphone stating twelve pitches, which are derived from the chord that was presented in the introduction. Another piano cadenza leads to the end of the piece.

Many thanks to the MacDowell Colony for providing me with the time and space needed to compose this piece.

BIO:

Lori DobbinsŐ works have been performed by numerous ensembles, including the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Collage, New Music Consort, New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Fromm Foundation Players, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, North/South Consonance, Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, and the Women's Philharmonic. She has received commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Fromm Foundation, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, and Earplay, and numerous fellowships and awards, including the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Lili Boulanger Award from the National Women Composers Resource Center, and several residencies at the MacDowell Colony.

DobbinsŐ composition for chamber orchestra, Fire and Ice, is available on the Vienna Modern Masters label (VMM 3018) and Sketches for Silvano, a work for jazz singer Judi Silvano, will be released on the Capstone label this year. Several of her works are published by Music Sales Corporation/G. Schirmer, Inc.

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Six Miniatures (1997) by Anthony Korf

West Coast Premiere

Tod Brody, flute
Karen Rosenak, piano

NOTES:

Six Miniatures for Flute with Piano is the sort of off the cuff work that invites spontaneity and affords relief from the self imposed demands of mightier efforts. My first attempt at miniatures, it was composed in about one month (for me, a very short time). It Ňcame outÓ so quickly that I did not realize until later what an odd and provocative work it is. These qualities spring from the pieces ambiguity and unpredictability. Only in the second and fourth movements is any consistency of mood present, while elsewhere, near manic changeability reigns. Each piece can be in turn, ecstatic, morbid, coy or melancholy. Balancing this dramatic instability is an extremely economical, if not parsimonious, use of musical material, most all of which presented in the opening half minute episode. The theme, if it can be called such a thing, is an unprepossessing, ambiguous combination of Tea for Two and Tenderly. These tunes, as anyone familiar with them knows, are temperamentally quite at odds with one another. Similarly, the striding 10ths in the piano left hand owe as much to the great jazz pianist Teddy Wilson as they do to the second movement of ProkofievŐs second piano concerto. Thus, if nothing else, this virtually uncensored work succeeds in revealing a few of my dearest musical affections, not to mention the sensations and emotions in which we all share from time to time.

BIO:

Anthony Korf was born on December 14, 1951 in New York City. His early training included the study of piano, winds, and percussion. He completed his formal training at the Manhattan School of Music where he received his undergraduate and masters degrees in performance. His most notable commissions include the San Francisco Symphony, The American Composers Orchestra, and a consortium of American chamber ensembles comprised of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and Sonor. In 1991, Mr. Korf was awarded a commission from the Koussevitsky Music Foundation to compose a cantata for the New York Virtuoso singers. He also received a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Mr. Korf has received commissioning and/or recording grants from the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1975 he founded Parnassus, the New York based New Music ensemble. He is also a co-founder and artistic director of the Riverside Symphony, a New York based orchestra founded in 1980. He is a member of the Stephen Wolpe Society. A BMI composer, Korf is a member of the American Composer Alliance.

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Full Circle (2001) by Martha Callison Horst

Earplay Commission—World Premiere

Tod Brody, flute and piccolo
Peter Josheff, clarinet

Terrie Baune, violin
Jean-Michel Fonteneau, 'cello

NOTES:

I have always been interested in the influence of gender on music composition. Both movements of Full Circle are modeled after compositions by women composers. The juxtaposition of different musical characters in the first movement is inspired by Ruth Crawford Seeger's String Quartet. The active polyrhythmic canonical structure of the second movement is modeled after Atlas by Mededith Monk, which I performed with the composer during the American Mavericks Festival in 2000.

The first movement begins with two radically different musical characters; the strings are fast and agitated and the woodwinds are extremely slow and mournful. Over the course of this movement, traits of the different musical characters begin to infect their opposite. The climax of the movement features a role reversal; the strings play static background trills and the woodwinds play the agitated sextuplet figure from the strings.

The second movement is a 4-voice crab canon. The musical material is rather cellular. I was interested in creating different polyrhythms through imitation of simple phrases. As the title suggests, the coda of this piece features a return of music from the climax of the first movement.

BIO:

Martha Callison Horst (San Francisco, CA) has taught music theory and composition at San Francisco State University and directed choral ensembles at Solano College. She currently is a lecturer at the University of California, Davis. In addition, Ms. Horst serves as President of the Board of Director of Earplay, the San Francisco based contemporary music ensemble.

Martha Callison Horst began her formal composition studies at Stanford University where she studied with Ross Bauer, David Rakowski, and John Chowning at CCRMA. She has attended several national and international festivals where she has studied with composers such as Milton Babbitt, Mario Davidovsky, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and Oliver Knussen.

In recent years, Ms. Horst's music has received performances throughout the United States and Europe. She has received commissions from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Earplay, Empyrean Ensemble, the Dartington International Festival, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the Left Coast Ensemble. Her music has also been performed by such notable groups as the Fromm Players, members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Eighth Blackbird, The Women's Philharmonic, the New England Reed Trio, and at the Wellesley Composers Conference. In addition to her compositional activities, she is also a professional singer, performing regularly with the Grammy-award winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

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Antiphonies (1999) by Wayne Peterson

Daniel Kennedy, percussion

NOTES:

Antiphonies (1999) was written in response to a commission by the brilliant percussionist, Dan Kennedy. As the title suggest, there is a continual interplay between the two instruments that takes full advantage of their differences in timbre and methods of playing. Indeed, rapid exchanges often create an illusion that is not unlike that of a duo.

Antiphonies is essentially a multi-sectional fantasy that is played without pause. Its quiet, mysterious beginning gradually defines motifs and gestures that are subsequently developed and varied throughout the piece. As tensions increase, the pace quickens, leading to a virtuosic, climactic scherzo. An extensive transition follows which serves to dissipate the agitation. With calm restored, the piece concludes with a broadening elaboration of its opening phrase.

BIO:

Wayne Peterson (born in Albert Lea, MN, 1927 living in San Francisco, CA since 1960) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1992 crowning a distinguished career which began in 1958 with Free Variations Premeired and recorded by the Minnesota Orchestra under Antal Dorati. PetersonŐs recent orchestral compositions include And The Winds Shall Blow, a a fantasy for saxophone quartet, symphonic winds, brass and percussion, premeired by the Rascher Quartet and the Freiburg Orchestra in Germany, Theseus for chamber orchestra and The Face of the Night, The Heart of the Dark, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony (awarded the Pulitzer).

Peterson's catalog of more than 60 compositions include works for orchestra, chorus, and chamber ensemble. In addition to the Pulitzer prize, Peterson has been honored with fellowships and commissions from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky, Fromm, Gerbode, Djerassi Foundations as well as an award of distinction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1990 he was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.

Among the recent compact discs are: the first all Peterson CD with chamber works recorded by the New York Music Ensemble (Koch International), Windup (Rascher Saxophone Quartet, BIS), Second String Quartet (Alexander String Quartet, Innova), Labyrinth (Earplay, Centaur), First String Quartet (The group for Contemporary Music, Koch International Classics), Sextet (San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, CRI).

Peterson has been a Professor of music at San Francisco State University for more than three decades and from 1992-1994 was a guest professor of composition at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and was a fullbright scholar at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1953-54.

PetersonŐs music is published by C.F. Peters Corporation, Boosey and Hawkes, Seesaw Music, and Lawson-Gould.

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What Vibes! (2000) by Andrew Rindfleisch

West Coast Premiere

Mary Chun, conductor
Tod Brody, flute and piccolo
Clark Fobes, Eb clarinet and bass clarinet
Terrie Baune, violin
Dana Putnam, 'cello
Karen Rosenak, piano
Tim Dent, percussion

NOTES:

What Vibes! is a work for six players composed shortly after my residence at the American Academy in Rome, Italy during the years 1997-98. Like many before me, it was not until I lived in Italy that I realized how American I really was. This experience revealed to me more clearly, not only my cultural personality, but my musical one as well. "What Vibes!" is, then, an attempt to express this experience. To begin, I cast the clarinetist (playing E flat and bass clarinet) as a kind of lead character expressing his true colors in a foreign environment of sights and sounds that were, previously, only imaginable. Harmonically, I sought out the most "white bread/ vanilla" tonality I could think of (C major), which I attempt to turn inside-out in a variety of ways as its simple self-contained language is confronted with elements of outside interest. Emerging out of these tonal purges come a uniquely American music: the blues- at times far beneath the musical surface, at times totally exposed. All these aspects manifest themselves in a celebratory tone, reflecting a remarkable self-discovery in a remarkable place far from home.

BIO:

Andrew Rindfleisch (b. 1963) is an internationally active composer, conductor, and pianist who has produced dozens of works for the concert hall, including solo, chamber, vocal, choral, and orchestral music. His committed interest in other forms of music-making have also led him to the composition and performance of jazz and related forms of improvisation. As a composer, Mr. Rindfleisch has been awarded many prestigious honors in recognition of his work. He is the 1997-98 recipient of the coveted Rome Prize and in 1996 received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has also been the recipient of numerous other prizes, including those from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress, ASCAP, the Chautauqua Chamber Singers, the League of Composers-ISCM, and the National Association of Composers. He has participated in dozens of renowned music festivals and has received residency fellowships from the Charles Ives Center for American Music, the Czech-American Music Institute in Prague, the June in Buffalo Contemporary Music Festival, the MacDowell Colony, and the Pierre Boulez Workshop at Carnegie Hall, among others. Mr. Rindfleisch holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Bachelor of Music), the New England Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and Harvard University (PhD), and is currently a Professor of Music Composition at Cleveland State University.

An active conductor, Mr. Rindfleisch is Founder and Music Director of Boston's contemporary American music ensemble, Phantom Arts, which in a few short years has attracted attention for its riveting and broad-minded programs. He is also currently the Associate Conductor of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, a remarkable orchestral ensemble dedicated solely to contemporary literature, and the Music Director of the New Music Associates, a contemporary chamber music concert series in Cleveland. Mr. Rindfleisch regularly makes guest conducting appearances throughout the United States and abroad with many diverse musical organizations and ensembles.

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