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EARPLAY 23: Facets and Lines

 

Monday, November 12, 7 PM
Herbst Theatre

The Earplay Ensemble
Mary Chun, conductor
Tod Brody, flutes  •  Peter Josheff, clarinets  •  Karen Rosenak, piano
Terrie Baune, violin  •  Ellen Ruth Rose, viola  •  Thalia Moore, cello

Guest Artists
Lisa Weiss, violin  • Dan Reiter, cello  •  Dan Kennedy, percussion
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Mark Applebaum
Entre Funerailles IV (2000)

Tod Brody

Liza Lim
Heart's Ear (1997)

Mary Chun, Tod Brody, Peter Josheff, Terrie Baune, Lisa Weiss, Ellen Ruth Rose, Dan Reiter

Laurie San Martin
Dances (2004, 2007)

(World Premiere weekend)

Karen Rosenak

Peter Maxwell Davies
Economies of Scale (2002)

Peter Josheff, Lisa Weiss, Thalia Moore, Karen Rosenak

Wayne Peterson
Duo (1993)

Terrie Baune, Karen Rosenak


Barbara White
Mind's Fear/Heart's Delight (1998)
West Coast Premiere

Mary Chun, Tod Brody, Peter Josheff, Terrie Baune, Dan Reiterand Karen Rosenak, Dan Kennedy

* * *

Program Notes

Entre Funerailles IV (2000)

Brian Ferneyhough's Funérailles for seven strings and harp requires that its two versions be performed on the same concert but not consecutively. In this regard my series of solo works, Entre Funérailles, are hypothetical interludes to his two versions; as autonomous compositions, they may be performed independently. These pieces serve as both homage and curious aesthetic intrusion.

Entre Funérailles IV is dedicated to Helen Bledsoe who premiered it in Amsterdam in 2001. Its form is a continuous variation in which each measure can be heard as a transformation of the previous one. However, in the ultimate work, much of the narrative is missing: measures were removed and although the remaining pieces were sewn together in time, a discursive gap remains. The gap increases incrementally and then shrinks until it disappears. The process is repeated but with a degenerating maximum gap.

The idea then is that the narrative distance between adjacent measures expands and contracts, producing moments of logical consequence as well as incongruous, surreal ones. As the maximum gap contracts, so decays the ambit of narrative incongruity. In response to the assumption that music changes either gradually or suddenly, this piece oscillates progressively between gradual changes and sudden ones. --M.A.

Mark Applebaum (b. 1967, Chicago) is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied principally with Brian Ferneyhough. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia with notable premieres at the Darmstadt summer sessions. He has received commissions from Betty Freeman, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Vienna Modern Festival, Antwerp’s Champ D’Action, Festival ADEvantgarde in Munich, Zeitgeist, MANUFACTURE (Tokyo), the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Jerome Foundation, and the American Composers Forum, among others. In 1997 Applebaum received the American Music Center’s Stephen Albert Award and an artist residency fellowship at the Villa Montalvo artist colony in Northern California.

Applebaum is also active as a jazz pianist and builds electroacoustic instruments out of junk, hardware, and found objects for use as both compositional and improvisational tools. His music can be heard on recordings on the Innova, Tzadik, Capstone, and SEAMUS labels. Prior to his current appointment, he taught at UCSD, Mississippi State University, and Carleton College. Additional information is available at www.markapplebaum.com.


Liza Lim
Heart's Ear (1997)


Internationally acclaimed composer Liza Lim combines the intelligence of modernism with visceral energy and vibrant colour. A recurring thematic thread in her music is the exploration of the idea of crossing cultural boundaries and of ecstatic transformation. Her compositions explore a range of resources from opera and the orchestra to visual arts installations, often including non-Western instruments and have been performed by some of the world's most eminent ensembles. Notably, she was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to write the large orchestral work, Ecstatic Architecture to celebrate the inaugural season of the Frank GEHRY-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2004.

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Laurie San Martin
Dances (2004, 2007)

*(World Premiere with FENAM and Harvest of Songs)

for solo piano in three movements:

I. Tangozilla (2004) for Amy Dissanayake

II. Zambra? (2004, 2007 revised) for Amy Dissanayake*

III. Ziozuki (2007) for Karen Rosenak*

I began this piece with Tangozilla written for Amy Dissanayake as part of a tango project where Amy requested 3-minute tangos from a variety of composers. After writing Tangozilla, the first movement in this set, I felt that the tango needed a companion piece or two and began working on the second movement, Zambra?, also for Amy. It was not until the Earplay Ensemble approached me looking for a piece “with piano” that I became inspired to write the final movement Ziozuki for pianist Karen Rosenak.

In writing Tangozilla, I was mostly inspired by William Bolcom's Dead Moth Tango and an assortment of tangos by Astor Piazzolla. I felt most attracted to the dark and playful character of these tangos. Tangozilla maintains a tango-esque rhythm throughout and gradually moves from the lowest register of the piano to the highest.

Zambra? begins by descending from the high register where Tangozilla left off. Irregular and off-balance rhythms give Zambra? a nervous quality. The piece creates pedal points and uses flamenco-like rhythms to decorate these repeated notes. Compared to the first movement, the second movement is less focused, giving the impression of wandering.

Ziozuki, for pianist Karen Rosenak, recapitulates many of the ideas from Tangozilla. Like Zambra?, it is more episodic and less centered than the first movement. The episodes, or digressions, grow longer as the piece progresses and often sound either like Conlon Nancarrow’s off-centered canons, or some of the more persistent moments of David Rakowski’s piano etudes.

Laurie San Martin (b1968) is a faculty member in the UC Davis Music Department where she teaches music theory and composition and co-directs the Empyrean Ensemble. A native of Berkeley, she holds degrees from U.C. Davis, U.C. Berkeley and Brandeis University where she studied composition, clarinet, and conducting. Her principal teachers include Ross Bauer, Martin Boykan, Eric Chasalow, David Rakowski, Olly Wilson and Yehudi Wyner.

Her music has been performed in the US and in Italy by such ensembles as Speculum Musicae, eighth blackbird, EARPLAY, the Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival, the Left Coast Ensemble, and the SF Contemporary Music Players. She has received awards from the International Alliance for Women in Music, the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Awards, the Margaret Blackwell Memorial Prize in Composition and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her music includes solo, chamber and orchestral music, and she has collaborated with other artists in multimedia and video. Most recently she has enjoyed writing for virtuoso soloists including percussionist Chris Froh and pianists Marilyn Nonken, Lara Downes, Karen Rosenak and Amy Dissanayake and cellist David Russell who recently premiered her new Cello Conceto with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra. Currently, she is working on new pieces for the Left Coast Ensemble (for premiere in May, 2008), the Empyrean Ensemble (for premiere in April, 2008), Chris Froh and Ellen Ruth Rose (for premiere in spring, 2008) and music for a play by playwright Jade McCutchean to be premiered in October, 2008.

 

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Peter Maxwell Davies, Economies of Scale (2002) for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Economies of Scale, NOTES

Peter Maxwell Davies (b.1934) is one of the most significant figures in post-War European music. He rose to prominence in late 1960s with neo-expressionistic music-theatre pieces Eight Songs for a Mad King and Vesalii Icones, orchestra scores Worldes Blis and St Thomas Wake, and opera Taverner.  Many of his works were composed for the distinctive chamber sextet of Fires of London. * Since the 1970s, worklist includes Trumpet Concerto, 8 Symphonies, and 10 Strathclyde Concertos written for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra * Many works for young performers * Active as conductor, both of his own works and standard repertoire* Appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 2004

 

 

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Wayne Peterson, Duo (1993) for violin and piano

I. Toccata (poco agitato)
II. Adagio
III. Scherzo (light and jazzy)

 
There are three interconnected movements played without pause: a Toccata (poco agitato); Adagio; and a Scherzo (light and jazzy). The nervous, highly charged and technically challenging opening sets the tone for the Toccata. Eventually the impetuous nature of this music succumbs rather prematurely to the full-blown lyricism of the Adagio.  As the violin brings to ultimate fruition its sustained ideas a brief transition, begun by spiky, irregular rhythms in the piano, serves to shatter the calm and proceed to the final movement. Beginning with jazz motifs (quotes from Bebop standards, Bill Evans and Errol Garner) the spirit is now light and buoyant. Gradually the music intensifies, taking on an ever greater urgency as material returns from the Toccata and undergoes further development. After a furious climax an accelerating coda brings the DUO to a resounding close. ----W.P.

 

Wayne Peterson (b. 1927) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1992 for the San Francisco Symphony commission, The Heart of Dark, crowning a distinguished career which includes a catalog of more than 60 works and numerous fellowships and awards. He has been honored by the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky, Fromm, and Gerbode Foundations in addition to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Peterson has been a Professor of Music at San Francisco State University for more than three decades and has also been active as a guest composer at universities across the country. He was guest Professor of Composition at Stanford University from 1992-1994; other guest teaching positions have included those at Indiana University, Brandeis University, and the University of Minnesota. The Wayne Peterson Prize, which is awarded annually for outstanding musical excellence in composition, was established in his honor by San Francisco State University in 1998.

 

*   *   *

 

Barbara White, Mind's Fear/Heart's Delight (1998)

White ushers us into her sound world with a juxtaposition of clashing themes. timbres and colors in 'the mind's fear, the heart's delight' (1998), composed specifically for the New York New Music Ensemble. The piece unfolds in five distinct sections: an eccentric dialogue that pits piano and percussion ("glued" together throughout the piece) against the rest of the ensemble; an enigmatic duet between flute and violin, underscored by a shimmering repeated phrase in the upper register of the piano; and a melancholy section that focuses on long, low notes in the cello. Next comes a long development in the bass clarinet and drums that eventually lands in an extremely high reigster, making the bass clarinet sound like a wailing tenor sax, followed by the final section, in which the other instruments re-emerge timidly through a beautiful, apprehenesive passage. The quick harsh refrain from the opening interrupts often, providing an impetus for sudden contrasts. White expalains the sharp disparities between sections as inherently paradoxical: the title, a slightly altered line from the poem "Eruption: Pu'u O'o" by Garret Hongo, evokes the fusing of anxiety and bliss. White treasures such contradictions, noting that "single idea or experience can simultaneously inspire both terror and desire

 

Composer Barbara White (b. 19--) was born in Boston and was educated at Harvard/Radcliffe (A.B.) and the University of Pittsburgh (M.A., Ph.D.).  She has received commissions from the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York New Music Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, the Fromm Foundation, and the Koussevitzky Foundation.  Recent and upcoming performances include the Aspen Music Festival, Speculum Musicae, New Millennium Ensemble, Zeltsman Marimba Festival, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, and Boston Musica Viva and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble.  White’s honors and awards include a Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship. 

White has performed her clarinet works with the Fromm Foundation Contemporary Music Series at Harvard, Frente de Danza Independiente (Quito, Ecuador), the Florida International Festival of New Music, as well as on her first solo CD, When the Smoke Clears.   A second CD, Apocryphal Stories, was released in 2004.  She has a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary collaboration, specifically in working with dance and video.  

White’s scholarship combines the analysis of the “nuts and bolts” of musical design with an investigation of cultural context; recent articles have been published in Cambridge Opera Journal, Opera Quarterly, Intercultural Music, Indiana Theory Review, the American Assembly’s Creative Campus, and Open Space Magazine. In 1998, Barbara White joined the faculty of the Princeton University Music Department, where she is now Associate Professor.

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Guest Artists

Lisa Weiss (violin) A Bay area native, Weiss has earned inter-national recognition as a chamber musician, including awards in the Portsmouth and Coleman competitions, and as a participant in the Marlboro Festival. She performs as concertmaster and soloist with Philharmonia Baroque, and is also a member of the American Bach Soloists, the Arcadian Academy, and BMV 2000. As a guest artist, she has appeared with many chamber ensembles including the Artaria Quartet, Musica Pacifica, American Baroque, and Philomel.

Dan Reiter (cello)is principal cellist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony (OEBS), Festival Opera Orchestra, Diablo Ballet Orchestra and Fremont Symphony.   His solo work has included Leonard Bernstein's Three Meditations (OEBS, 2000) and Robert Schumann's Cello Concerto (Fremont Symphony, 2002). Dan is also a former Earplay member (1989-90).

As a composer, Dan has written varied chamber works.  In 1999 he won an Izzy Award for is composition Raga Bach B Minor featuring dancer Robert Moses. He has had the privilege of working with India's master musician Ali Akbar Khan and has recorded two CDs (Garden of Dreams and Legacy) with Khansahib. In addition, Dan produced Cello and Harp, a CD of his own compositions for cello and harp with his wife, Natalie Cox.

 

Daniel Kennedy (Percussion) is a specialist in the music of the twentieth century, and is a member of Earplay and the Empyrean Ensemble. He received his M.F.A. degree from the California Institute of the Arts and his D. M. A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mr. Kennedy, who has recorded widely, is both Instructor of Percussion and former Artistic Director of the Festival of New American Music at California State University, Sacramento.

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