Living Sounds pairs student composers, performers – Feb. 20

The second installment of the 2012-13 Living Sounds concert series takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 in Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall. For this series, Blair’s student musicians perform works written by their composer compatriots. The results are wide-ranging in instrumentation and style, but always thought-provoking and engaging.

Here’s the program for Wednesday’s concert, along with notes by the composers:

Dawn, by Elena Avalos-Bock

Jackson Crossley and Rachel Clemmer, trumpets; Eleni Miller, horn, Jason Gnasigamany, trombone, Corey Mondul, tuba

Emergence, by Alyze Rabideau

Alyze Rabideau, violin; Chrysa Kovach, flute

Emergence is a short, playful duet. The melodic lines intertwine to create a sometimes intense dialogue. Attempts at agreement are made throughout the piece, most often unsuccessfully, until eventually what emerges from the drama is a unification of ideas.

Group Dynamics, by Alex Commanday

Daniel Cutchens, oboe; Daniel Moore, viola; Amy Thompson, harp; Sean William Calhoun, piano

Group Dynamics explores the interactions of four distinct musical characters in a series of short vignettes. There is the curious and pattern-seeking oboe, the stubborn and melodramatic viola, the precise and rhythmic harp, and the energetic and dependent piano, whose conflicting personalities are put to the test.

Against the Breeze, by Jasper Brey

Jacob Todd, violin; Alyze Rabideau, percussion; Jasper Brey, piano

Caceau impromptu, by Harris Tartell

Shelby Flowers, piano

My original idea for Caceau Impromptu was a work guided by the aesthetic of German Expressionist painter Egon Schiele, but the piece quickly colored itself differently. Maybe cover that emaciated body of hard lines and contorted limbs with a thin layer of Crest toothpaste mixed with lead-based paint. Take a redwood tree and carve out six canoes for a family of audacious chimps. This little piano work tests the dexterity of the pianist with cat-like, trill-like figures as the most prominent feature. One might even call this an etude of sorts, though to steep a cup of tea in volcano lava must also make one willing to equate an eagle with a fruit fly, or a wild tulip with a blade of grass. Or grass with glass, if you’re more of the literary sort. I hope you enjoy this piece — I had fun writing it — though keep in mind the very unfortunate truth about living that I hope Caceau Impromptu reflects: all moments of true serenity are water lilies ensconced in ominous seas.

Nostalgic Songs, by DeLesslin George-Warren

  1. Night Music
  2. Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher
  3. Sendak
  4. Four
  5. Sendak
  6. Catawba Fragments
  7. Theod or Geisel

DeLesslin George-Warren, voice

Stories have been the preferred way of educating and entertaining children for a pretty long time. In Nostalgic Songs, I perform children’s tales from several different perspectives, cultures, and time periods: a 19th-century German fairy tale warning children against sucking their thumbs, a traditional Catawba story about mischievous dwarfs, and even a child’s recounting of the mysterious and often spooky sounds of the night.

A Herald on the Wind, by Sean William Calhoun

Justin Kenney, trumpet; Sean William Calhoun, piano

A Herald on the Wind was composed for Justin as a concertpiece for his junior recital. It begins with a trumpet solo, introducing the main motives of the work, playing with the seventh partial, a recurring idea in itself. The piano enters and leads to the exposition proper (shockingly, this is in sonata form), with material derived from the introduction. The second theme is likewise derived from the first, but slower and calmer. The development begins with a fugato, and subsequently has many contrapuntal textures and hemiolas. The recap follows, with some interruptions, and the piece ends with the trumpet soaring to the upper partials.

Fantasy on Haydn Wood’s ‘Brown Bird Singing,’ by Jack Coen

Leah Hollingshead, soprano; DeLesslin George-Warren, baritone; Michael Zuch, oboe; Selina Magid, bassoon; Nathan Lowry, violin; Elisabeth Bloom, violoncello; Thomas Ridgway, piano

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