Program Notes



FACULTY CHAMBER RECITAL
Friday, October 26, 2012, 10:30 a.m., Recital Hall


PROGRAM

Idyll for the Misbegotten for Flute and Percussion - George Crumb (b. 1929)
Joyce Wilson, Jimmy Finnie, Kyle Lutes

Rush - Anthony Joseph Lanman (b. 1973)
Paul Bro, saxophone; Kurt Fowler, cello
Ted Piechocinski, accordion; Anthony Lanman, electric guitar

Labyrinth - Peter A. Michalove (b. 1951)
II. Andante
III. Allegro Molto
ISU Faculty Woodwind Quintet

Where Beauty Comes From - Timothy C. Takach (b. 1978)
Before We Get Dusty
Where Beauty Comes From
Kara Claybrook, soprano
Sharilyn Spicknall, piano

from Netherland (1993) - Christopher Theofanidis (b. 1967)
II.  A stream of pulses; labored, intense
Paul Bro alto saxophone, Martha Krasnican, piano

Auspicious Light (2012) - Dan Powers (b. 1960)
Cramped Spaces Ensemble
Martha Krasnican and Beverley Simms, piano
Jimmy Finnie and Susie Jackson, percussion
World Premiere




PROGRAM NOTES

Idyll for the Misbegotten (1986) for amplified flute and 3 percussionists
George Crumb (b. 1929)

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 ever more “illegitimate” in the natural world of the plants and animals. The ancient sense of brotherhood with all life-forms (so poignantly expressed int eh 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.”
- George Crumb


Rush
Anthony Joseph Lanman (b. 1973)

"I've always loved progressive rock and metal music. As one wise man once said, "You'll never escape the music you loved when you were seventeen." And I've never tried. This piece is a tribute to all of that wonderful progressive rock that fueled my passion for music during my formative years, and contains that same drive, that same passion, and that same rush that it gave me all those years ago. The title is a reference to the feel of the music, and a tribute to one of the bands that got me started on my journey.
Rush also explores a whole new sound world for me - electric guitar, electric cello, alto saxophone and accordion - a combination I never thought I would hear, let alone have the opportunity to write for.  It wasn't until I did an arrangement of Astor Piazzolla's "L'Histoire du Tango" for this group that I realized what a special sound and what a special group this was.  Musically, the piece explores a few main ideas - one fragmented statement and one rock influenced melody.  Its aim is to be a fusion of all of my past musical experiences, from playing in a touring rock band, to performing Bach suites on classical guitar, to playing John Dowland on the renaissance lute, to performing Steve Reich in a contemporary chamber orchestra."
- Anthony Lanman 


Labyrinth
Peter A. Michalove (b. 1951)

Peter Michalove has written for a wide range of musical media, including orchestra, concert band, and chorus, as well as a variety of vocal and instrumental chamber ensembles. His music draws on varied strands of the Western tradition, combining often familiar rhythmic and melodic gestures in unfamiliar contexts and combinations.
He studied with Roger Hannay at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (B.M. 1972); and George Balch Wilson and Eugene Kurtz at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (M. M. 1973). In 1977 he earned a DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying with Salvatore Martirano and Ben Johnston. In 1976 he was one of three composers commissioned by the Eastern Music Festival to write an orchestral work ("Circles and Squares") celebrating the American bicentennial. After finishing his formal musical education, he left music for economic reasons. After retiring in 2006, resumed composition in 2007 with a new maturity and deeper outlook.
Michalove is committed to continuing education in music; he has lectured and taught courses on Beethoven, Stravinsky, the elements of music, and opera at the University of Illinois' Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Labyrinth is a three-movement work, two of which are presented here, and is one of his most accessible works. This music draws on varied strands of the Western tradition, combining often familiar rhythmic and melodic gestures in unfamiliar contexts and combinations.


Where Beauty Comes From
Timothy C. Takach (b. 1978)

Reviewed as “gorgeous” (Washington Post) and “stunning” (Lawrence Journal-World), the music of Timothy C. Takach is rapidly gaining momentum in the concert world. Applauded for his melodic lines and rich, intriguing harmonies, Takach has received a number of commissions from various organizations including the St. Olaf Choir, Cantus, Pavia Winds, the Bowling Green State University Men's Chorus, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, the Cherry Creek High School Meistersingers, the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus and the Western Michigan University Chorale. His compositions have been heard on NPR and have been recorded by various groups in North America.
The 2007 Texas and the 2009 Florida All-State Choirs performed his piece “The Darkling Thrush,” and his arrangement of “What Child is This” was featured on the 2007 Boston Pops holiday tour. His arrangement of “Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” was included in a 2006 worldwide Christmas radio broadcast. Takach has received grants from the American Composers Forum and Meet the Composer, and yearly ASCAP awards since 2004.
Takach received a BA in Music Theory and Composition at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, where he graduated with honors. He lives in Minneapolis and sings with the professional male vocal ensemble, Cantus. For more information please visit www.timothyctakach.com

Before We Get Dusty
I wish I had some bubble wrap
To pop with my feet
Want to jump, poke holes in paper
When it’s you, visiting me.

Feeling shy and thank you
Did you know my insides glow?
I swim like a fish,
I dance like the wind
In the banana tree leaves.

I like pushing things
I like fighting and watching tv
I wish right now I was a bug
Climbing up your knee.

We’ll leave before we get dusty
We’ll run and climb every tree
Maybe tomorrow we’ll find some
answers
Maybe we’ll all turn into bees.

I like to laugh and play with
my grandpa,
I like ants in my p.j.s.
Do you wish you were a ball,
could roll and bounce off the
walls with me?

I wish I was a builder
I’d build a house we’d decorate
With books and tickets,
with money and dogs
With stickers and popsicle sticks.

On the ceiling we’ll find thoughts
Drifting and changing like the day,
We’ll lie on our backs and
watch them
gather and carry our fears away.

We’ll leave before we get dusty
We’ll run and climb every tree
Maybe tomorrow we’ll find some
answers
Maybe tomorrow we’ll leave
Maybe tomorrow.
Maybe.
Where Beauty Comes From

Lying on our backs, somewhere
a guitar plays
we sing along, no words,
just a song all our own.

Sometimes the only thing moving
are your eyes,
blinking
to the beat of a drum.
What song do you see?
A darting bird? The sun’s hello?
Where beauty comes from?

We flicker like fireflies, we shine
Stars to guide us above,
we all want to matter, just want
To be loved.

Breathe in and hold it
breathe out and let it go
Sometimes we’ve got to improvise,
just sing a song all our own.

sometimes I’ve got to back away
sometimes I need to hear you say
this with me

sometimes my life’s
an uncertainty
but one day I’ll make all
the difference, you will see
in the world
you will see

close your eyes now, imagine
how this world could spin
open them and tell me
where beauty comes from

breathe in
and hold it
breathe out…

All poems by Julia Klatt Singerfrom

Netherland (1993)
Christopher Theofanidis (b. 1967)

This is the saxophone and piano version of the second movement of my concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra.  There is a lyrical saxophone melody which is placed over an erratic and undependable pulse of bright, major thirds.


Auspicious Light (2012) for two pianos and two percussion
- World Premiere -
Daniel Powers (b. 1960)

Several years ago we were gifted with a volume of photographs, “Album of Customs and Practices of Gannan Tibetan Nationality,” by Chinese photographer Cui Boqian. Gannan is a prefecture in southern Gansu, a mountainous region in central China, home to an ancient culture of mostly Tibetan ancestry. The photos in the book are mostly documentary in nature, depicting the peoples, landscapes, customs, and architecture of the region. One in particular caught my attention, and I found myself returning to it often.
The photo captures a moment at dusk in a rural area in Maqu county, described as a “broad and vast plain.” It is a landscape of dramatic color contrasts, broad horizontal bands of clearly distinct colors that immediately reminded me of a Mark Rothko painting. Along the bottom of the photo we see the earth, appearing dark green in the deepening twilight, except for distant silhouettes of a hut, a horse, and several cattle standing around. Above the horizon, three bands of heavy clouds stretch from one side to the other, purple, light red, and darker red. Along the top of the photo, the clouds give way to clear sky, colored brilliant fiery orange by the last rays of the setting sun. The eye is slowly drawn upward from darkness to brilliant light. It is the most “artistic” photo in the book, and the only one to which Boqian gave a proper title, “Auspicious Light.”
Years later, when I was asked for a new work for the Cramped Spaces ensemble, I began thinking about a work that would move from darkness to light and back. It was already well under way when I remembered the photo, and sensed a kinship between it and the piece I was bringing about. The title seemed perfect, so with apologies to Boqian, I am “borrowing” it for my piece.
“Auspicious Light” was commissioned by Cramped Spaces with assistance from the Indiana State University Arts Endowment, and completed late in 2011. A request was made for a work that could be “portable,” so percussion requirements were kept to a minimum, with one percussionist mostly playing vibraphone and some hand percussion, the other playing drum set and a few auxiliary instruments. Jazz is a strong influence on much of the work, which includes a straightforward jazz ballad as a middle section. Like the photo, the work begins in darkness, moving upward to a brilliant climax by distinct stages, then goes through the process another time before ending in tranquility.
- Dan Powers

Auspicious Light