Instrumentation: SSAATTBB a cappella choir

Duration: ca. 5:30

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Premiere: May 20, 2017 :: Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers :: Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church :: New York, NY

Program Note: 

In physics, flux is defined as the rate of flow of a fluid, radiant energy, or particles across a given area. This music is my attempt to translate this idea into sound. I use short, pulsed, echoing music as particles and long, sustained notes that gradually melt and morph through glissandi and shifting timbres as fluid. The particles and fluid combine in various ways to slowly transform the music over time. Rather than setting and painting a text, the singers use various syllables to shape the sound itself, and I imagined shaping and manipulating these timbres and textures much like I would in electronic music, using filters, delay, reverb, and ring modulation.

 

Three Rilke Songs

Three Rilke Songs

Instrumentation: 8-part A Cappella Choir (SSAATTBB)

Total Duration: ca. 12:00

Premiere: December 8, 2010 :: The University of Michigan Chamber Choir, Jerry Blackstone, conductor :: The University of Michigan School of Music, Ann Arbor, MI

Program Notes:

Three Rilke Songs are settings of poems written by Rainer Maria Rilke. These settings were written for Jerry Blackstone and the University of Michigan Chamber Choir and Dale Voelker and the Washington Kantorei.

The Three Rilke Songs may be purchased individually or as a complete set. For purchasing information, please visit the Store or contact David.

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Herbst

Duration: ca. 2:30

Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
Als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
Unendlich sanft in seinen Händen halt.

Autumn (English Translation)

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were withering high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all the other stars in the loneliness.

We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

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Abend (1904)

Duration: ca. 3:30

Der Abend wechselt langsam die Gewänder,
die ihm ein Rand von alten Bäumen halt;
du schaust: und von dir scheiden sich die Länder,
ein himmelfahrendes und eins, das fällt;

und lassen dich, zu keinem ganz gehörend,
nicht ganz so dunkel wie das Haus, das schweigt,
nicht ganz so sicher Ewiges beschwörend
wie das, was Stern wird jede Nacht und steigt—

und lassen dir (unsäglich zu entwirrn)
dein Leben bang und riesenhaft und reifend,
so dass es, bald begrenzt und bald begreifend,
abwechselnd Stein in dir wird und Gestirn.

Evening (English Translation)

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes
a star each night, and rises:

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

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Lösch mir die Augen aus (1899)

Duration: ca. 6:00

Lösch mir die Augen aus: ich kann dich sehn,
wirf mir die Ohren zu: ich kann dich hören,
und ohne Füße kann ich zu dir gehn,
und ohne Mund noch kann ich dich beschwören.

Brich mir die Arme ab, ich fasse dich
mit meinem Herzen wie mit einer Hand,
halt mir das Herz zu, und mein Hirn wird schlagen,
und wirfst du in mein Hirn den Brand,
so werd ich dich auf meinem Blute tragen.

Extinguish Thou My Eyes (English Translation)

Extinguish Thou my eyes: I still can see Thee,
deprive my ears of sound: I still can hear Thee,
and without feet I still can come to Thee,
and without voice I still can call to Thee.

Sever my arms from me, I still will hold Thee
with all my heart as with a single hand,
arrest my heart, my brain will keep on beating,
and Should Thy fire at last my brain consume,
the flowing of my blood will carry Thee.

This Night

This Night

Instrumentation: SATB a cappella choir and (optional) solo flute (alternate version with violin also available)

Duration: 4:30

Premiere: December 1, 2012 :: VocalEssence, Philip Brunell, artistic director

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Program Note:

This Night is a simple Christmas carol, written for VocalEssence and Philip Brunelle (winner of the 2012 Welcome Christmas Carol Competition). It is a setting of the text Dies ist die Nacht, da mir erschienen, (“This Night a Wondrous Revelation”), which was written in 1683 by Caspar Friedrich Nachtenhöfer. I have used an English translation of the original German poem by Anna B. Hoppe from 1922, which also serves as the text for the Christmas hymn of the same name, commonly set to the tune O Dass Ich Tausen Zungen, written by Johann B. König in 1738. I chose this text because of the beautifully vivid imagery and metaphors for light in the poetry, and because I really enjoy the simple, common rhyme and phrase structure that encouraged me to write simple, clear music.

*Note this piece has been transposed down one semitone from the original performance recording posted above.

This Night

This night a wondrous revelation
Makes known to me God’s love and grace;
The Child that merits adoration
Brings light to our benighted race;
And though a thousand suns did shine,
Still brighter were that Light divine.

The Sun of Grace for thee is beaming;
Rejoice, my soul, in Jesus’ birth!
The light from yonder manger streaming
Sends forth its rays o’er all the earth.
It drives the night of sin away
And turns our darkness into day.

This Light, which all thy gloom can banish,
The bliss of heaven glorifies;
When sun and moon and stars shall vanish,
Its rays shall still illume the skies.
This light through all eternity
Thy heaven and all to thee shall be.

For purchasing information, please visit the Store or contact David.