Ascension for Solo Clarinet and String Orchestra
This piece was composed in loving memory of Rex Aniciete, a Southern California native, clarinetist, and educator. Alabaca composed Ascension to keep his dear friend Rex’s memory alive. Rex had such an eloquent and delightful sense of musicality along with a loving and giving nature. Therefore, when Alabaca received word of Rex’s passing, he decided to honor him with a piece that would convey Rex’s high sense of musicality and exceptional character. The piece reflects Rex’s nature throughout, from the melancholic clarinet solo at the beginning, which evokes the warmth and depth of Rex’s spirit, to the fast arpeggios and bouncy nature of the music thereafter, which directly reflect who Rex was: cheerful, gentle, and sincere. — Ahmed Alabaca
THE Dark Glass Sinfonia
"We See Through A Glass Darkly..."
The Dark Glass Sinfonia for symphony orchestra was written in 2017. Built upon an integrated set of hexachordal formulae, it blends the concepts of free atonality with modal harmony. In doing so it is meant to represent the enigmatic and ongoing, emotional flux of the Soul. — Sarah Wallin Huff
The Defiant Poet: Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko
The Defiant Poet: Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko was written to commemorate the life and passing of one of Tulsa OK's (and the world's) citizens. The piece was begun in the week after the Russian poet's death, in April 2017, and completed in July. Yevtushenko, our neighbor, artist, and historical figure, who used art to successfully shape the public conscience in the second half of the 20th Century, made Tulsa his final home. An artistic statement commemorating his presence and contributions demanded to reach out into the world from within our and his community.
In the Classical music tradition of writing pieces in the memory of great writers, thinkers, artists, musicians, and other public figures, The Defiant Poet: Elegy in Memory of Yevgeny Yevtushenko was written as a monument in sound to Yevtushenko's historical contributions and inspiration. His presence in Tulsa serves as a testament to who we can be, and brings our community into larger conversations with history and our neighbors around the world.
Beyond being a statement of participation in the international artistic culture and tradition, this elegy was conceived as a symphonic daydream commemorating the poet’s life and defining acts of defiance in his poetry: condemnation of genocide, violent politics, othering, and anti-semitism in poems like ‘Babi Yar,’ (forever enshrined in the first movement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13) and the defiance of cynical inhumanity in his many love poems. Yevtushenko's voice can be found responding to many instances of injustice from World War II to the present. It is my hope that this elegy will inspire us to read his poems and articles, which are about humanity. Like Paul Revere, his writings sound the alarm that themes of injustice long associated with distant historical events, that seem to be about people other than us, can come at any time and demand a response.
This recording of The Defiant Poet is possible in part thanks to the support of Masha, Zhenya, and Dmitry Yevtushenko, as well as John Evans, Dennis Kim, Jane Mudgett, Jim and Kathy Gerety, Jeff and Robin Smith, Bruce Sorrell, Pam Carter, Phil Haney, Joseph Arndt, Scott Pitcock, and various other supporters, including Andrés Franco and the Tulsa Signature Symphony for premiering the piece at Signature Symphony’s Yevgeny Yevtushenko Memorial Concert, November 4th, 2017. — Noam Faingold
From the dawn of time spring has been a symbol of birth and renewal. Warming sun rays, the songs of birds in the early morning, an encompassing scent of earthly aromas, and the rustle of young grass – these are the messengers of spring. All of Nature wakes up. I adore this time of the year!
Eastern wisdom says that Spring is not so much a season as a state of mind. This resonates with my way of thinking. My internal Spring, a new Me, can begin to flourish and unlock endless possibilities for true creative growth.
A few years ago I picked up Alexander Blok’s poetry book. Blok is a famous 20th-century Russian lyrical poet. It was his poem “Oh, spring without end” that inspired me to compose my Symphonic Poem Spring Fantasy. — Raisa Orshansky
Oh, spring without end and without limit –
Without end and without limit a dream!
I discover you, life! I accept you!
And welcome you with a clang of the shield!
(A. Blok, 1907)
Songs of the Seasons
Songs of the Seasons is a musical tone poem that describes the varied changes in warmth and color that paint a picture for us of all the seasons of the year.
From the stillness and magic of a new snowfall as we walk along the path with the crystal white snowflakes covering our steps, to the constant patter of spring rainfall as it runs down our window panes and waters our new flowers; to the summer waves rising, falling, and then rhythmically curling up on the sand as we lie by the sea warming to the sun’s glow, to walking through the forest and seeing the varied, bright, vibrant colors of the fall as the trees turn color to yellow, orange, and red.
The music expresses the amazing and ever-changing diversity of nature that colors our lives and feelings as the seasons pass by. — Craig Morris
My Restoration, (2018), is a Symphony in one movement. While not quoting any folksongs, the melodic material was inspired by Baltic and Slavic folksongs, music from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, all of whom celebrated the 100th anniversary of the restoration of their countries in 2018. — Scott Brickman
Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra
Audun G. Vassdal’s Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra is a work created from pure inspiration, without any initial thoughts other than developing technical ideas, motives, and harmonic progressions. Yet the composer describes the piece as “a therapeutic journey through a hard time, leading to a resolution of psychological trauma.”
This piece is an example of the composer’s playful and free approach to the use of typical classical form principles. The atypical prelude is very slow paced and minimalistic, without much variation. It is only varied through a perpetual growth in orchestration, volume, and tempo. The composer describes it as “a bad feeling, growing in intensity. The minimalism represents the perpetual feeling that doesn’t go away. It only intensifies and cumulates into an angry and frustrated tutti.” As the piece progresses, a deep rumbling is heard throughout, representing the bad feeling continuously being there, affecting everything else that happens, like a depression.
The Fugue is also atypically written. The composer has chosen to leave out the “episodes” that usually separate the entries of the Fugue themes; rather, he varies the theme with orchestration and by slightly changing the melodic phrases. The fugue grows into a bizarre waltz-like part, which comes as a surprise and is highly unusual for the form. It is combined with the typical stretto, where the fugue intensifies. The main theme is presented more and more closely together, overlapping and creating a sense of chaos before it all comes together in a coda, more typical of a larger orchestral piece where the orchestra comes together in a tutti and ends with a reminder of the Prelude.
Contrasting to the Prelude, the Fugue is very active and always changing. In context, the Fugue represents dealing with the bad feelings, constantly working through them, and going back and forth in intensity. It becomes increasingly more intense and difficult, but finally there is a resolution where we find acceptance and happiness. — Audun G. Vassdal
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