About this Recording
8.572129 - TICHELI, F.: Wild Nights! / ETEZADY, R.: Anahita / MACKEY, J.: Soprano Saxophone Concerto (University of Kansas Wind Ensemble, Weiss)
English 

Wild Nights!
Frank Ticheli • David Dzubay • Steven Bryant • Roshanne Etezady • John Mackey

 

Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)

Frank Ticheli joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he is Professor of Composition, in 1991. He is well known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition to composing, he has appeared as guest conductor of his music at Carnegie Hall, at many American universities and music festivals, and in cities throughout the world, including Schladming, Austria, at the Mid-Europe Music Festival; London and Manchester, England, with the Meadows Wind Ensemble; Singapore, with the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band; and numerous cities in Japan, with the Bands of America National Honor Band.

Wild Nights!

Wild Nights! is a joyous, colorful seven-minute musical journey inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem: Wild Nights!…Numerous composers have set the words of Wild Nights! to music. However, to my knowledge, no one has used this wonderfully sensuous poem as the basis for a purely instrumental tone poem. This was my aim, and in so doing I focused most heavily on the lines “Done with the compass,/Done with the chart” and “Rowing in Eden!/Ah! the sea!” These words suggested the sense of freedom and ecstatic joy that I tried to express in my work. Throughout the piece, even during its darker middle section, the music is mercurial, impetuous, optimistic. A jazzy syncopated rhythmic motive permeates the journey. Unexpected events come and go, lending spontaneity and a sense of freedom. The work is composed in five distinct sections, but contained within each section are numerous surprises and a devilmay-care swagger. Surprises are found at every turn, and continue right through the final cadence.
Frank Ticheli

 

David Dzubay (b. 1964)

David Dzubay is currently Professor of Music, Chair of the Composition Department, and Director of the New Music Ensemble at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. He was previously on the faculty of the University of North Texas in Denton. Dzubay has conducted at the Tanglewood, Aspen, and June in Buffalo festivals. He has also conducted the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Greater Dallas Youth Symphony Orchestra, Music from China, Voices of Change, an ensemble from the Minnesota Orchestra, the Kentuckiana Brass and Percussion Ensemble and strings from the Louisville Orchestra at the Maple Mount Music Festival. From 1995 to 1998 he served as Composer-Consultant to the Minnesota Orchestra, helping direct their “Perfect-Pitch” reading sessions, and during 2005–2006 he was Meet the Composer/American Symphony Orchestra League Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Shadow Dance

Pérotin, a choirmaster at the cathedral of Notre Dame, composed the first known works of music written in four parts at the end of the twelfth century. His Viderunt Omnes, circa 1199, is an organum based on a Gregorian chant sung at both Christmas and New Year. Pérotin’s organum can be thought of as a lengthened shadow of the original chant. That is, individual notes of the chant are sustained in the bottom part for long periods of time, during which the three upper parts have active melodic sequences, often with a rather dance-like lilt. The upper parts playfully shadow each other with imitative melodic lines in the same register, constantly crossing back and forth. Contrasting with the sustained-note sections are more active discant sections, called clausulae, where the bottom part is also rhythmically active. Shadow Dance, then, is a further shadowing of the chant, taking Viderunt Omnes as a base, or cantus firmus, and adding newly composed music above, below, and in between phrases of the Pérotin, which is most evident during the first half of the composition. At the midpoint, “the rhythm of the dance changes” and the Pérotin recedes, except for momentary glimpses back in time. Players in the ensemble are asked to sing portions of the original chant, namely the first and the last two words—Viderunt, and justitiam suum. Like the age in which we live, the character of this dance is unstable: by turns ominous, peaceful, celebratory, reflective, frantic, joyful, raucous, anxious, hopeful.
David Dzubay

 

Steven Bryant (b. 1972)

Steven Bryant is an active composer and conductor with a varied catalog, including works for wind ensemble, orchestra, electronic and electro-acoustic creations, chamber music, and music for the web. In 2007, the National Band Association awarded his Radiant Joy the William D. Revelli Composition Award. His first orchestral work, Loose Id for Orchestra, hailed by celebrated composer Samuel Adler as “orchestrated like a virtuoso,” had its première with The Juilliard Symphony. Steven Bryant studied composition with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School, Cindy McTee at the University of North Texas, and Francis McBeth at Ouachita University.

Dusk

A simple, chorale-like work, Dusk captures the reflective calm of the title, paradoxically illuminated by the fiery hues of sunset. I’m always struck by the dual nature of this experience, as if witnessing an event of epic proportions silently occurring in slow motion. Dusk is intended as a short, passionate evocation of this moment of dramatic stillness.
Steven Bryant

 

Roshanne Etezady (b. 1973)

Roshanne Eyezady holds academic degrees from Northwestern University, Yale University and the University of Michigan, and she has worked intensively with numerous composers, including William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Michael Daugherty, and Ned Rorem. As one of the founding members of the Minimum Security Composers Collective, Etezady has helped expand the audience for new music. Etezady’s works have been commissioned by the Albany Symphony, Dartmouth Symphony, eighth blackbird, Music at the Anthology, and the PRISM Saxophone Quartet. She has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. An active teacher, Etezady has taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp, Yale University, Saint Mary’s College, and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

Anahita

In the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol Building in Albany, New York, there are two murals that were completed in 1878 by the New England painter William Morris Hunt. These works are enormous—each mural approaching eighteen feet in length—and together were considered the crowning glory of the artist’s career. One of these murals, The Flight of Night, depicts the magnificent Zoroastrian goddess of the night, Anahita, driving her chariot westward, fleeing from the rising sun. However, if you travel to Albany today, you won’t see The Flight of Night; two years after Hunt completed the giant murals (and only one year after his death), the vaulted ceiling in the Assembly Chamber began to leak. By 1882, The Flight of Night had already been damaged, and by 1888, the ceiling had to be condemned. A “false” ceiling was erected, completely obscuring Hunt’s murals, and today all that remains visible of the mural are the lowest inches of the painting. The bulk of the mural languishes above the false ceiling, succumbing to the time and the elements, deteriorating more with each passing day. This piece of music, Anahita, is inspired by photographs of Hunt’s masterpiece before it was destroyed, as well as by the Persian poem that inspired Hunt himself. The first movement The Flight of Night, is characterized by dramatic, aggressive gestures that are meant to evoke the terrifying beauty of the goddess herself. Movement two, Night Mares, is a scherzo-like movement that refers to the three monstrous horses that pull the chariot across the sky. In the final movement, Sleep and Repose/The Coming of Light, we hear the gentler side of the night, with a tender lullaby that ends with distant trumpets heralding the dawn.
Roshanne Etezady

 

John Mackey (b. 1973)

John Mackey holds a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Corigliano and Donald Erb, respectively. His works have been performed at the Sydney Opera House; Carnegie Hall; the Kennedy Center; Weill Recital Hall; Italy’s Spoleto Festival; Alice Tully Hall; and throughout Italy, Chile, Japan, Colombia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, England, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. John Mackey particularly enjoys writing music for dance and for symphonic winds, and he has focused on those mediums for the past few years. His work, Redline Tango was recorded by the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble in 2005 and received both the Walter Beeler Memorial Composition Prize and the ABA/Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association.

Concerto for Soprano Sax and Wind Ensemble

To me, the saxophone is a kind of hybrid instrument; it is essentially a brass instrument with a woodwind reed on it. Instead of valves like a brass instrument has, the sax has keys like a woodwind. So, I had an instrument made of three materials: felt (the pads of the keys), metal (the body), and wood (the reed). In fact, every instrument in the band can be placed into one of those “categories.” The brass section is made of metal, the harp is made of metal and wood, the wind section has keys, and so on. This realization gave me the central idea for the piece: a multi-movement work with the inner movements called Felt, Metal, and Wood, and with instrumentation chosen essentially to match those materials for each movement. The outer movements would be scored for the entire ensemble. The piece starts with Prelude, a very brief overture to the concerto, with material that foreshadows each of the movements to come. Movement two is Felt. This movement is a study of the keys of the instrument, so it includes lots of runs, lots of pitch bending, and a bit of alternate fingering. The other question—besides “what is a sax made of”—that I wanted to consider when writing the concerto was, “what does a sax do?” Movement 2, “Felt,” answers that question with, “well, the sax can play some weird sounds.” With that pitch bending and crazy fingering, it is a peculiar five minutes. Movement three, Metal, answers that same question with, “the sax can play high and pretty.” This movement, scored primarily for metal percussion and brass, is a calm, lyrical contrast to the weirdness that preceded it. It seemed silly to write a sax concerto and not deal with the fact that the sax is often heard simply playing a song in an intimate setting—say, at a jazz club. Movement four, Wood, is really just that: a simple song. The piece of mine that led to the commission of the sax concerto was a piece called Redline Tango, and specifically, the soprano sax solo that anchors that work. To acknowledge that, this movement, yes, is a tango. Finally we reach the Finale. Here my answer to the question “what does a sax do?” was simply, “well, the sax can play some monster-difficult stuff.”
John Mackey


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