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PROGRAM NOTES   My Lady White    The title, ​My Lady White,​ is a reference to a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer; an elegy for a woman named  Blanche who was his devoted courtly love who he described as “supremely modest, yet easily  approachable, refined, temperate, lighthearted and pious without sternness or coldness.” I call the  three movements of ​My Lady White​ madrigals because they remind me of those brief, intimate,  emotional song forms. The words, ​A Gift of Rings​, from the title of the second piece are the title of a  poem by the modern English poet Robert Graves. Graves also spent his life searching for the ‘White  Goddess’, which is the name of a book that he wrote. ​For Pretty Alison​: Alison is my wife, my best  friend, and in many ways my own ‘Lady White’.    Program Note by David Maslanka        Sonata for Timpani    Sonata for Timpani​ is a three movement work that uses a multitude of extended techniques, such as  striking the drum’s bowls, playing with fingers, and more. The first movement is marked  “Mysteriously” and develops that atmosphere through rolls on two drums at once, sudden tempo  changes, and drums tuned to a fully diminished seventh chord. The second movement is marked  “Jazz-Like,” which is a fork in the road regarding style. Some players interpret this movement to be  swung; some believe that the written rhythms are “jazz-like” and should be played straight.  Notwithstanding, the most engaging aspect of this movement is the passage played with the fingers.  The third movement is simply marked “Fast” and drives through frequently changing meters,  glissandos, and polyrhythmic material.     Program Note by Chandler Skinner        C    C​ is a piece about the expansion of material in a motor-like, additive process. Its anchor and  beginning are the C-octaves, which spin out of the rest of the material in relentless perpetual  motion.    Program Note by Hannah Lash     


One​4  

Near the end of his career, John Cage wrote a collection of works he deemed “Number Pieces,” of which he wrote around 40. The written out number represents the number of players, and the  superscript arabic numeral catalogues the work. ​One​4​ ​is the fourth piece written in the collection for  a single player. It was written in 1990, two years before Cage’s death, “for solo drummer” and  contains the following directions (an example of a time bracket from the work is below as well):    Six  time  brackets  for  the  “left  hand”  and  eight  for  the  “right.”  Bracket  times  are  in  light  face  when  they  overlap  adjacent  brackets.  At  such  points  the  performer  must  find  a  solution  that  accommodates one bracket with the other. Either hand may help  the  other.  Numerals  on  staves  are  cymbals  and/or  drums  chosen  by  the  drummer.  The  sounds  to  be made are either long (a tremolo with individual attacks that are not  noticeable)  or  very  short  (without  resonance,  completely  stopped).  Dynamics  are  free. Only one sound per bracket.    

  Time brackets are a foreign concept to many musicians in today’s world. The sound must begin  between the set of times listed on the left side of the staff, and it must end between the times listed  on the right side of the staff. If the above example were a long sound, one possibility could be  starting at 1’22” and ending at 1’43”. However, if the sound were short, it must occur between the  opening of the ending window and the close of the starting window to properly follow the score,  between 1’30” and 1’35” in our example.     Every performance of this piece is unlike any other because the performer selects both the times  and the sounds. The work was commissioned and dedicated to Fritz Hauser, a Swiss percussionist  and drummer, who was the first to perform the work.    Program Note by Chandler Skinner   

I would like to share my process for preparing this work. I began by playing and evaluating  every sound I believed to fit my fairly wide interpretation of “cymbals and/or drums.” After  cataloging the sounds I liked, I plugged them into the work, attempting to create an eastern  soundscape and some semblance of a form. Most of my choices revolved around the  centerpiece, a Tibetan Singing Bowl. Most times were decided using a random number  generator. Changes have been made up until a few days before the performance. 


Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28   Saint-Saëns was a piano virtuoso of the first order, a musician so naturally gifted that after a recital at  the age of ten, he is reported to have offered to play any of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas as  an encore–from memory. Yet it is true that some of Saint-Saëns’ finest music is for the violin, an  instrument he did not play; apparently his feel for that instrument was instinctive. In addition to the  Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso​, his ​Havanaise ​and ​Third Violin Concerto​ are important parts of the  repertory of every concert violinist. Saint-Saëns wrote both the ​Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso​ and  the concerto for the famous Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate, one of the greatest of the  nineteenth-century violin virtuosos.    The ​Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso ​dates from 1870, when Saint-Saëns was 35. That title is a  mouthful, but it describes the music accurately: a brief introduction gives way to a spirited rondo  much influenced by Spanish melodies and rhythms (hence, capricious). The accompaniment’s  pizzicato chords at the very beginning suggest the sound of the strummed guitar, and over them the  soloist enters with a melody that Saint-Saëns marks “melancholy.” This poised beginning gradually  rushes ahead, and on a series of trills and arabesques the violin sails directly into the rondo section.  The sharply-inflected main theme is one of those perfect violin melodies: powerful, melodic, and full  of fire. The entire rondo is built on this theme, though Saint-Saëns provides some nicely-contrasted  interludes along the way. One of these, marked ​con morbidezza​ (“with softness or gentleness”), is a  lilting, dark melody, and Saint-Saëns quickly has the soloist performing it in complicated  double-stops.    The ​Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso​ is a real virtuoso display piece. Except for a few outbursts, the  accompaniment is limited to simple chordal accompaniment, and the soloist provides all the themes,  the color, and the rhythmic excitement. This is music of enormous difficulty, but it is also written  very idiomatically for the violin, and at the end of the rondo a ​Più allegro​ coda provides a virtuoso  close to a work that will gladden the hearts of audiences (and violinists) for centuries to come.    Program Note by Eric Bromberger   

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