It’s remotely conceivable that you’re sitting around with nothing to do, and in case you’re in that enviable position, I have two hours’ worth of new recordings of my music up to entertain you. Most consequentially, my Ezra Pound song cycle ProenÃ§a (2015) received its official premiere Saturday night in Kansas City; Michelle Allen McIntire and her ProenÃ§a Band will recap the piece at Bard College next Wednesday, March 2, at 8 in Bito Conservatory Building.
Of six songs in the cycle, “Na Audiart” and “Near Perigord” are settings of Pound poems about Bertan de Born, the 12th-century warrior/poet; “L’aura amara” and the Alba are settings of Pound’s translations of troubadour poetry; and the other two are settings in ProvenÃ§al of original troubadour poems. You can read the lengthy program notes if you want texts and background, and here are the recordings from the premiere:
[UPDATE: I have just (March 3) replaced the Kansas City recording of Near Perigord with a much tighter March 2 performance from Bard College.]
Michelle Allen McIntire did a beautiful job singing them, and she was backed by Virginia Backman on flute, Jennifer Lacy on electric piano, Jennifer Wagner on vibes, and Brian Padavic, bass. As you can tell, they did a ton of rehearsal.
The previous weekend two of my works were premiered at Illinois Wesleyan University. Nancy Pounds and William West finally played my Implausible Sketches for piano duo, four of whose movements were written in 2006, and the second one in 2011:
The remaining project is almost more historical and literary than compositional: my settings of poems by the American Transcendentalists, Transcendentalist Songs (2014). Of these, Ingrid Kammin sang “Enosis,” “To the Face Seen in the Moon,” and “I Slept and Dreamed,” accompanied by Larisa Chasunov; Robert Mangialardi sang “The Rhodora,” “The Columbine,” and “Questionings,” with composer David Vayo on piano, also the symposium director who had invited me; while tenor William Hudson, with pianist Kent Cook, performed “In the Busy Streets,” “Indeed, Indeed I Cannot Tell,” and “The Garden.” “In the Busy Streets” and “I Slept and Dreamed” were written in the 20th century, and I include them as a kind of appendix. “Enosis” and “Questionings” are rather the grand philosophical statements, while “The Garden” is perhaps the most conventional thing I’ve ever written, and everyone seems to love it. “To the Face Seen in the Moon” is the torch song I thought history has owed poor Margaret Fuller. The piece can be seen as an expression of regret that there was no American composer in the 1840s as musically adventurous as the Transcendentalists were spiritually adventurous.
Enosis (Christopher Pearse Cranch)
To the Face Seen in the Moon (Margaret Fuller)
The Rhodora (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
In the Busy Streets (Henry David Thoreau)
The Columbine (Jones Very)
Indeed, Indeed I Cannot Tell (Henry David Thoreau)
I Slept and Dreamed that Life Was Beauty (Ellen Sturgis Hooper)
The Garden (Christopher Pearse Cranch)
Questionings (The Idealist) (Frederic Henry Hedge)
I am deeply gratified by all the time and attention. There’s nothing so inspiring to new composition as having some of one’s unplayed works go public at last.