Fall 2002 Concert

The Composers Alliance of San Antonio (CASA) announces a concert of new works by local San Antonio composers. The concert will take place on October 6 at 4 PM in Ruth Taylor Recital Hall at Trinity University. The concert is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature premiere performances of works by CASA members William Ross, Ken Metz, and Elisenda Fabregas and performances of earlier works by David Heuser, Timothy Kramer, and Misook Kim. All of the composers will be in attendance.

Performers on the concert include the Olmos Ensemble, flutist Jean Robinson, soprano Rachel Rosales, and others. The program for the concert follows:

Misook Kim (Trinity University and Incarnate Word University)

Seven Little Pieces for Flute and Piano

Ken Metz (San Antonio College and Incarnate Word University)

Brass Quintet PREMIERE

William James Ross (St. Mary’s University and First Unitarian Universalist Church)

Woodwind Quintet PREMIERE by the Olmos Ensemble

Elisenda Fabregas

Five Musings from the Past PREMIERE by Rachel Rosales, soprano

David Heuser (UTSA)

Cúchulainn’s Warp-Spasm (spoken voice, effects and computer music)

Timothy Kramer (Trinity University)

Octet for Winds


Concert Review

Note: Mike Greenburg of the San Antonio Express-News also named this concert one of the year’s best classical concerts in San Antonio for 2002 in his year-end list (see below).

From the San Antonio Express-News

New music delights

Mike Greenburg

Express-News Senior Critic

October 8, 2002

It is a music reviewer's duty to chronicle new music by local composers, but duty became (mostly) pleasure in Sunday's showcase by the Composers Alliance of San Antonio.

All told, this concert in Ruth Taylor Concert Hall was the strongest showing by San Antonio composers in recent — or extended — memory.

The excellent Olmos Ensemble helped William James Ross, chapel master at First Unitarian-Universalist Church, unveil his Woodwind Quintet No. 3.

Attractively neoclassical in style, with consistently lively counterpoint, robust melodies and rich, mildly astringent harmonies, the piece bristles with good ideas, all intelligently developed. The witty finale is especially delightful, but the whole piece is music to please the ears and stimulate the mind.

Also new was Elisenda Fabregas' song cycle "Five Musings From the Past," to the composer's own poems of youthfully tempestuous love and desire. The songs have a distinct Catalonian character — Fabregas is a native of Barcelona, Spain — and hold nothing back in the expression of intense feelings.

Soprano Rachel Rosales, for whom the set was composed, made a very impressive showing both interpretively and vocally, especially in her dark low register, where the soul of these songs resides.

From Ken Metz of the University of the Incarnate Word came five of six movements from "Goretti Elegies" for Brass Quintet, a tribute to the late Sister Maria Goretti-Zehr. The music is conservative, melodic and sincere, with some attractive moments, but excessively verbose.

Misook Kim, also of UIW, made a strong impression with her Seven Little Pieces for Piano and Flute, from 1993, handsomely performed by flutist Jean Robinson and the composer at the piano.

Each of the pieces is terse — measured in seconds rather than minutes — but fully formed and carefully balanced in structure. Some are deliciously playful, some pensive or nervous. An inherent lyricism invites the listener to join Kim's exploration of the boundary between anchored and free tonality.

From David Heuser of UTSA came the harrowing "Cuchalainn's Warp-Spasm," a 2001 piece for live spoken voice, electronic tape and digital effects processors. The spoken text, from a bloody Irish epic, is digitally processed with echo effects and distortion during performance. The speaker, Moumin Quazi, must have been unflappable to get through it.

Technical details aside, the piece is just plain compelling. It fully and effectively conveys the dark, violent, monstrous atmosphere of the text, and it's like nothing you've heard before.

Timothy Kramer of Trinity opened the concert by conducting his exhilarating "Mimetic Variations" for pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons. Rhythmically complex and sometimes eccentric, with roots in Stravinsky's neoclassicism, this music has a wonderful driving energy — a drive with plenty of curves and varied scenery along the way.

San Antonio Express-News

Year in Review, 2002

Best of classical music

Mike Greenburg

Express-News Senior Critic

December 19, 2002

Composers Alliance of San Antonio: An October showcase concert provided one revelation after another, with first-class pieces by William James Ross, Elisendra Fabregas, Misook Kim, Timothy Kramer and David Heuser, whose harrowing "Cuchalainn's Warp-Spasm" for speaker, tape and digital effects indicated a wholly singular musical mind.