Fall 2006 Concert

Join us on
Saturday, November 18 at 7:30pm at
Trinity University's
Ruth Taylor Recital Hall, San Antonio, Texas

The concert is free and open to the public

~ Program ~

S. Beth May
Dreamsong
Tallon Sterling Perkes, flute

Timothy Kramer
Colors from a Changing Sky
Kristin Roach, piano

Elisenda Fábregas
Sonata for Flute and Piano
Tallon Sterling Perkes, flute
Kristin Roach, piano

Charles Goodhue
Bouquet (Three Piano Pieces on Flowers by Van Gogh) (World Premiere)
Teresa Stallworth, piano

William James Ross
Beautiful Dreamer: Reverie on a Serenade by Stephen Foster
Mark Ackerman, oboe
William James Ross, piano

David Heuser
Deep Blue Spiral for alto saxophone and tape
Todd Oxford, saxophone


PROGRAM NOTES

Dreamsong
Flute Solo

Dreamsong was composed during a period of time when I was living in Namibia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and was originally composed for the flautist Denise Deter. It was premiered in London in 2000. The piece focuses on a combination of musical ideas and the sounds that I heard as I sat for many hours in my cement block house in rural Africa.

Colors from a Changing Sky
Piano Solo (1994)

This work was commissioned as a competition piece for the 1994 San Antonio International Piano Competition. Inspired by the vivid images of a Texas sky, this piece began under the working title Etude Gris (Grey Etude). I was initially interested in how black and white keys could interlock to generate passages that would sound difficult but were very pianistic and fairly easy to play. I was also interested in designing a competition piece that would challenge each pianist with different aspects of playing. Hence, the opening section presents questions about phrasing and quick dynamic contrasts, the central section demands sheer athletic strength, and the closing passage calls for a sensitivity to both color and line. In order to tie the sections together, a melodic “spine” runs throughout the piece. Initially present in two and three note cells, it expands in the central section to five notes and eventually blooms against slow harmonic motion in the ending. Seemingly disparate elements soon coalesce into and overwhelming force and then slowly dissipate, a drama often played our in the sudden changes of weather.

Sonata for flute & piano
(1995)

Sonata for flute & piano was commissioned by Tallon Sterling Perkes, principal flutist of the San Antonio Symphony, who performed it at the 1996 National Flute Association in New York. Prior to that the first movement was performed in Beijing, China, in 1995 and it is published in France by Alphonse Leduc & Cie.

“This is a major work in four movements and fifteen minutes’ duration requiring careful study and precise coordination between flute and piano. The first movement, Allegro, features rapid, energetic tonguing on the flute, punctuated by slightly acidic harmonies from the piano. A haunting, rather mournful melody, characterized by descending minor second intervals, glides through the second movement (Largo). The playful Scherzo, the third movement, is like a rhythmic game of tag dancing between piano and flute. And the finale, Allegro molto con brio, is an athletic “tour de force” for both flutist and pianist. Rapid triplets permeate the movement, ending the work with a flourish.” Martha Rearick, Tampa, Florida. American Music Teacher. ©2004 Music Teachers National Association, Inc.

Deep Blue Spiral
Alto saxophone and tape (1998)

Unlike most of my pieces, work on Deep Blue Spiral was spread out over a rather long time - more than a year. During much of that time I was not directly working on the piece, but, from time to time, I would return to it and begin to think about it again. The final push came in the Summer of 1998 when the tape part when finished at the University of Texas at San Antonio's Electronic Music Studio.


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 2006 in his year-end list (see below).

San Antonio Express-News
Composers Alliance deftly re-creates works

11/25/2006
Mike Greenberg
Express-News Senior Critic

The greatest pleasures in last Saturday's concert by the Composers Alliance of San Antonio, in Ruth Taylor Recital Hall, were superb reconsiderations of works first heard in the 1990s.

David Heuser's "Deep Blue Spiral" for alto sax and electronic tape is a jazzy, nervous, high-energy piece in which the solo line is beautifully integrated with the electronics. It would make a great ballet score.

The piece had made a splendid impression in a 1999 concert, but Todd Oxford's crisp, convicted, virtuosic performance on Saturday brought it into even finer focus. Formerly with the famed Pittel Saxophone Quartet, Oxford now teaches at Texas State University.

Timothy Kramer wrote his "Colors for a Changing Sky," a sort of tone poem that evokes a storm, for the 1994 San Antonio International Piano Competition.

Pianist Kristin Roach's splendid timing and snappy execution made the rain sting and the hail cut. Her clear sense of direction fully revealed the composer's meticulous craft.

Flutist Tallon Sterling Perkes made an excellent case for Elisenda Fábregas' concise, rhythmically active Sonata for Flute and Piano (with Roach) and S. Beth May's spare "Dreamsong," an attractive mix of traditional and alternative techniques — stage-whispering across the mouthpiece — on a modal scale.

Two works had first hearings on Saturday.

In "Beautiful Dreamer: A Reverie on a Serenade by Stephen Foster," William James Ross first wove the familiar melody, played on oboe by Mark Ackerman, through a serpentine wraith of chromatic scales on piano (Ross), then drew the oboe line into the ghostly field, subtly stretched the meter and brought the piece to a mysterious close.

Ross' contributions gave a new context to the Foster song while treating it with respect, and the structure was admirably efficient.

Charles Goodhue, who turned to composition after a career in the life sciences, was represented by "Bouquet: Three Piano Pieces on Flowers by Van Gogh."

The idiom is tonal, spiked by some nice harmonic color, though all three pieces wanted editing and a clearer structure.

The promised projection of Van Gogh paintings misfired, but the pianist, Terresa Stallworth, had the foresight to wear a floral-print skirt and carry a bouquet with her onstage.

San Antonio Express-News
The Best of 2006 — Classical music
Mike Greenburg
Express-News Senior Critic
December 30, 2006

Composers Alliance of San Antonio, Nov. 18: An excellent showcase for varied locally based composers culminated in David Heuser's jazzy, nervous, high-energy "Deep Blue Spiral" for alto sax and electronic sounds, with Todd Oxford the superb, inspired soloist.