Fall 2004 Concert

Sunday, November 14, 2004, at 4:00pm
at Our Lady’s Chapel on the campus of
the University of the Incarnate Word

a FREE concert by

Composers’ Alliance of San Antonio (CASA)
a concert of music by San Antonio Composers

Works by San Antonio Composers Performed by San Antonio Performers
For more information, click here

~ Program ~

Timothy Kramer: Lux Aeterna
The Trinity Chamber Singers

Michael Twomey: Plank
Martha Fabrique, shakuhachi

Elisenda Fábregas: Winged Serpent  (2001, rev. 2004)
Ilya Shterenberg, clarinet
Elisenda Fábregas, piano

William James Ross: Sonata Lirica
Mark Ackerman, oboe
William James Ross, piano

David Heuser: O The White Towns (2004) [World Premiere]
Michael Burgess, tenor
Geoffrey Waite, piano

Ken Metz: Arachne’s Dream (1989, rev. 2004)
Kellach Waddle, double bass

Charles Goodhue: Proud Parent’s March & Seeking the Lost Child
Madolyn Douglas Fallis, organ

Misook Kim: Three-Song Cycle (2004) [World Premiere]
Debbie Bussineau, soprano
Misook Kim, piano


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 2004 in his year-end list. This the second time in 3 years that a CASA concert has earned this honor (see below).

From the San Antonio Express-News 
Concert Review: Text focus of composers' work

November 19, 2004

Mike Greenberg
Express-News Senior Critic

Texts - witty, sublime, serious and tragic - animated much of the best new music presented Sunday at the third annual concert of the Composers Alliance of San Antonio.

Eight locally based composers were represented, and three of the works were given their first performances - four, if you count a revision of a 2001 piece. The venue was Our Lady's Chapel at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Making the strongest impact was the premiere of David Heuser's "O the White Towns," a closely observed setting of a poem by Olga Cabral, for tenor and piano. Heuser, who teaches at UTSA, had previously set another Cabral poem, "Lillian's Chair," with an apt intimacy. "O the White Towns" presented a different challenge - a cinematic reflection of the era of school desegregation.

Heuser sees parallels between that era and the contemporary political climate, and his setting is fully engaged with the sweep of history and the personal stakes in the poem.

The vocal line, generally placed high, presses ever higher as "a smell of fear, rank as a beast's runs though the crowd" in a town of white picket fences and courthouse bells.

Then, suddenly, the music becomes quiet when the poem identifies "the dreaded enemy: two black children, clean and scrubbed as the new September morning." And there's a calmly resolute power in the music when the children say, "And if they slam the door and lock me out, there's more of me, and more."

Michael Burgess' narrow but very attractive voice suited the music well, and vice versa. Pianist Geoffrey Waite was his dramatically astute partner.

Trinity University faculty member Timothy Kramer's contribution was a radiant, concise choral setting of "Lux Aeterna," with rich modernist harmonies and a backward glance at medieval chant.

The premiere was very nicely sung by the Trinity Chamber Singers directed by Scott MacPherson.

Misook Kim, a bold and unrepentant modernist, set two short Ogden Nash witticisms about shrimp and celery as bookends for a longer Marilyn Nelson consideration of asparagus. Kim's musical idiom seemed, at first blush, at odds with the feeling of the texts, but she found intriguing ways to reflect the moment. Soprano Debbie Bussineau, in rich voice, was joined by the composer on piano.

Michael Twomey's "Plank" is billed as "a theater piece for shakuhachi," the traditional Japanese bamboo flute. The solo performer (the excellent Martha Fabrique) moves theatrically and speaks lines from a poem by Glori Simmons alternating with brief shakuhachi statements that reflect each line's feeling or action.

The music is disciplined, consistently appropriate to the dark cast of the text, and a seamless amalgam of modernist and traditional Japanese sensibilities.

Ken Metz's "Arachne's Dream" translated the Greek myth of a woman's metamorphosis into a spider. The unaccompanied double bass (P. Kellach Waddle) impersonates the spider's industry with melodic lines of wide compass and jazzy rhythmic energy.

The revision was Elisenda Fabregas' "Winged Serpent" for clarinet (Ilya Shterenberg) and piano (the composer). Inspired by a harrowing and bloody Native American myth about the origin of the Milky Way, the piece depicts the ravenous serpent with aptly serpentine clarinet lines punctuated by sinister shakes and turns.

William James Ross' "Sonata Lirica" for oboe (Mark Ackerman) and piano (the composer) is most attractive in its slow (third) movement, which develops from a plaintive oboe solo and reaches a climax in a long series of monstrous chords in the piano's low register before calm is briefly restored.

Charles Goodhue's "Proud Parent's March" and "Seeking the Lost Child" for organ (Madolyn Fallis) were interesting for their stretched-tonal idiom and quirky but unpretentious melodic contours, though they didn't hang together particularly well.

San Antonio Express-News

Year in Review, 2004

Best of classical music

Mike Greenburg

Express-News Senior Critic

The Composers Alliance of San Antonio held to a very high standard in a November concert of locally made music. The idioms were varied, all of them appealing but with gumption. Top marks go to David Heuser’s "O the White Towns," a setting of poet Olga Cabral’s reflection on desegregation in the South, handsomely sung by tenor Michael Burgess.

The Voice of New Music in San Antonio

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