Spring 2006 Concert

Sunday, April 30, 2006 at 2:00 PM in the Leeper Auditorium at
The Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum

(6000 North New Braunfels, San Antonio; 210-824-5368)

Hear MP3 audio clips of two of the works on this concert.

Click here to hear the end of David Heuser's string quartet Small Blue Marble

Click here to hear the beginning of Timothy Kramer's cello solo, with electronics, Vanishing Perspectives

~ Program ~

Charles Goodhue (b. 1932)
Honanki Dances (2006) World Premiere

Mary Ellen Goree, Amy Venticinque, violins
Allyson Dawkins, viola
Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

Juan Luis de Pablo Enríquez Rohen (b. 1971)
Orbital Mechanics (2006) World Premiere
(in three movements)

Tal Perkes, flute
Juan Luis de Pablo Enríquez Rohen, guitar
Allyson Dawkins, viola

Ken Metz (b. 1954)
785 (Jihad) (2005)

Tal Perkes, flute
Mary Ellen Goree, Amy Venticinque, violins
Allyson Dawkins, viola
Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

Timothy Kramer (b. 1959)
Vanishing Perspectives (2005)
for cello and electronics

Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

Misook Kim (1963)
Trio for Flute, Violin and Cello (2006) World Premiere

Tal Perkes, flute
Mary Ellen Goree, violin
Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

David Heuser (b. 1966)
Small Blue Marble (2004)

Mary Ellen Goree, Amy Venticinque, violins
Allyson Dawkins, viola
Marilyn de Oliveira, cello


Honanki Dances
Honanki Dances was composed after a fantasy brought on by a visit to the cliff dweller ruins north of Sedona. My concept of the piece is that of a ceremonial dance performed by an ancient tribe (the Honanki) of Native Americans that lived north of Sedona around 1000 AD. They were part of an extensive cliff dweller community that existed in the region for thousands of years---mainly agricultural. I was there in late November, so I was thinking of a harvest festival, thanksgiving, and a religious celebration. I was not trying for authentic music, just my take on the vision of a ceremonial Dance in terms of the music language that I know, and how a dance might be for these people. I think of my piece as a tribute to the memory of these ancient people, but there is no pretense of authenticity. The first and last parts are a step dance performed in a circle by colorfully dressed men. The women are dressed in long robe-like gowns of white or neutral hue. They form a line or semi-circle, swaying and singing. From time to time the men and women cry out and shout. The middle section is performed by the women. It is a stately, swayingly sensual dance. The men, of course, are entranced and inspired to dance even better in the final section, and they convince the women to join them. The dancers are rather youthful. The audience is made up of elders, children, parents, and various leader types.

Orbital Mechanics
Orbital Mechanics is an experiment. It is a trio for flute, viola and guitar, a monologue embraced by a dialogue between two sequential strings of notes, with a resemblance to our Solar system, its planets and neighbor stars, and a voice that remains in the search of truth, goodness and beauty. There are two particular sequential strings of notes - ‘musical rows of intervals’ – which accord with research on the ‘music of the spheres’ and in parallel with “guitar-istic” intuition.

Orbital Mechanics is a small product of fourteen years of experimentation with music composition around ‘the spheres’ and one of many experiments on the characters involved. Much literature has inspired this research and has given me the opportunity to find a clear motive and voice as an artist. It is my intention, as a composer, to test here a way to ‘put into orbit’ this interest, much like modern satellites are sent into orbit. I hope you enjoy what has been a very interesting way of expressing music. Thank you for listening to new music. It is one important aspect in the creation and development of human kind.

785 (Jihad)
The piece concerns the tragic London subway and bus bombings last summer. As a composer I was unable to make a musical response to 911, but somehow I felt moved to compose music reflecting the feelings that London evoked in my soul recalling my experience with the Muslim world that I had there as a child. The music is in three sections, the first being Mothers’ Lament reflecting the anguish of the mothers from both sides of this conflict. The second section is the Striking in which the ones we consider terrorists view themselves as heroes or martyrs, the third section, Shalom, is for those wishing that there can be peace, but seeing the endless hatred that will continue to fuel the schism between the two worlds. The music makes use of the word, jihad as a basis for letter-class derivation of motivic material, or, if you will, the motive of the motives. I dedicate this music to the victims and to those working for a resolution to the age old struggle.

Vanishing Perspectives
Vanishing Perspectives was commissioned by cellist Craig Hultgren in 2003 and premiered in 2005. After considering many of the new innovations and new works written for solo cello, I realized that I wanted to write a piece that would readdress the cello’s more traditional role as a robust and singing baritone instrument. I thought that that perspective was vanishing in much of the new music I was seeing, especially for an instrument that is tuned in fifths, often plays bass lines, and has such a strong tradition of playing tonal music. This work is also built on fragments of an earlier piece of mine (Cycles and Myths) and uses the idea of the half-step fall as a strong tonal force that shapes both small and large scale motion. The amplification and reverberation help add a spatial dimension to the vanishing sounds and gestures.

Trio for Flute, Violin & Violoncello
Trio for Flute, Violin & Violoncello is initially designed for traditional piano trio because of intensive and equally balanced dialogue among three instruments. After expressing the attractive characters of each instrument as almost like a monologue, I tried to combine persistent rhythmic and thematic motives with convincing structure. The last section develops and extends the repetitive dotted rhythm and minor 6th into dense harmonies of the augmented triads with double stops in string parts.

Small Blue Marble
The initial inspirations for Small Blue Marble were a picture and a dream. The picture is the famous image of the Earth as seen from the moon by the Apollo astronauts, an image of a small planet hanging vulnerably in the darkness of space. The work begins with this image, with a cold, sustained chord of outer space, but at its core, the piece is a travelogue for the planet inspired by a dream of flying toward the Earth, entering its atmosphere (the first rhythm of the piece – the breath of life), and proceeding around the globe, flying fast over land, maybe 50 feet off the ground, fields and mountains and all, plunging into the sea, crossing one ocean, coming back again to land on the other side of the globe, picking up more speed, and finally coming back to water, but this time falling slowly into the ocean’s deepest depths. Here, at the end, in another world without air, the opening music returns to draw the parallel between deep space and the deep sea. We live on a cracker between these two inhospitable worlds, an even more fragile situation than the picture which inspired this piece presents.


Concert Review: S.A.'s Composers Alliance treats audience to new chamber works

Mike Greenberg
San Antonio Express-News Senior Critic

The Composers Alliance of San Antonio welcomed one intriguing new voice and bade farewell to another in a concert Sunday at the McNay Art Museum.

In all, six locally based composers were represented by chamber works, four of which were being heard for the first time.

For the past four years Misook Kim has been one of the brightest and most challenging lights among composers working in San Antonio. Each of her works presented thus far has impressed with its fearless modernism, its concision and its strong individual profile.

Her new Trio for Flute, Violin and Cello continues the pattern. It is essentially a conversation in which each player states a sinuous solo melody while one or both of the others play a long sustained note that suggests intent listening.

After the discussion has continued like this for a while, the solo ideas deepening or mutating along the way, the three briefly speak all at once, with wonderful contrapuntal results. The piece was very nicely played by flutist Tallon Perkes, violinist Mary Ellen Goree and cellist Marilyn de Oliveira.

A native of Korea, Kim teaches at the University of the Incarnate Word and Trinity University, but she is preparing to move to Chicago this summer. Too bad for us.

The newcomer to these concerts is Mexico City native Juan Luis de Pablo Enriquez Rohen.

His new "Orbital Mechanics" for flute, viola and guitar is modernist in vocabulary and procedure, but Spanish guitar atmospherics and hints of Latin American dance rhythms are part of the mix. It's an attractive piece, well played by the composer on guitar with Perkes and violist Allyson Dawkins.

Also newly minted was Ken Metz's "785 (Jihad)" for flute and string quartet, a deeply felt and well-made response to last summer's subway bombings in London. Its opening "Mother's Lament," a sort of lullaby with an achingly dissonant but essentially tonal halo, is especially lovely.

Metz teaches at UIW. Violinist Amy Venticinque joined Perkes and the aforementioned string players.

Charles Goodhue's new "Honanki Dances" for string quartet has a lyrical middle, reminiscent of Samuel Barber, flanked by sauntering, rhythmically active outer sections. Goodhue is a second-career composer, retired from work in the sciences.

Two works were gently used, dating from 2005 and 2004.

Trinity University composer Timothy Kramer's "Vanishing Perspectives," for electronically enhanced cello solo (de Oliveira), is a tautly disciplined, beautifully worked-out piece whose germinal idea is a falling half-step interval.

UTSA's David Heuser describes his "Small Blue Marble" (2004) for string quartet as "a travelogue for the planet." Restless, craggy music in the Bartok line alternates with gently lyrical sections to portray this humane work's imaginary circling of the globe.

The Voice of New Music in San Antonio

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