Ann Moss | Music for Between Appear and Disappear

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Music for Between Appear and Disappear

by Ann Moss

Soundtrack for Doug Rices' memoir, Between Appear and Disappear, composed and performed by renowned soprano, Ann Moss.
Genre: Classical: Vocal Music
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1. Music for Between Appear and Disappear
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Album Notes
Music for Between Appear and Disappear
Composed and performed by soprano Ann Moss

Field recordings of American River in Lotus, CA by Dave Firenze
Field recordings of Beaver Pond Dam in Lincoln, MA by Ann Moss
Incidental vocal and bass guitar sounds contributed by Liam Wade
Construction and editing assistance from Liam Wade
Sound Design assistance from Matt Schumaker

1. Overture (3.30)
2. Words written on top of words (1.00)
3. Appear (0.31)
4. The Secret Book of Twelve Moments of Being (19.22)
5. Disappear (2.35)

Artist Statement

I met Doug Rice during the summer of 2008 when were both guest artists at CSU Summer Arts in Fresno, CA. Let it be never be said that great things do not begin in Fresno.
When Doug first approached me to set portions of his manuscript Between Appear and Disappear to music, he expressed one desire - to hear his words sung in my voice. At that point, I had had the pleasure of hearing Doug Rice read from his writings on three occasions. Each time I heard him read I found myself wanting for just one thing: I wanted the words to move more slowly. To be elongated. To be chanted.
Doug sent me the text and told me I had total creative freedom to do what I liked. I spent a great deal of time looking for melodies in his manuscript. What I found were whispers, chants, and river sounds. We met and I told him my ideas. I said “I don’t hear songs in this text. I don’t hear instruments. I hear chant and nature. We went to the American River and he showed me where he wrote. He explained the intricacies of constructing The Secret Book of Twelve Moments of Being. He showed me his photographs. And then he let me take it all home with me and create. This is what I came up with.
Music for Between Appear and Disappear is just that. It is music for you to listen to while you spend time with Doug’s book.
There are six movements in this piece. The first three movements progress rather quickly. An overture traces what I imagine to have been Doug’s daily journey to write. Hiking away from the cacophony of the metropolitan world to arrive at the shore of the American River, with its liquid rhythmic lilt. Once there, fragments of text whisper in the listener’s ear and demand that one lean in, listen closely. Words then begin to jumble and tumble, overwriting one another in a sort of creative mania. Maia’s character appears. A love story emerges.
The central movement of this work is The Secret Book of Twelve Moments of Being. In his manuscript, Doug created twelve paragraphs; each constructed of twelve sentences, each containing twelve words. I recorded twelve lines of chant on twelve pitches, one for each story. I then used these recordings to create a sonic collage wherein all twelve stories merge into a single, elongated listening experience. Each line of chant is treated as an individual instrument that appears and disappears throughout the course of the movement. The stories are woven like threads in a tapestry. Stories overlap, repeat, recede and reappear. Chords emerge and shift, creating a sense of polyphony within a fragmented, crystalline structure. Field recordings of the American River permeate the texture at intervals, liquid traces of the essence, neither spoken nor unspoken, that pervades our being.
At the end, the sound of the American River gives over to field recordings of a brook that flows from Beaver Pond in the deciduous woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts where I grew up, eventually emptying into the Charles River. Here, 3000 miles away from where my musical interpretation of Doug’s text began, an improvised, wordless, forlorn chant merges with bird songs and water sounds. The image of Maia and the love story she represents disappear into silence.

This piece was recorded with stereo microphones loaned to me by composer Liam Wade, who also contributed bass guitar and vocal sounds to the Overture and offered a great deal of construction and editing assistance. Dave Firenze made the field recordings of the American River in Lotus, CA. Matt Schumaker at UC Berkeley Center for New Music and Technology offered invaluable help with sound design. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all three of them for making this possible.

Artist Biography
Soprano Ann Moss is an ardent and acclaimed champion of contemporary vocal music who performs and collaborates with a dynamic array of American composers. Her high, silvery, flexible voice has been singled out by Opera News for its "beautifully pure floated high notes" and by San Francisco Classical Voice for its "powerful expression." In addition to working closely with well-known composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, John Harbison, Jake Heggie, Wayne Peterson and Eric Sawyer, Ann seeks out and performs works by new and emerging voices at forums, festivals and concert series across the USA. September 2013 marks the release of her debut CD "Currents," produced by multiple Grammy Award-winner Leslie Ann Jones and recorded at Skywalker Sound, a Lucasfilm, Ltd., company. "Currents" features a dream team of collaborators from the chamber music, new music, and jazz communities performing some of the extraordinary new and recent American vocal/chamber music Ann has championed over the past decade. A native of Boston and a graduate of the Longy School of Music and San Francisco Conservatory, Ann Moss is the co-founder and artistic director of the San Francisco-based group CMASH (Chamber Music Art Song Hybrid). She has been a featured performer with Earplay, Other Minds Festival, Eco Ensemble, Fresno New Music Festival, New Music Works, FENAM, Sanford Dole Ensemble, Composers in Red Sneakers, SF Lyric Opera, Oakland Symphony Chorus, California Bach Society, the Ives String Quartet and the Alexander String Quartet, among others. Ann has served on the faculty of CSU Summer Arts Composer/Performer Collaboration Workshop and has lectured on vocal composition at MIT, UC Berkeley, UT Pan America, Sacramento State, CSU Los Angeles and Cosumnes River College.



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