Meadows Wind Ensemble, Amy Briggs Dissanayake & Jack Delaney | Augusta Read Thomas:  Traces and Magneticfireflies

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Augusta Read Thomas: Traces and Magneticfireflies

by Meadows Wind Ensemble, Amy Briggs Dissanayake & Jack Delaney

Thomas music...fairly explodes with an extroverted boldness of utterance audiences and musicians alike find challenging yet immediate. It's music that doesn't sound like anybody else's music that insists you pay attention. -John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Silver Chants the Litanies: In Memoriam Luciano Berio / Mahler
Meadows Wind Ensemble, Jack Delaney, Gregory Hustis, Carol Leone & Regan Smith
12:45 $1.99
2. Dancing Galaxy
Meadows Wind Ensemble & Jack Delaney
10:03 $1.99
3. Traces for Solo Piano: I. Reverie
Amy Briggs Dissanayake
1:31 $0.99
4. Traces for Solo Piano: II. Caprice
Amy Briggs Dissanayake
2:29 $0.99
5. Traces for Solo Piano: III. Tango
Amy Briggs Dissanayake
3:03 $0.99
6. Traces for Solo Piano: IV. Impromptu
Amy Briggs Dissanayake
5:15 $0.99
7. Traces for Solo Piano: V. Toccata
Amy Briggs Dissanayake
2:26 $0.99
8. Ring, Flourish, Blaze!
Meadows Wind Ensemble & Jack Delaney
1:55 $0.99
9. Magneticfireflies
Meadows Wind Ensemble & Jack Delaney
4:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Program notes by Augusta Read Thomas

"Silver Chants the Litanies: in memoriam Luciano Berio/Mahler" was composed on commission for the Meadows Wind Ensemble and is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to conductor Jack Delaney. The work is scored for chamber orchestra and features two prominent piano parts, in addition to solo horn. Written in a single movement form, Silver Chants is marked by virtuosic writing for every member of the ensemble. Composed in memory of Luciano Berio, Silver Chants was inspired by and e.e. cummings poem, "No. 5" of the series "Impressions", from the collection "Tulips", which appears in e.e. cummings "Complete Poems, 1913-1962."

"Dancing Galaxy" opens in the lowest register of the wind ensemble in a timeless, floating, and gradually rising tune, which for a brief moment unfolds an impression of the massive, enduring universe. Steadily this music reaches upward and gains momentum, pushing through majestic, fanfare-like music, until it arrives at a driving, relentless dance. This is Galaxy Dance #1. Punchy, repeated rhythms propel the dance while a counter tune hammers with hard accents against the forceful rhythm. All the while, brass fanfares challenge the flow, always asymmetrically, and with great passion.
Galaxy Dance #2 is also rhythmic in nature and starts in a unison rhythm between the piano and horns, with accents thrown in by the lower instruments in intense, pointed strikes. The motor rhythms are never the same, imparting restless energy.
Galaxy Dance #3 is characterized by a long trumpet solo against which the wind ensemble passionately spins a web of counterpoint. It is worth stating that the core of this composition's soul is found not in the rhythm or harmony, but in counterpoint-not simply in its conventional musical sense as the art of combining melodies, but in a rhetorical sense as the evocation of opposition. Counterpoint, I believe, is much more than a matter of texture or technique-it is music's central metaphor. We hear a brief rise from the lowest registers of the ensemble before Galaxy Dance #4 begins.
Galaxy Dance #4 features the lower instruments and the timpani in a funky, insistent, asymmetrical groove. A coda, in the lowest register of the wind ensemble returns to where the composition began, in an ageless, suspended galaxy. This work is a version of my Galaxy Dances for orchestra and is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Frank Battisti.

"Traces for Solo Piano", composed in 2006, was commissioned by the Montalvo Festival for Lang Lang.

I. Reverie: Like Robert Schumann (The Poet Speaks) crossed with George Crumb
II. Caprice: Like Scarlatti's Baroque Ornamentation crossed with Art Tatum
III. Tango: Like Astor Piazzola crossed with John Coltrane
IV. Impromptu: Like Stravinsky crossed with Chopin and Thelonious Monk
V. Toccata: Like J.S. Bach crossed with BeBop

It is not intended that a pianist would necessarily play all five Traces at once. Rather, one or two Traces might be programmed on a given recital. This is a collection of independent "character pieces," composed, published and recorded as a set.

"Ring, Flourish, Blaze!" was commissioned by Bernard Dobroski, former dean of the School of Music at Northwestern University.

Ring: circle, crown, brotherhood, sisterhood, alliance, chime, peal, echo, reverberate, resound...
Flourish: grow vigorously, prosper, thrive, blossom, develop, embellish, decorate, fanfare, ornament...
Blaze: brightness, flame, dazzle, sparkle, shimmer, flash, mark out a path, to be the first to do, invent, or study something, pioneer, spread news, blow, shine...

"Magneticfireflies" was commissioned by a consortium of high school bands, organized by Gary Stith, then music supervisor for the Williamsville, NY public schools. Dramatic in nature, the work is scored for a full-sized wind ensemble.

Augusta Read Thomas (born in 1964 in Glen Cove, New York) was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 2006. In 2007, her ASTRAL CANTICLE was one of the two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Thomas has also been on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center since 2000, as well as on the boards and advisory boards of several chamber music groups. She was elected Chair of the Board of the American Music Center, a volunteer position that ran from 2005 to 2008.

Ms. Thomas studied composition with Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood (1986, 1987, 1989), Jacob Druckman at Yale University (1988), with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University (1983-1987), and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1989). She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1991-94) and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College (1990-91) — which is now The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University — and taught composition at Tanglewood during the summers of 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Thomas' orchestral works have been performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, the Dallas Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, ORF-Vienna (Austrian Radio Orchestra), Bochumer Symphoniker, the Fort Worth Symphony, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Washington Choral Arts Society, Soli Deo Gloria, the American Composers Orchestra, the Virtuosi Players, the Marin Symphony, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Berkshire Symphony, the Eastman Philharmonia, the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra, the Syracuse Youth Orchestra, the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony, the San Francisco Women's Philharmonic, Boston Civic Orchestra, the Long Beach Symphony, the New York Youth Symphony, the Concord Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony Orchestras, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra (with Gerardo Ribeiro, soloist,), Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, and the Virtuosi Orchestra.

Chamber music works have been performed by the Aspen Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Festival, Chanticleer, Caramoor Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Eroica Trio, the Stony Brook Contemporary Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, the Network for New Music, the Contemporary Chamber Players at the University of Illinois, the Indiana State University Contemporary Ensemble, the Green Umbrella Series, the Syracuse Society for New Music, the Fischer Duo, Heinrich Schiff, Catherine Tait, the Kapell Trio, the Debussy Trio, The Wellesley Composers Conference at the Miller Theater in NY, Trio West, The Lydian String Quartet, Eastman Brass, Jamal Rossi, Laurel Ann Maurer, the Lions Gate Trio, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, John Marcellus, Scott Kluksdahl, Judy Siebert, Laura Frautschi, Bonita Boyd, Nicholas Goluses, the Core Ensemble, the Mendelssohn String Quartet, as well as individual soloists and various university ensembles.



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