Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More Music of Our Time

University of Iowa Museum of Art
Friday, April 5, 2002, 7:30 pm



Hommage à W. A. David Gompper
David Gompper,  piano
(for clarinet and tape)
Jerome Summers
Karen Kress,  clarinet
Sonata for Solo Violoncello George Crumb
David Evenchick,  cello
Hard Weather Makes Good Wood
(string quartet and tape)
John Morrison
Alla Cross,  violin I
Julia Liao,  violin II
Charletta Taylor,  viola
David Evenchick,  violoncello


Notes & Bios



Hommage à W. A.

This piano work was written in homage to my teacher at the University of Michigan, William Albright, who died prematurely on 17 September 1998. He and William Bolcom were among those who, in the 1960s and 70s, initiated and supported the revival of ragtime music in the U. S. He was also a brilliant organist and pianist, and a dedicated and talented composer.

All of the musical material was generated from the last letters in his name.


While the work is in three main sections, the middle contains my dream of the type of rag Albright was fond of composing and performing.  D.K.G.

David Gompper (b. 1954), who grew up in New York and San Diego, lived in London (where he studied with Jeremy Dale Roberts, Humphrey Searle and Phyllis Sellick), Nigeria, Michigan, Texas and is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Iowa. His works are performed throughout the U.S. and abroad. He premiered his piano solo piece  Hommage à W. A. at the Wigmore Hall in London last October. His most recent work,  Kuta Muela (Old Stick), based on a Yaqui Indian tune, was premiered last fall at Arizona State University and performed again at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. He is working on a large work for chorus and orchestra.


Extensions (for clarinet and tape)

Extensions is a through-composed work and as the title suggests, the entire piece is an extension of the opening measures both through electronic alteration and motivic development. In effect, the music unfolds and extends both structurally and sonically. All of the prerecorded sonorities originate from the clarinet. The work has enjoyed widespread performance throughout North America and Europe.

Jerome Summers enjoys a distinguished career as a conductor, clarinetist, composer and teacher. A native of British Columbia, he studied with Luigi Zanninelli, and Cortland Hultberg. His works have been performed by many of Canada's major orchestras, choirs and ensembles and most recently, he was commissioned by Scranton University to compose works for band and choir. Of his works Extensions is one of only two which utilize prerecorded sonorities. He is currently on faculty at The University of Western Ontario and music director of orchestras in Toronto Canada and Port Huron Michigan.


Sonata for Solo Violoncello

This piece was written in 1955 while Crumb was studying with Boris Blacher at the Hochschule füaut;r Musik in Berlin. It is the Composer's earliest published work.

Bitonality, usually expressed as two chords a third apart, provide the germ idea for much of this work. The first movement is cast in a sonata type form, featuring octatonic and whole tone scale fragments. In the second movement, a piquant  Sicilienne-like theme is presented, followed by three variations and a truncated reprise of the theme. The Toccata sums up many of the ideas developed in the first two movements with a short introduction followed by a rapid moto perpetuo which lays the bitonal idea out linearly.

While this is an early work, one can hear the composer's emerging gift of parody which marks the style of later works. There are many Hungarian rhythmic figures in the first two movements which are thought to pay hommage to Kodaly's monumental  Sonata for Solo Cello op. 8 (1915), and there is a quasi fugal section in the Toccata which bears some resemblance to the fugue subject in the Prelude of Bach's Fifth Suite. Crumb dedicated his Cello Sonata to his mother.

David Evenchick


Hard Weather Makes Good Wood

Composed during a time of intense personal struggle, the work carries a complex set of relationships between recorded material and the string quartet. There is a simple side to the evolving relations, however: the string quartet is three times overwhelmed by the tape. Each massive area is approached differently, and each triggers a different reaction from the quartet. In the passages separating the assaultive sections, the tape carries a rich, undulating harmonic progression. That music serves to soothe and regenerate the spirit of the ensemble, which is in a long-range struggle to re-establish its initial laid-back-but-high-energy, groove-oriented identity. The more complex level of relationships has to do with affinities demonstrated both between instruments and between particular instruments and the taped sounds. The overall shape of the music should be easy to follow; investing attention toward the interaction of tape and quartet, both on a sonic (i.e., the way the sounds themselves blend) and kinetic (i.e., the manner of articulation and overall vigor) level will hopefully reward the listener with deeper understanding of the music. An important fact about the tape part is that every sound there was first produced on the violin. The title refers to the fact that hard weather with scant rainfall produces wood with tight growth rings, wood which is resilient and can endure tough conditions. The emotional profile of the piece, then, is hopeful, a sort of seasoned optimism available to those who endure hardship. Since I got the advice (repeatedly!) from my father, Bill Morrison, and since I hope that my son, Ezra Morrison, will learn to survive through hard times, I dedicate the music to them.

John Morrison comes from rural North Carolina. A lifelong interest in sound has led to a compositional style in which sound itself is the focus. Influences ranging from the Grateful Dead to bluegrass to experimental twentieth-century music merge in varied ways, depending on the forces for which a particular piece is written. John currently teaches at Cleveland State University, and has taught at Luther College, Tennessee State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Tennessee, and Case Western Reserve University. He has been commissioned to compose music by the Intergalactic (formerly Minnesota) Contemporary Ensemble, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Detroit Chamber Winds, Davidson College, and an assortment of individuals. Residencies have occurred at The MacDowell Colony, June in Buffalo, The Schweitzer Institute (Festival at Sandpoint), and the Ives Center for American Music.