Program Notes

March 14, 2005
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Forum

Silenciosamente (1990)
Two contrasting moods form the basis of this work: one quiet and reflective, the other nervous and energetic. The violin leads the espressivo voice; the piano is the primary vehicle for the more active music as it attempts to dominate the texture; the clarinet acts as a mediator. Toward the end of the piece, a final outburst of energy succumbs to the returning pedal tone (low C played by the piano), around which the last third of the piece is largely formed. Silenciosamente was premiered by Earplay in 1992. --Gustavo Moretto

Gustavo Moretto was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he initiated his music career as a trumpet player, and later, formed a jazz-rock group called Alas, for which he composed all the material and played electronic keyboards. Mr. Moretto toured extensively through Argentina and Chile and recorded six L.P.'s (for RCA and EMI), and worked as a studio sessionist and guest performer with many prominent musicians in Argentina. In 1979 Mr. Moretto came to the United States, where he pursued formal training in composition. He holds a B.M. from the New England Conservatory and a D. M. A. from Columbia University. Mr. Moretto is presently a professor in the instrumental program at LaGuardia Community College.

Pourtinade (1983)
Pourtinade is a collage of condensed statements, each a separate entity but related to one another stylistically and structurally. The order of the five main sections and four transition segments is left to the decision of the performers. The score suggests alternating main and transitional sections, and sections can be repeated. In Pourtinade the instrumentalists have more than interpretive freedom; they are given control over the dramatic flow of the piece. The message changes according to the juxtaposition of the abstract imagery.

The movements are entitled: Gerbe (bunch or spray); La Meute ( the pack of wolves); Ressac-Rompu ( broken undertow); L'abandon Etroit (narrow abandon); Bruine-Derision (sarcastic drizzle); Tirade De Pioche (pick's tirade); Pacte (the deal); Nomade (nomad); Le Massacre - Outil (massacre as a tool) Pourtinade ,commissioned by Tina Pelikan, violist, is also recorded on the ECM Label performed by Kim Kashkashian on viola and Robyn Schulkowsky on percussion.

Linda Bouchard has composed over 50 works in a variety of genres, from orchestral and chamber works to dance scores, concerti, and vocal pieces. Her works have been heard extensively on both sides of the Atlantic and have been recorded by the CBC and Analekta in Canada, ECM in Germany, and CRI in the U.S. A full compact disc of orchestral works, Exquisite Fires, was released in 1998 on the Canadian label Marquis Classics. Her works have won four SOCAN awards in Canada and her honors in the US include first prizes in the Princeton Composition Contest, the Indiana State Competition, and the National Association of Composers USA Contest. Bouchard received the Prix Opus as "Composer of the Year" by the Conseil Quebecois de la Culture and she won the Joseph-S.Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts for her outstanding contributions in music (1997). Originally from Canada, Ms. Bouchard has resided in San Francisco for several years teaching and composing. --Linda Bouchard

To a Traveler (1971)
To a Traveler, for clarinet, violin, and piano, takes its title from Kenneth Rexroth’s translation of an allegorical poem by Su Tung Po. The poem suggests the passage of time and the departure of a friend. Although fashioned in one continuous movement, three main sections (slow fast slow) are clearly perceptible. Toward the end of the first section, the violin leads the piece to a passionate climax, only to disappear. The ensuing return of the lyrical opening materials is made more poignant by the violin’s sudden absence. Indeed, this was intended to represent the departed traveler, Norman Fromm, to whose memory the work is dedicated.

Andrew Imbrie has composed works for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensemble, and stage, and his music has been praised for its profound integrity, ardent expression, and an intense drive and conviction. The first of his five string quartets, written while at Princeton, won the New York Music Critics' Circle Award in 1944. Other commissions include works for the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Halle Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, the Naumburg Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Pro Arte Quartet. His awards include the Prix de Rome, two Guggenheim Fellowships, The Walter M. Naumburg Recording Award, and membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Stigmata (2004)
(From Merriam-Webster Dictionary): Stigmata - 2 a stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy. A question once posed by a painter—“Which is harder: painting a person who is fully clothed, or painting a nude?”—made me ponder on the difficulties a composer confronts when writing for a solo instrument. For unlike an orchestra or a chamber ensemble, a soloist is limited in sound and texture. Thus, what is lost in volume and density must be compensated by the degree of musical expression. This issue became somewhat of an obsession for me when I began writing this piece. And because I was writing for a particular performer(cello virtuoso Jakub Omsky), I made it my goal to write something that would allow him to convey his personal thoughts and emotions. This was a new challenge for me: to compose a work that would expose the performer’s soul! So daunting this task was that I ended up making four re-writes before I was satisfied with the ideas I wanted to work with. In the end, the piece became a reflective work that drifts through moments of loneliness and desolation. Various pitch-bend techniques are organically built into the thematic material to convey expressive gestures (analogous to sighs, wails, etc). The piece concludes with a prayer-like section.

Vincent Chee-Yung Ho is a Canadian composer of orchestral, chamber and piano works that have been successfully performed in both North America and abroad. He is currently pursuing his DMA at the University of Southern California under the supervision of Stephen Hartke. His works have been performed by The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Arraymusic, The Arditti Quartet, The Composer’s Quartet, and the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble and have been featured at various festivals, including The Winnipeg New Music Festival, Festival of the Sound, The Markham Music Festival, The Massey Hall New Music Festival, The Strings of the Future, and The MATA New Music Festival. His many awards have included the Morton Gould Young Composer Award (ASCAP, 2004), four SOCAN Young Composers awards (Second Prize, 1999; Third Prize, 2001; two Second Prizes, 2004), and the Audience Prize from the Toronto New Music Festival (1999); he has also received prizes from the Strings of the Future and the PEEL Music festivals (both 1999).

Hamlet’s Mill (2005)
My new composition for the Earplay Ensemble began with an image of the night sky. The title is taken from a book by von Descend and Santillana, about the relation between myth and the heavens. To indigenous peoples around the earth, stellar constellations revolving in complex cycles were understood as a kind of "memory theater" and appear in stories involving every part of their lives. My piece draws on their metaphor of the bright sky whirling and turning in space. All of my recent work deals with issues of musical resonance; this piece uses amplification to heighten it. The piano part is a sort of scaffolding underpinning much of the music, and the percussion plays mostly drums and resonating cymbals and tam-tams. Solos for the flute, violin, cello, and bass clarinet are processed using a long reverberation. This composition was written for the Earplay Ensemble and made possible by a grant from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard. -- Cindy Cox

Cindy Cox has held fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the MacDowell Colony, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. She has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Foundation, ASCAP Grants to Young Composers, and the International Competition for Women Composers. Her newly released compact disc on the CRI label features Geode, commissioned and recorded by EARPLAY. Cindy Cox is presently an Associate Professor at UC Berkeley and is considered one of the leading composers of her generation. Her music is widely respected for its intelligence, complexity, fluency, and for the numinous sensibility it emanates.