Frank Oteri

Frank Oteri

Anne LeBaron

Anne LeBaron

Roger Zahab

Roger Zahab

Tom Cipullo

Tom Cipullo

Concert #3

Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy, New York, NY

Songs for Voices and Chamber Ensemble

Songs for Voice and Piano

  1. No Fame, No Trace — Gilda Lyons (Khayyam) 
  2. Swan’s Elegy — Tom Cipullo (Manrique)
  3. Keeping Things Whole — Russell Platt (Strand)
  4. Some Thoughts — Anne LeBaron (Crawford)
  5. Acrostic Song — David Del Tredici (Carroll)
  6. Emily's Aria, from Our Town*  — Ned Rorem (McClatchy/Wilder) 

Gilda Lyons, soprano | Daron Hagen, piano

Intimate Lines (1997) — Roger Zahab (Walt Whitman)

Robert Frankenberry, tenor | Roger Zahab, violin

as long as forever is (2003) — Frank J. Oteri (Dylan Thomas)

  1. Process
  2. Here
  3. Time
  4. Still
  5. The Natural Doorway

Gilda Lyons, soprano | Robert Frankenberry, tenor | Daphna Mor, alto recorder | Jorge Taylor, alto recorder | Martha Bixler, crumhorn | Judith Davidoff, viola de gamba | Roger Zahab, handbells 

Daron Hagen, conductor

* = first public performance


PROGRAM NOTES

Songs for Voice and Piano This year, my Christmas gift to myself was to compile a set of songs for voice and piano that Gilda and I might perform together, comprised of works by some of our good composer friends. Included in this twenty-five-minute-long set is something from our own home (a world premiere of a new song by Gilda), favorites by celebrated composers of song (Tom and Russell), two of my own arrangements of much-loved works for voice (by Anne and David), and one very special sneak-peak (Emily’s aria from Ned’s Our Town, which receives its staged premiere in Indiana in a few months). We offer each piece as a holiday gift to these composers, while we offer the set as a whole as a gift to our audience with whom we look forward to sharing each composer’s distinct and deeply musical voice this evening.  — Daron Hagen

Intimate Lines These settings of short poems by Walt Whitman were made between August 17 and December 6, 1997 after my partner Robert Frankenberry asked for something to perform with me on his Master's Recital at Carnegie Mellon University (which we did on May 3, 1998). I chose a few poems from his list of favorites and found some others to create a song cycle that spans the regions of love, life and spirituality. The opening invocation dedicates the work to all hearers; the next resonates in me — both in the contrast between mother/ child closeness and the solitary poet contemplating the stars — the Transcendental sense of the interconnectedness of all life; next come a pair of songs about being "a pair" which then leads to a contemplation of the self. The concluding song acts as an envoi, the poet singing again of the "Base of All Metaphysics" and what is for me the best justification for creative acts and living: the love of one for another.  — Roger Zahab

as long as forever is Urban legend has it that on the night of November 4, 1953, exactly 50 years before I completed as long as forever is, Dylan Thomas walked into the White Horse Tavern in New York's Greenwich Village at around 2 A.M. Depending on whose account, he either ordered 17, 18, or 19 Irish whiskeys. It was his final public appearance. The 1880 Saloon, which still stands, has a room dedicated to his memory where I sometimes drink a few whiskeys in his honor (never double digits!). 

.The ambiguous quantity of Thomas's alcohol consumption that fateful night determined rhythms I chose. "Here" contains 19 beats per measure. "Time" has 18, and "Still" has 17. "Process" overlaps cycles of 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 beats, creating a completely ambiguous sense of time, while the juxtaposition of 4 and 5 beat cycles in "The Natural Doorway" ultimately yields a cycle of 20, the whiskey he definitely never drank. 

One of Thomas's drinking buddies at the White Horse was Noah Greenberg, founder of the New York Pro Musica, who essentially launched the early music movement in America. So it seemed appropriate to counterbalance the whiskey-inspired rhythmic complexity with melodies and harmonies formed from simple medieval modes. The singers are also by an early music ensemble, which tonight features two musicians who had performed with Greenberg. (The composer would like to thank Elizabeth Guiher for the crumhorn which partially inspired these timbral explorations.)  — Frank J. Oteri