Still Life: New music for oboe, oboe d’amore & English horn

My new CD is now available through Etsy.  I hope you enjoy it!  Digital downloads will be available on CD Baby soon.  Stay tuned.

Meet the players!

Margaret Marco, oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn,

Sarah Tannehill Anderson, soprano,

Annie Gnojek, flute,

Ellen Sommer, piano,

Jason Slote, percussion, electronics and audio engineer,

Still Life. New music for oboe, oboe d’amore & English horn

Works by  Bryan Kip Haaheim,  Juliana Hall, Bonnie McLarty,  Forrest Pierce & Ingrid Stölzel

1, Still Life (2018) 8:54   Bonnie McLarty (b. 1983)

Sarah Tannehill Anderson, soprano; Annie Gnojek, flute; Ellen Sommer, piano

2.-6. A Certain Tune for solo English horn (2008) Juliana Hall (b. 1958)
I.  Beautiful, Proud Sea 1:39
II. The Tune 1:50
III. Lines 2:01
IV. Grace Before Sleep 2:23
V. There Will Be Rest 3:04

7. For the Time Being (2011) 6:45. Ingrid Stölzel (b. 1971) Annie Gnojek, flute; Ellen Sommer, piano

8. Cathedral Grove for solo oboe (2014) 6:49 Forrest Pierce (b. 1972)

9.- 13. Circular Ruins (2018) Bryan Kip Haaheim (b. 1955)
Floating Downstream 2:10
Exhilarated 1:46
Chorale 3:14
Breakthrough 1:27
Floating Downstream 2:08

Jason Slote, percussion & computer


STILL LIFE by Bonnie McLarty

The exquisite words of Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg form the heart of Still Life, a poem about the quasi-religious experience of taking in the natural world. Together, the poetry and music evoke cold air, fragile light, and fluttering branches.

A CERTAIN TUNE by Juliana Hall

American composer Juliana Hall specializes almost exclusively in art song and vocal chamber music, both of which are musical settings of literary texts.  Likewise, the few instrumental works she has composed for family and friends who play musical instruments are also based on texts (although in these instrumental works the texts are not sung, but simply serve as inspiration for the music).  Hall’s best friend is Janet Popesco Archibald, Hall’s first roommate at Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music where they both studied as undergraduate music students. “A Certain Tune” was written for Ms. Archibald, who for decades has served as English Horn soloist in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.  “A Certain Tune” is a set of five instrumental “songs” based on poetry by early 20th-century American poet Sara Teasdale that speak of nature and humanity, of life and death, of friendship and love. As a gift for Hall’s friend, the work is a tribute to the ups and downs of life, the joys of lasting friendship, and the important mark one makes by one’s activities through life.  The music of “A Certain Tune” is meant to evoke the feelings and images embodied in the five Teasdale poems on which Hall based these instrumental songs, composed specifically for her friend’s particular musical instrument, and to celebrate a lifelong friendship that has grown through many years of change such as that described by Teasdale’s poetry.

FOR THE TIME BEING by Ingrid Stolzel

After picking the title, For the Time Being, I realized just how often I use this expression in my daily life. When we say these words, we imply that whatever state we are in or whatever action we are performing is temporary and merely a fleeting moment. In reality, of course, all states and actions are temporary and our perception of permanence is an illusion. For the Time Being is the next exploration in a series of works examining this concept of passing time. For the Time Being was commissioned by The Greenbrook Ensemble, Nashville, TN for Flute, Soprano Saxophone and Piano. The oboe d’amore version was arranged for Allégresse.

CATHEDRAL GROVE by Forrest Pierce

Cathedral Grove was written largely while sitting on a bench deep in the heart of Muir Woods, north of San Francisco. A gray sky, cold air, and a strong morning rain kept the tourists from making the trip out to see the old redwoods, and I found myself largely alone under the big trees. From the ground, looking upward, the redwoods seemed a gathering of columns, like musical lines rising from earth to sky, or like a council of oboes, perhaps. From this place, this solitude, this vision came a new work for Margaret Marco in which a gathering of variations on a single phrase create a nest of silence, a circle of breath built on the same melody. The notes of the tune are themselves drawn 

from traditional sacred cantillation, and take a pattern that spells out the same name over and over, like the DNA of the great trees the piece honors.

CIRCULAR RUINS by Bryan Kip Haaheim

Circular Ruins is based on the short story by Jorge Luis Borges. A man floats down a river in canoe landing at a mysterious temple in the jungle. His purpose there is to imagine another person in his dreams so vividly and perfectly that they become real, embodied, with a life and consciousness of their own that persists beyond the dream. After several attempts and using various strategies the dreamer eventually succeeds – sending their creation off in a canoe floating downstream. The dreamer realizes at that moment that he is the dream of another dreamer upstream, who is the dream of another dreamer upstream… The composition is intended to capture the shadowy dream-like mood of the story created by Borges’s use of two metaphors for our understanding of time – a river and a circle. The musical characteristics of the piece – melody, harmony, rhythm, and form are all ‘circular’ – use imperfect repetition to express the cyclical nature of time while never quite returning to the same place. 

All of the computer audio is generated ‘live’ by the computer software that was written for the piece drawing from a few samples of Margaret Marco’s oboe. Of particular note are the synthetic ‘bell’ sounds which were made by taking samples of multi-phonics and giving them the sharp attack and steady decline that a bell would have. Many of the percussive sounds are modified samples of key clicks and other sounds that can be made on an oboe without playing any notes.

Still Life, A Certain Tune and For the Time Being were recorded by Jason Slote at Kansas Public Radio, University of Kansas.

Circular Ruins was recorded by Brock Babcock in Swarthout Recital Hall, University of Kansas and mixed by Jason Slote.

Cathedral Grove was recorded by Jason Slote in the Bales Organ Recital Hall, University of Kansas.

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