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MP3 Bielawa, Bradshaw, Brown, Cowgill & Lauer - In Concert: Composers in Collaboration

Beauport Classical is working to bring new classical works to a wider audience.

11 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary, CLASSICAL: Chamber Music

HERBERT BIELAWA was born in Chicago on February 3, 1930. He earned his B.M. and M.M. degrees at the University of Illinois in piano under Soulima Stravinsky and Claire Richards and in composition under Burrill Phillips, Gordon Binkerd and Robert Kelly. His D.M.A. in Composition is from the University of Southern California where his teachers were Ingolf Dahl and Halsey Stevens. At the Aspen School, he worked with Darius Milhaud, Lukas Foss, Roger Sessions and Elliott Carter.

Bielawa’s much-performed Spectrum, for band and tape, was composed during his Contemporary Music Project residency in Houston from 1964 to 1966 where he wrote music for the ensembles of seven local high schools. In 1975 he was also the composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Symphony Summer Music Project. His interest in American Music and the music of women in particular led to a series of concerts in 1986 and 1987 of music by Amy Beach and himself. Since 1991 he has been a freelance composer and pianist. His most recent music commissions were from Meet the Composer, the Minneapolis Convention Center, the San Francisco School of the Arts, the American Guild of Organists, Earplay and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Among the soloists who have performed his works are Barry Tuckwell (horn), sopranos Darleen Kliewer, Anna Carol Dudley, Marian Marsh and Judy Hubbell, pianists Margaret Mills and Joel Sachs, and organists Sandra Soderlund, Alexander Post, Delbert Disselhorst, Pamela Decker and John Fenstermaker. His Fluxbands for Eleven Instruments and Sanas for Chorus and Chamber Orchestra were performed by North/South Consonance, Inc. He is a member of the Ilona Clavier Duo and founding director of Sounds New, a San Francisco Area new music ensemble.

Bielawa has been a member of the faculties of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, and of San Francisco State University where he founded Pro Musica Nova, created the electronic music studio and courses for the Computer Music Major. He also performed with the University Orchestra and in ensembles as pianist and conductor.
Bielawa''s music covers a wide variety of genres including mixed instrumental ensembles, piano, harpsichord, pipe organ, chorus, opera, band, orchestra and electronics. His web site is https://www.tradebit.com

NOTES: Segue was written specifically for a concert that celebrated my 70th year. Fragments from all the other works on this concert were “stitched” together into Segue. For many years, I had wanted to begin a piece with normal tuning that gradually slipped seamlessly into the musical substance of the movement and this was the time to do it before each movement. At the end of a work like this, however, instead of tuning, “de-tuning” is, of course, appropriate - not a common practice with musicians.

• • • • •

ROBERT J. BRADSHAW (1970) has always enjoyed vocal music. Some of his earliest musical memories involve singing holiday carols at his grandmother''s piano and performing for his mother during school productions. However, these experiences only represent a small portion of his involvement with vocal music. Mr. Bradshaw has composed, arranged, accompanied and performed with a variety of ensembles. Equally at home on stage, he has composed (and performed) numerous works including chamber and one act operas, large-scale choral compositions, a cappella and accompanied small ensembles, as well as educational through professional level musicals.

Mr. Bradshaw''s most recent choral composition, Cantate Domino: three Christmas motets, will be premiered during the 2007-2008 concert season (organ, brass and choir). The first motet, Quem vidistis, pastores? (known as Gratia Deo, when performed apart from the greater work), was recently recorded by the Prague Radio Symphony & the Kuhn Choir. Mr. Bradshaw’s compositions and projects have received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Harvard Musical Association, Harpley Foundation, Argosy Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

NOTES: Fantasy No. 3 Softly Calling (1996) was inspired by the, all too often, futile attempt to bring reason to the ordered chaos of our daily lives. The title, Softly Calling, is an oxymoron that attempts to describe the inner strife people live with in our hearts and minds. Outwardly, we may seem entirely content but inside we can be racked by indecision, stress, grief, guilt, the list goes on... Frequently, the things that cause us the most discordance are completely innocuous - somehow rising to importance through a series of events or irrational fixation. It is in these times that the most inane thoughts, like the lines of this poem, may take on extreme importance to the point of absurdity.

At the time this work was composed, I had recently completed my Masters Degree. My wife, Lori, and I had quickly left South Carolina and headed to Massachusetts. Lori was faced with no job prospects and I lacked the necessary business savvy to live as a freelance composer. A daunting prospect, yes, but a welcomed challenge as well. I was relieved to be out of school for the first time since childhood. I enjoyed starting a new life with Lori and was excited to be composing full time. And yet, there was always something intangible, just out of reach, nagging at the back of my mind. I was confident in my path but was slowly beginning to understand the ramifications of the choices I had made.

• • • • •

TIMOTHY J. BROWN (1965) received his undergraduate musical training at the State University of New York College at Fredonia. He holds the M. A. from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, where he studied music education and vocal performance (secondary). In addition, he holds the Doctoral degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Northern Colorado, where his dissertation was awarded the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Outstanding Dissertation. Dr. Brown has studied privately with composer John Corigliano. His compositions span a variety of media and styles, ranging from full orchestral works to unaccompanied choral pieces and chamber works. He is an experienced choral conductor and editor. His CD Infinity was released in 2005 on Capstone Records, and Songs of Light, Songs of Shadows was released in 2006. He is published by Rhodes Music and Gold Branch Music. He was named a recipient of ASCAP PLUS Awards in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2006, he was awarded the Lois Bailey Glenn Award for Teaching Excellence by the National Music Foundation for the teaching of American music. Dr. Brown was a Fellow in Music Composition at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, January 2007, and with Alice Parker at the Melodious Accord in October, 2007.

NOTES: In Flanders Fields is a song cycle using anti-war poems by an international selection of World War I soldiers. The scoring for a woman''s voice represents the "marraines de guerre" - "war godmothers" - who served as pen pals to support soldiers in the French army. These women were often the only ones left to tell the stories of the soldiers. Three of the nine pieces are presented here.

Les Gaz uses a poem by Maurice Gauchez, a Belgian soldier who survived World War I. It was written in October 1915. The central compositional feature in the poem is the use of the tone row:
E G F# B F E A# D# D A G# C#

Elements of a transposed row appear in the violin:
(F) C B (E) A# A (D#) G# G (D) C# F#

Two consecutive transpositions comprise the melody line:
F# C# C F B A# E A G# D# D F#
C# G# G C F# F B E D# A# A C#

Yet another transposition appears primarily in the oboe:
G D C# F# C B F A# A E D# G
G# D# D G C# C F# B A# F E G#
D A G# C# G F# C F E B A# D

This work is intended to sound like a carnival gone awry. The constant driving of the waltz meter represents the constant feeding of human lives into the war machine of attrition - the daily “wastage” required to keep the Western Front. This mechanism is also represented by the use of the 12-tone system.

Veglia uses the poem of the same name by Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970), an Italian soldier who survived World War I, in which a soldier is keeping vigil with another soldier who is dead. Quartal harmony is used in this work, which has a flowing chant-like quality over sustained pitches and occasional groups of grace notes. It is notated without strict mensural notation.

Does It Matter? uses the text of the same name by Siegfried Sassoon, a soldier who survived World War I. The central compositional device in the work centers on use of the “Prometheus Scale” or “Mystic Chord,” used by the composer Scriabin (C D E F# A A# ). This scale was chosen because of the symbolism of Prometheus - that giving fire to humans empowers them. It was chosen, however, to be a sarcastic commentary for the soldier in the poem who is contemplating (or actually dealing with) loss of legs and sight and sanity - the loss of his “fire” at the encouragement of his country. This soldier was empowered to fight but has now lost the ability to live his own life. The use of indeterminacy in the violin and viola parts underscores this loss of control. One influence in this piece is Serenity for voice and piano by Charles Ives.

• • • • •

KOREN COWGILL, composer and mezzo-soprano, is from Southern New Jersey and was born in 1969. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1993 and in 1995 she earned her Master’s Degree from the Yale School of Music. In 2004, she completed her Doctorate from Eastman. All degrees are in music composition. As an active performer, Miss Cowgill has premiered many new works, including Gregory Mertl’s Hungarian Orchestral Songs on Ady Endre Poetry along with repertoire by Yale faculty composers. Among her own works she has premiered her Song on a text of Catullus (1991), Dorothy Parker Songs (1998), and her song cycle, The Dance (2005), on poetry by William Carlos Williams. Most recently her song for tenor, mezzo and piano, Murmurings in a Field Hospital (2007), on poetry by Carl Sandburg, was premiered in Ventnor, NJ. Miss Cowgill’s chamber music is performed in the academic community and her music has been played by American orchestras. Her most recent academic premiere took place at Caldwell College where her Three Moods from Avalon (2006), for alto sax and piano, was performed. Under the baton of Yehuda Gilad, her work for orchestra, Surprised by Joy (2003), was premiered with the Colonial Symphony of Morristown, NJ. The Women’s Philharmonic of San Francisco played both her Requiem for Those Who Hope (1995) and her Grave for Orchestra (1999). In 1997, her concerto for trombone, Darkness Visible (1997), was premiered by the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. Miss Cowgill’s most recent projects include her work, Godspeed (2007), for harpsichord and The Maestro Postludes (2007) for organ. She currently works for Fox Music Studios in Ocean City, NJ where she teaches composition, voice and gives lectures in music history/musicianship. Miss Cowgill studies voice and piano with Douglas Murdock and composition with Paul Somers. She now lives in Swainton, NJ, with her husband Richard and dog, Gemma.

NOTES: Dirge and Frolic, completed in 2006, is a study of mood. The piece depicts the doldrums one might experience only to be hurled into the world of mania shortly thereafter. The piece oscillates between this melancholic atmosphere and the parts with the more maniacal energy. This mania, however, becomes more agitated as the piece progresses and leaves one hanging at the end. One is left with the feeling that things are left unresolved. These things might be of an intellectual, spiritual or even physical nature. However, one might actually enjoy this flux of mood. It’s a rollercoaster ride.

Dirge and Frolic was composed for Nan Childress-Orchard, pianist, and Robert Middleton, saxophonist. The piece is dedicated to Richard Koeppel.

• • • • •

Composer / pianist ELIZABETH LAUER has been involved in music for voice all her life. Initiated by singing-in-the-high-chair, there has been a constant flow of songs, chorus pieces, an opera and singers-and-instruments chamber pieces. Lauer compositions are available commercially, both in published and recorded formats. A recent CD release on the Capstone label contains two settings of Shakespeare that she composed during her Fulbright stay in Germany.

Lauer received her Fulbright scholarship to Germany after completing her undergratuate studies and graduate work in composition at Bennington College (BA) and Columbia University (MA), all six years on full scholarship. She was assigned to Hamburg, where she attended the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, and studied with the director of the school, the late composer Philipp Jarnach. She spent one and one-half years in Hamburg, having been granted an extension of her scholarship.

Upon her return to the United States, Lauer sought employment in New York City, and was eventually hired as a typist for Columbia Records, in a department (Data and Scheduling) that is now undoubtely one person and a computer. Five months after she was hired, she was named executive secretary to the president of the company, the late Goddard Lieberson. In a year’s time, she was promoted to being Lieberson’s assistant; eventually, she became an Associate Producer in the Masterworks Department. During this time, she composed an opera, a ballet score, and a large work for string ensemble, piano and timpani.

Marriage to Louis Lauer, a New York lawyer, and three children prompted a move to Fairfield County, Connecticut. There, Lauer continued to compose; she also took on the serious pursuit of becoming a performing pianist. She became a teacher, both in her studio (piano and chamber music) and outside (universities, schools, adult education). She developed a series of programs of performance/discussions. She also was engaged for assignments as judge, critic, and program annotator.

The Lauers moved to Albuquerque in late summer, 2005, where the composer continues her musical activities.

NOTES: My favorite word in the French language (arguably my all-time favorite word) is “crépuscule.” I was repeating the word in my mind one day, when the sounds of a piano piece came into my head. That bit of what some might call inspiration is now the introduction to what has turned out to be a concert rag. A companion work, L’Aurore was a foregone conclusion. More than a soupçon of some aspect of French music sounds is to be heard in these pieces. (Translations: Twilight and Dawn.) Et ça, c’est tout.

• • • • •
Publisher Information:
Bielawa - https://www.tradebit.com
or hbielawa@https://www.tradebit.com
Bradshaw - Beauport Press Music Publications,

The music contained on the In Concert Series CDs was recorded under a variety of circumstances including recording studios, concert and recital halls, churches and rehearsal rooms primarily in live performance. It is this dedication to creating music, under what can be at times adverse conditions, that Beauport Classical celebrates.

Beauport Classical is dedicated to connecting composers, performers and audiences of modern classical art music. Help us raise awareness of this vibrant art, studied and performed in institutions throughout the world, by supporting this series.

BC2802 m & p 2008 Bielawa, Bradshaw, Brown, Cowgill & Lauer. Produced at Studio 251 by Robert J. Bradshaw. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use of the music or information contained herein is a violation of copyright laws. Beauport Classical, a div. of RJB LLC.


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