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CD112   Daron Hagen: Night, Again

 

CD112

Daron Hagen: Night, Again

Music for Wind Ensemble

Vern Sielert, flügelhorn
Robert La Rue, cello
Baylor University Wind Ensemble
Michael Haithcock, conductor

  • Notes by the composer
  • 58'00" total playing time

CD112      $15.95

Purchase from Canticle Distributing

 

CONTENTS
1. NIGHT, AGAIN (1997)
    CONCERTO FOR FLÜGELHORN & WIND ENSEMBLE (1994)
2.       precise funk
3.       slow swing
4.       driving bop
5.  SENNETS, CORTEGE AND TUCKETS (1989)
     CONCERTO FOR CELLO & WIND ENSEMBLE (1997)
6.      Mesto 
7.      Allegro scorrevole
8.      Lento e largo; Allegro

Listen Listen:

"precise funk” from Concerto for Flügelhorn and Wind Ensemble

 

 

"The title piece of the CD is an unnervingly vivid representation of the unsettling impressions of a lifetime insomniac in the small hours of the night. The composer has a wonderful sense of instrumental color, and an accessible harmonic language."
  -- Records International Reviews

"Of particular interest are Night, Again, with its darkness and flashes of light, and the Cello Concerto, with its alternating moods of introspection and playfulness. The Baylor University Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Michael Haithcock, plays this music with style and understanding. Vern Sielert, flügelhorn, and Robert La Rue, cello, give strong performance in their concertos."   -- American Record Guide

"... Hagen's style seems to be rooted in jazz and the American neo-Romantic: highly crafted, instrumentally colorful, basically tonal, and very listenable."  -- Fanfare Magazine

 

Night, Again: The Wind Ensemble Music
by Daron Hagen

Night, Again (1997)
I have been, for as far back as I can remember, an insomniac. The intense, introspective solitude of the smallest hours (say, between two and five) can be absolutely terrifying. It is then that certain of life's conundrums bear down with inescapable force. Night, Again is a musical portrait of the dead of night.

The work is spun from four musical ideas: 1) a melodic wedge - that is, a grouping of pitches which lead inwards or outwards from a central tone; 2) a tone cluster - that is, the simultaneous sounding of a handful of adjacent pitches (the vertical expression of a melodic wedge); 3) a harmonic constellation of four triads - in this case, B-flat major, E major, G major and D-flat major which, when paired, are associated with one another by 4) the interval of the tritone.

Here is the story of how Night, Again became a piece for wind ensemble. Its ideas go back to 1990,when I began composing an opera on commission from the Madison Opera in Wisconisn called Shining Brow. I elected to organize the various characters' musics by placing each in a different key. When the characters interacted, so did the keys in which the characters sang. For example, the fated lovers dwelt in the keys of B-flat and E respectively, the unwholesomeness of their illicit liaison manifested itself in the fact that their keys were related by the interval of a tritone, a sonority that "right thinking" composers were once forbidden to use by the Catholic Church. The result was a harmonic language shot through with polychords and bitonality.

Several years later, in 1994, Bruce Baker commissioned me to write a fifteen minute long piano piece (Built Up Dark) to premiere at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. As a pianist myself, I had for years written short "personal pieces" that were never intended for publication. Even so, I had managed to steer clear of the painful task of writing a concert work for my own instrument. (It seemed somehow too self-revealing.) After several months of false starts, I went back to the four ideas mentioned earlier. To my surprise (and relief), these very simple ideas unlocked a brand new piece. I chose as title for the newly-completed piano essay an image from Paul Muldoon's exquisite libretto for Brow - "...we built upon the built up dark." At this point, I felt as though I had probably squeezed the last music out of the ideas that first seized me for Brow in 1990.

Three months later, the music director of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Stephen Colburn, called, asking if I had any chamber orchestra pieces awaiting premiere. I was at that time teaching composition at three different schools and knew that I couldn't manage the focus required to write something from scratch, but I did believe that I could concentrate sufficiently to orchestrate Built Up Dark. Naturally, when I orchestrated it, I couldn't resist revising the entire thing, re-thinking large swatches. They gave the completed piece (which had no brass in it) a marvelous performance in May of 1995. This had to be the last incarnation, I thought on the plane back to New York.

Nope. In March of 1997, Michael Haithcock e-mailed me, asking if I had any music for wind ensemble. He was on the prowl for new projects, he said. I had two pieces - Sennets, Cortege and Tuckets and Concerto for Flügelhorn and Wind Ensemble. We started talking about making a record together. Unfortunately, I hadn't yet composed enough music for wind ensemble to fill it. So we cast about for works in my catalog that might benefit from a translation into winds. I sent him a tape of Built Up Dark and another of a cello concerto that I had recently written for Robert La Rue. I did the translations, and Michael and the Baylor Wind Ensemble premiered the result. This album was born.

Am I finally free of these simple building blocks? No! They have become the core material for a new opera called The Bandanna, commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association. The story, set in 1968 on the U.S.-Mexico border, is a retelling of Shakespeare's tale of the doomed Moor that eschews strings from the pit orchestra. I have reunited with my Shining Brow collaborator, Paul Muldoon, and have found, while exploring the musico-dramatic relationship between the jealous Morales and his wife Mona, some of the same threads of grand dreams and sudden, tragic disaster that united the lovers in Brow. The way I think about those four simple ideas, now transformed by a nearly decade-long game of Compositional Telephone, bears little resemblance to the way I perceived them in 1990. However, I recognize now that there is no longer any escaping them, that they are central to my process as a composer. So I am getting on with things.


Concerto for Flügelhorn and Wind Ensemble(1994)

This piece began its life in an instrumentation for flügelhorn and string orchestra. It wa premiered in that version by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra conducted by Luis Garcia Renart in 1993. Carolyn Vian led the world premiere of the version for winds with the Northwest Washington Wind Orchestra in Olympia, WA in 1994. Donna Hagen was the soloist for both premieres.

All in good fun, the concerto is a composer's holiday which takes a wry, affectionate look at three pop idioms. The first section is marked "precise funk" and rings some new changes on the sort of punchy rhythms favored by such so-called "crossover" talents as the Michaels Torke and Daugherty during the early eighties. (It uses as a core idea a four bar groove from Torke's infectious Adjustable Wrench.) The second section is marked "slow swing" and consists of an extended vocalise for the soloist which evolves into a traditionally unfolding 32-bar chorus. Its an homage to the great film noir soundtracks - think Bogart in a trenchcoat, night-time (again) and falling rain. The final section is marked "driving bop." It is a series of written-out choruses based on an eight bar "head" from Stanzas, Book IV, by my first composition teacher, Les Thimmig. The genesis of this movement goes way back to when, around Christmas of 1983, Les's son Adam was born. I sketched them as a congratulatory gift under the title Merry Christmas, It's a Boy!


Sennets, Cortege and Tuckets (1989)

Commissioned by the Wisconsin College Board Directors Association, this piece was composed during the summer of 1989 at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH, and was given its first performance by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Symphony Band, conducted by Thomas L. Dvorak at the Vogel Concert Hall of the Milwaukee-Performing Arts Center.

The title is drawn from a line in Shaespeare's Henry V (IV:ii): "Let the trumpets sound the tucket sonance and the note to mount!" The three-part form echo's the title: sennets are ceremonial trumpet calls used as a signal for ceremonial entrances; a cortege is a ceremonial procession; tuckets are trumpet flourishes. Maximalist in feeling, the entire piece actually unfolds from two simple, interlocking melodic ideas:

Night, Again

Imagine, during the first third of the piece, that the vigorous young King Henry is delivering his rousing St. Crispin's Day speech. Then, in the second section, imagine Henry after the battle, touring the field with his retinue. The final third begins with a grossly elided recapitulation of the opening section - the English troops are celebrating their victory over the French, raising the middle fingers of their sword hands in defiance as they depart. There is a drunken, Ives-ian explosion of ideas (overlapping allusions to Scott Joplin, Eric Satie, Leonard Bernstein, and a rude quotation of the University of Wisconsin Fight Song within fifteen seconds) broken up by police whistles - a happy allusion to the round-up of knights at the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


Concerto for Cello and Wind Ensemble (1997)

The concerto was premiered first in an arrangement for cello and chamber orchestra by Robert La Rue and the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein. Michael Haithcock led the Baylor Wind Ensemble and soloist Robert La Rue in the world premiere of the version for cello and winds.

One of the fondest memories I retain from my student days at the Curtis Institute is of being onstage with Robert La Rue, witnessing his pleasure as he acknowledged the audience's applause. It was 1982. He had just premiered by first cello concerto under my baton with the student orchestra. For a few moments, he had on his face a look of unalloyed satisfaction. We have made a lot of music together since then. Always, the music has given us something to try and get right. The concerto was composed for and dedicated to Robert.

 

Daron Hagen

A native of Milwaukee, Daron Aric Hagen enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the age of seventeen. H was first noticed two years before that by Leonard Bernstein, whose enthusiastic reaction to Hagen's first orchestra piece ultimately helped gain him entry to the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Ned Rorem. While still a student there, his music was introduced by the Philadelpia Orchestra, an honor last bestowed on the young Samuel Barber. He began his professional career during his studies with David Diamond and Joseph Schwanterner at the Juilliard School by fulfilling commissions from the New York Philharmonic and other major American orchestras.

International popular and critical acclaim greeted his 1993 opera, Shining Brow, based on the life of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Commissions, honors, and awards have come from the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Kennedy Center, Columbia University, BMI, ASCAP, and the Barlow Endowment. His extensive catalog of works includes two symphonies, five concertos, pieces for chorus and orchestra, four operas, five song cycles, two ballets, and numerous chamber works.

Daron Hagen is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music and was, from 1988 to 1997, a member of the faculty at Bard College. During the Spring of 1997 he was also on the composition faculty of the City College of New York.


Robert La Rue

Robert La Rue is widely acknowledged as one of the finest young cellists of his generation. He took first prize in the 1992 National Society of Arts and Letters Cello Composition - selected by a jury chaired by Mstislav Rostropovich - and is also a winner of Artists International's New York Debut Award. He has appeared as soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra, the Banff Festival Orchestra, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, and orchestras in Seattle, Phoenix, and Denver.

As a recitalist and chamber musician, he has been heard in many of America's principal concert halls and, during the summers, at festivals in Taos, Norfolk, Banff, and the Evian Festival in France. An enthusiastic proponent of contemporary music, he recently appeared in recital at Carnegie Hall with composers Lukas Foss, Ned Rorem, and Daron Hagen. He can be heard in recordings on the ARSIS label.

Mr. La Rue is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory of Music and he also attended Indiana University and the Juilliard School. his teachers have included such noted cellists as Bernard Greenhouse, Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, David Soyer, and Laurence Lesser.

Robert La Rue was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in the Midwest, and currently lives in New York City.


Vern Sielert

Vern Sielert joined the Baylor University music faculty in 1993 as Instructor of Jazz Ensembles. He holds Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, and Master of Music degrees from the University of North Texas, and he has taught as a graduate assistant at UNT and as an instructor of applied trumpet in the Richardson Independent School District, Texas.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he enjoys a busy career as a trumpeter, both in live concert performances an in the recording studio. Among the many artists with whom he has collaborated are Louis Bellson, Dave Brubeck, Rosemary Clooney, Freddie Hubbard, the Kingston Trio, Maureen McGovern, Marvin Stamm, Doc Severinson, Toni Tennile,and Roger Williams.

Mr. Sielert is also a succesful composer and arranger, and he currently serves as conductor of the Waco Jazz Orchestra.


Michael Haithcock

Michael Haithcock was appointed Director of Bands at Baylor University in 1982 - four years after joining the university's music faculty. He is also Professor of Conducting and serves as conductor of the acclaimed Baylor Wind Ensemble as well as the faculty-student new music ensemble, Spectrum. In addition, he is responsible for the graduate program in wind conducting and administers Baylor's diverse collegiate band program.

He is the recipient of the 1993-94 Outstanding Creative Artist Award from Baylor University and the 1996 Oustanding Alumnus Award from East Carolina University. In 1995, he became one of the youngest persons ever to be elected to memebership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.

Mr. Haitchock has gained national recognition as an innovative teacher and conductor through his frequent appearances across the country. His contributions to the field of conducting pedaogoy place him in constant demand as a resource person for band symphonies, festivals, and workshops.

A graduate of East Carolina University (BME) and Baylor University (MM), Michael Haithcock has done additional study at a variety of conducting workshops, including the Herbert Blomstedt Orchestral Conducting Institute. His articles on conducting and wind literature have been published by The Instrumentalist, The School Musician, and The Southwest Music Educator.


Baylor University Wind Ensemble

The Baylor University Wind Ensemble, organized in 1972, is guided by a philosphy which seeks to expose students and its audiences to the highest quality music written for wind instruments, representing all periods of music history. Typically, a concert season will present selections ranging from music by Renasissance masters to the most recent prize-winning composers.

The Wind Ensemble also hosts living composers in rehearsal and performance - to provide interaction regarding the creative process that makes music a living art form. Today's foremost British composer, Sir Michael Tippott, entrusted to the Baylor University Wind Ensemble the world premiere of his 1993 work, Triumph: A Paraphrase on the Mask of Time.

Compact disc releases by the Baylor University Wind Ensemble have elicited rave reviews. Winds Magazine, Journal of the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles, wrote: "It is compositions and execution of this calibre which ought to be available worldwide on major record labels, to be reviewed in our most prestigious general journals, to impress the wind band on the consciousness of the musical establishment."

Flute Saxophone Euphonium
  Erin Cooper   Michelle Acton   Norman Gamboa
  Rachel Guagliardo   Eli Gonzalez   Mark Turner
  Kristine Haverlah   Vanessa Hasbrook Tuba
  Jenniger Robertson   Jason Warren   David Kirven
  Kelli Urban Horn   Angelo Munzo
  Jennifer Zavala   Janet Boyce   Adam Powell
Oboe   Michael Dobbins Percussion
  Emily Helvering   David Heyde   Greg Apple
  Dennis Hopson   Eric Overholt   Brad Bryant
  Season Summers   Becky Peterson   Nicole Huerta
  Gary West   Katie Walden   Daren Pfeifer
Clarinet Trumpet   Jacob Ramirez
  Aaron Cummings   Vincent Cantú   Bob Roche
  Erica France   Oscar Garcia   Brian Zator
  Elizandro Garcia   Kenneth Howard Piano / Celeste
  Jonathon Guist   Sara Jones   Laura Richling
  Kerry Marsack   Barry Kraus Double Bass
  Jun Qian   Susan Lader   Charles Federle
  Roel Rodriquez   Andy Ochs   Vincent Bryce
Bassoon Trombone    
  David Famiano   David Barnes    
  Michael Garza   Jeff Flint    
  Jenny Kress   Eric Newsome    
  Darla McBryde   Nathan Wood    

 

 

This recording was produced with the generous support of the David and Mitzi Scott Family of Houston Texas, and the Baylor University School of Music, Dr. Marvin Lam, Dean.
 
Recording Engineer:
John E. Milam, Bob Neil
Assistant Recording Engineers:
Jim Grady
Producers:
Michael Haithcock, Daron Hagen
Associate Producer:
Jeff Grogan
Assistant Producers:
Ed Powell, Mark Turner
Editing & Mastering:
Robert Schuneman, ARSIS Audio, Boston MA
Publishing:
E.C. Schirmer Music Company, a division of ECS Publishing, Boston, MA
 
Recording Dates
Night, Again:
November 16, 1997
Concerto for Flügelhorn and Wind Ensemble:
September 30, 1997
Sennets, Cortege and Tucketts:
October 1, 1997
Concerto for Cello and Wind Ensemble:
November 17, 1997
 
Equipment
Bob Neil Custom Microphones (primary pair)
Neumann U67, Telefunken U47 provided by Paul Concilio (solo microphones)
Modified Omega omni pair (ambient room microphones)