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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


Beth Anderson

More Notes on Pieces

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MINNESOTA SWALE (1994)
(10'11") for flute, oboe, B-flat clarinet, bassoon, B-flat trumpet, 2 French horns, percussion and strings (8,8,6,6,2 minimum). Commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Synfonia with Jay Fishman conducting; performed by the Wellesley College Orchestra, conducted by Joel Suben; recorded by Opus One in1995 in Bratislava with the Slovak Radio Symphony. This piece is available on New Music For Orchestra, Opus One. The Minnesota Symphonia premiered MINNESOTA SWALE in Minneapolis, conducted by Jay Fishman.

A swale is a meadow or a marsh where a lot of wild plants grow together. The composer discovered the word when a horse named Swale won the Kentucky Derby several years ago. Since her work is primarily collage of newly composed musical swatches, she has used the name extensively--ROSEMARY SWALE and PENNYROYAL SWALE for string quartet, BRASS SWALE and SATURDAY/SUNDAY SWALE for brass quintet, GUITAR SWALE for two guitars, etc. The new swale includes an improvised percussion cadenza.

REVEL (1984/5)
(7') for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 French Horns, 2 trumpets, tenor trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, violins I & II, viola, cello, bass) recorded on Opus One # 100; performed: Richmond Sinphonia, The Baltimore Women's Symphony, New Britain Symphony in Connecticut; Themes include a meditative 6-note scale, dueling trumpets, a Spanish/gypsy section, an E-major melody, a brass chorale and cut-ups of the themes. The original title of this piece was REVELATION but the work was reorchestrated and shortened by 50% to suit the Sinphonia and to fit on the recording. REVELATION is still available for premier.

PIANO CONCERTO (1997)
(14') for string orchestra, marimba/drum set/percussion, and piano. This piece is tonal/modal, very American and rather grand. It is based on a previous piece by this composer and grew out of her experiences as a pianist including a little bit of rock and gospel, some ballet accompaniment, Moussorsky from piano recitals, and those "starry night" themes she loves. Near the end, these ideas are cut into each other It was premiered in chamber form at Merkin Hall with Joseph Kubera soloist and Gary M. Schneider, conductor in October 1997.

PRECIOUS MEMORIES (1996)
(9 minutes) The words are by Jo-Ann Krestan, whose permission was obtained in writing, and Beth Anderson. The lyrics are enclosed and concern memories of old time hymns, life threatening experiences, survival as a woman composer, the search for love, perfect bliss and a descriptive critic. The music is a collage of American styles. It was commissioned and produced by Eclectix, Inc. on November 15, 1997 at Cami Hall in New York City and sung by The Accidentals. SATBB.

WYNKEN, BLYNKEN & NOD (1987)
(3 minutes) The words are by 19th century British poet, Eugene Field. It was premiered by the Mt. Sterling, Kentucky High School Madrigal Ensemble with John Stegner, conductor. SATB.

NET WORK (1982)

Net Work is a series of rhythmic variations originally commissioned as a sextet by Commotion Dance Company for contact-improvisation. A few years later, a longer version of that piece for piano solo was commissioned by choreographer Donna Oberstein for Montclair State College. The original tune was augmented and extended creating rhythmic surprises and a powerful rhythmic drive. The harmony is based on a "I"-"v"-"I" cadence and the melody is reminiscent of a Spanish folk melody. The introduction foreshadows the tonal centers of the first seven variations while changing meter from 8/4 to 7/4 to 6/4 and so on.

It has been done with 4 sax and two piano or 4 sax and one piano or 4 sax and piano plus organ or keyboard of some sort... ( saxophone quartet and two pianos) It was used for a contact improvisation for the dancers.

The first performance of the sextet version for Sax Quartet plus 2 pianos was I believe at Abbott Concert Hall at University of Wisconsin at River Falls on 11/8/83, Conrad De Jong, Director of their New Music Ensemble with Don Ho Sax Quartet It has also been performed in the sextet version at:

  1. Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis on 11/10/83 by Conrad De Jong, Director of New Music Ensemble from U.W. at River Falls, Don Ho Sax Quartet
  2. The Third Street Music Settlement, 235 E. 11 St., NY, NY 10003, 12/4/83, Doubler's Delight plus pianists Mimi-Sterne Wolfe and Beth Anderson. It was in a series entitled Music Downtown.
  3. Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY 1983-84 season
  4. under the auspices of Young Audiences at Trinity School in NYC and the public school in New Rochelle, NY

The piano solo version has been recorded/released by Kathleen Earnst on North/South CD in 1998 along with my Trio: dream in 'd' and a trio and piano solo each by Stephania De Kennesey and Nancy Bloomen Deussen. Both the 10 minute piano version and the sextet sax version are available from me. I also have the original 6 1/2 minute piano solo.

THE EIGHTH ANCESTOR
(violin, flute, cello, piano; or, flute, oboe, cello, piano; or, flute, clarinet, cello, piano; or baroque flute, alto recorder, cello, harpsichord). first performance DelBarton Baroque Ensemble; also performed by The ISCM in Belgium; published by Joshua Corp/General Music, order # 1234 ($12.95) via The Boston Music Co.

The 8th ancestor is a character that I read about in a zen book entitled SELLING WATER BY THE RIVER. This ancestor's message is that it does no good to be angry. The music, in an attempt to reflect this message, is not angry music. It resembles a lullaby and a hora. There are cut-ups of newly composed music and the general feeling is mixolydian.

TRIO: dream in "d"

It is rhapsodic and centered around the key of d-minor (hence the sub-title). Parts of this piece werewritten when I dreamt music and woke up in the middle of the night desperate to write down what I had just 'heard'. I was improvising for modern dance classes then, and I used to write down what I had just improvised while waiting for the next steps to be taught. Consequently, the rhythm within sections or swatches is quite regular and there is a certain physicality to it. The harmony is related to rock harmony. The primary cadence pattern is "i"- "flat-VI"-"flat-VII"-"i". A friend of mine says that parts of it sound like a drunken Irish person wandering around in Mexico. It certainly has folk related material and times when the music seems to be waiting for the next melody to appear. At the end, several musical ideas heard previously in the piece return and are layered with one another as duple and triple meters compete. This trio was originally written for Andrew Bolotowsky, Carol Browning, and myself to perform.