Sunday, June 29th saw the premiere of Canticle and Caprice by Karim Al-Zand, a new work commissioned by the Chintimini Music Festival, with assistance from New Music USA. The work was warmly received by a capacity audience at the First Congregational Church in Corvallis, Oregon. The composer briefly introduced the work from the stage as a short work in two contrasting sections. In the first, a sustained lyrical melody is played by the violin and viola together, accompanied by plucked notes in the cello. (“Canticle” is from the Latin “canticulum,” meaning “short song.”) The second section, which follows directly, is swift, lively and animated, in a kind of perpetual motion. As part of the Chintimini residency, the composer attended and coached rehearsals of the work earlier in the week.
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Swimmy was presented to three full house family concerts: two on Wednesday, June 25 at the Corvallis Public Library and one on Tuesday, July 1 at the Monroe Public Library.
Swimmy was performed by Steve Matthes (clarinet) Erik Peterson (violin), Anne Ridlington (cello) and Sunghee Kim (piano) and narrated by seasoned storyteller Charles Creighton.
Also featured in the festival was another Al-Zand composition, “Swimmy,” a work for young audiences. The piece was presented at three Chintimini family concerts. Swimmy is a work for narrator, clarinet, piano, violin and cello based on the Caldecott Award-winning children’s book of the same name by Leo Lionni (1910–1999). The piece was performed in conjunction with a presentation of Lionni’s colorful artwork. The story involves a little black fish, Swimmy, left alone in the sea after his school is attacked by a tuna fish. In the end, Swimmy’s bravery and ingenuity serve to overcome his predicament and protect the other fish from harm.
Canticle and Caprice was written for the Chintimini Music Festival in memory of Molly Bloomfield, a long-time supporter of the festival and a remarkable woman, beloved for her passionate devotion to the Corvallis community.
Violinist Jessica Lambert, violist Adam Matthes and cellist Anne Ridlington presented the new string trio, Canticle and Caprice on a program also including Amy Beach’s Variations for Flute and Strings and Brahms’s Piano Quartet in c minor, Op 60.
A feature in the Corvallis Gazette-Times (by Mike McInally) includes an interview with Al-Zand about the new work, Canticle and Caprice.
Commissioned composer Karim Al-Zand arrives at the Festival June 26 to work with the oustanding musicians who will perform his new trio — violinist Jessica Lambert, violist Adam Matthes, and cellist Anne Ridlington. For composer and violist, both strongly dedicated to new music, it will be a reunion.
Tickets are already in demand for the premiere Sunday June 29. In addition, “Swimmy,” an earlier Al-Zand work for children, with projected illustrations, will be featured in popular library performances — two in Corvallis, one in rural Monroe.
The mission of Chintimini Chamber Music is to produce chamber music concerts built around musicians raised in the Corvallis area who are now pursuing performing careers in classical music anywhere in the world, to promote the enjoyment of chamber music by young and old, and to develop future audiences. The proposed commssion is for a string trio by Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand, who will be part of rehearsals and attend the performance, as well as performances of another work.
The Festival always presents a satisfying amount of the standard chamber repertoire. For the sake of the players, the audience, and the future, however, it has included new music from the start: Gwyneth Walker, John Harbison, Adrienne Elisha, Elliot Carter, Victor Steinhardt, Mike Curtis, Lowell Liebermann, Iva Bittová, Kenji Bunch.
Since 2005, Chintimini commissions an average of one new work a year. The first was to David Mullikin: a song cycle which set five poems by a Corvallis poet, chosen by the composer in a blind competition and titled “The Gray Unsettled Light.” For the 2008 Festival Jacob Avshalomov composed “Chintimini Turns” for flute, clarinet, and string quartet. In 2009 it was Ghanaian drummer/composer Obo Addy. In 2010 we commissioned and premiered Kenji Bunch’s violin/viola concerto “Verso”— as well as a Mullikin work for children: “Paul Bunyan: a Tall Tale with Music.” The 2011 Festival premiered Tomas Svoboda’s string quartet Op. 202a.
In 2013 the festival premiered Kenji Bunch’s Serenade for flute (dbl picc.), alto flute, violin, and viola through a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning grant. Video of an excerpt is part of this proposal.
A string quartet commissioned for the Apollo Chamber Players (www.apollochamberplayers.org), an ensemble whose mission is to explore the intersection of Western classical and folk music. The piece explores both the distinctive “cluster” harmonies of Bulgarian music and its characteristic rhythmic flair, which features irregular meters within an infectious dance idiom. The piece was was commissioned with the assistance of a City Initiatives Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance.
Christopher Janwong McKiggan (www.christopherjanwongmckiggan.com) commissioned this short piece as part of a recording project in which he solicited composers from different cultural backgrounds to once again muse upon one of the most recognizable themes in Classical music: Paganini‘s 24th Caprice. The inspiration for my piece comes from an evocative passage in Heinrich Heine‘s “Florentine Nights.” The protagonist describes a waking dream which is prompted by the virtuoso‘s playing, each change of mood triggering a fantastical new scene.
From Kenji Bunch: “…interesting compositional challenges.
“Beethoven’s Serenade for the same combination of instruments offered an invaluable opportunity to experience the sonorities of this ensemble from within, at the hands of one of the great masters.
“In the tradition of the eighteenth century serenade, this new work features a series of short movements, light in character, some played continuously. To update this tradition, I add several more contemporary techniques (plucking, strumming, harmonics, etc.) …
Start and End Dates
06/20/2014 — 07/02/2014