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  • By Joelle Wallach
  • Release 07/08/2012
  • Media Format CD
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Price: €19.50

Product Notes

Composer Joelle Wallach writes music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles and solo voice. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles premiered her octet, "From the Forest of Chimneys," written to celebrate their 10th anniversary; and the New York Choral Society commissioned her secular oratorio, "Toward a Time of Renewal," for 200 voices and orchestra to commemorate their 35th Anniversary Season in Carnegie Hall. New York's New Music for Young Ensembles nominated her piano quartet, "Runes and Ritual," for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music and Wallach's String Quartet #2 was the American Composers Alliance nominee for The Pulitzer Prize in 1997. Dr. Wallach's popular and profound lectures at the New York Philharmonic and the Dallas Symphony address a broad range of musical subjects, bringing fresh insights to familiar works and opening doors to modern ones and to those less frequently heard. Wallach grew up in Morocco, and makes her home in New York City, where she was born. Her early training in piano, voice, theory, bassoon and violin included study at the Juilliard Preparatory Division. She earned bachelors and masters degrees at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University respectively. As early as 1980 her choral work, "On the Beach at Night Alone," won first prize in the Inter-American Music Awards. In 1984 the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with John Corigliano, granted her it's first doctorate in composition. Dr. Wallach served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the College of Music at the University of North Texas during the academic years 2010-2012 and this recording commemorates her years teaching there. It also celebrates Wallach's ongoing engagement with melody and melodic counterpoint, and features performances from among her favorite performers from the University of North Texas and beyond. 1. The Nightwatch is full of longing and the"w's," of Madeleine Tiger's poem, with it's watery sounds of rain, tears, waves and woe. Wherever you are tonight, will you know how the world was washed where I was? When I went away wishing for you I was wrong. I wanted to vow I wouldn't worry; we weren't the world's twins. Now I allow whole wastes, winter wherever I am, even when the weather warms. No wonder I will welcome the wolf of my wanting. 2. Assurance is based on the poem William Stafford wrote for his wife just prior to his death. You will never be alone. You hear too deep a sound when autumn comes. Yellow pulls across the hills and thrums, or silence after lightning before it says it's names. You were aimed from birth: you will never be alone. Rain will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon, long aisles. You never heard so deep a sound, moss on rock, and years. That's what the silence meant, the whole wide world pours down. 3. Written in the imaginary voice of Jasmin, Wallach's magical cat and mini-muse, Alleycat Love Song, based on a poem by Dana Gioia, is a lyrical, lusty look at longing and an exuberant collaboration between piano and voice. Come into the garden, Fred, For the neighborhood tabby is gone. Come into the garden, Fred. I have nothing but my flea collar on, And the scent of catnip has gone to my head. I'll wait by the screen door till dawn. The fireflies court in the sweetgum tree. The nightjar calls from the pine, And she seems to say in her rhapsody, 'Oh, mustard-brown Fred, be mine!' The full moon lights my whiskers afire, And the fur goes erect on my spine. I hear the frogs in the muddy lake Croaking from shore to shore. They've one swift season to soothe their ache. In autumn they sing no more. So ignore me now, and you'll hear my meow As I scratch all night at the door. 4-6 Sin mañanas, Three Spanish Songs, 4. La Guitarra is a long song, a concert aria, based on a l921 poem by Federico Garcia-Lorca, which was inspired by Lorca's extensive research (with de Falla) into the cante jondo, the indigenous poetry and song of southern Andalusia. Wallach's song, like the Lorca poem, reflects the passion and mystery, the profound and abiding anguish of the realm of the gypsy guitar. In describing this tradition, Lorca wrote: The figure of the cantaor is found within two great lines, the arc of the sky on the outside, and on the inside the zigzag that wanders like a snake through his heart. When the cantaor sings he is celebrating a solemn rite, as he rouses ancient essences from their sleep, wraps them in his voice, and flings them into the wind.... He has a deeply religious sense of song. Through these chanters, the race releases it's pain and it's true history....They were prodigious interpreters of the peoples' soul who destroyed their own hearts in storms of feeling. La Guitarra Empieza el lanto de la guitarra. Se rompen las copas de la madrugada. Empieza el llanto de la guitarra. Es inútil callarla. Es imposible callarla. Llora monótona como llora el agua, como llora el viento sobre la Nevada. Es imposible callarla. Llora por cosas lejanas. Arena del Sur caliente que pide camelias blancas. Llora flecha sin blanco, la tarde sin mañana, y el primer pájaro muerto sobre la rama. ¡Oh guitarra! Corazón malherido por cinco espadas. The Guitar The guitar's weeping begins, breaking the cups of dawn The guitar's weeping begins. It's impossible to silence. Useless to try to silence it. Weeping monotonously like water weeping, like wind weeping over the snow. It's impossible to silence. Weeping for remote things: Hot southern sands longing for white camellias; Arrows without targets; evenings without mornings; and the first dead bird on the branch. Oh, guitar! Heart mortally wounded by five swords. 5. Soñando Sueños de Tango was composed for a program of tangos and zambas presented by the Americas Society in New York City. It adapts characteristic gestures of the Argentinean tango, distorted to suggest the disorientation described in the poem by Graciela Perez Trevisan. Desperté en Buenos Aires una mañana de junio todo estaba en su lugar el café y las medialunas tu silla frente a la mía el mismo ritual de siempre una más uno yo sola. Desperté en Buenos Aires invierno trayendo niebla sentí que estaba muy lejos soñando sueños de tango. Todo paneado y exacto y no pude darme cuenta: Sin vos la casa vacía y no pude darme cuenta. El final como el comienzo casual para ser verdad tender que desandar tu avenida y mi dolor el resto pasará mañana cuando desperte en Buenos Aires. I woke up in Buenos Aires on a June morning. Everything was in it's place: the coffee and croissants, your chair facing mine. The same ritual as ever - with one difference - I'm alone. I woke up in Buenos Aires, with the winter mists. I felt that I was far away dreaming of the tango. Everything planned out and exact, And I couldn't understand.... The ending, like the beginning, too casual to be true, I tried to retrace your path and my sorrow. The rest will happen tomorrow when I wake up in Buenos Aires. 6. Los Ojos is based on a poem by the 20th-century Spaniard, Antonio Machado. In the song as well as the poem, moments of silence portray the stark emptiness of the protagonist's emotional landscape. I Cuando murió su amada pensó en hacerse viejo en la mansión cerrada, solo, con su memoria y el espejo donde ella se miraba un claro día. Como el oro en el arca del avaro, pensó que guardaría todo un ayer en el espejo claro. Ya el tiempo para él no correría. II Mas pasado el primer aniversario, ¿cómo eran--preguntó--, pardos o negros, sus ojos? ¿Glaucos?...¿Grises? ¿Cómo eran, ¡Santo Dios!, que no recuerdo?... III Salió a calle un día de primavera, y paseó en silencio su doble luto, el corazón cerrado... De una ventana en el sombrío hueco vio unos ojos brillar. Bajó los suyos y siguió su camino...¡Como ésos! I When his beloved died he thought he would grow old, in the closed mansion alone, with his memories and a mirror in which she looked at herself in a brighter day Like a miser keeping his gold in a box, he thought he could keep all his yesterdays intact in the clear mirror. For him time wouldn't run. II But after the first anniversary, "What were they like," he asked himself, 'Hazel or black, her eyes, green or grey? What were they? Dear God! Not to recall...' III He went out into the street one day in spring and silently carried his double mourning, his heart closed. From a dark place behind a window he saw a pair of shining eyes. He looked down and continued walking..."Like those!" 7. Lágrimas y Locuras, Mapping the Mind of a Madwoman, a dramatic, Lisztian piano work was written in 2011 for pianist Ana Cervantes' Monarca Project. In it, Joelle Wallach returns to her ongoing musical exploration of psychological landscapes. The folksong, La Llorana, on which Lágrimas y Locuras is based, tells the story of a Mexican Indian woman who, while still young and beautiful, meets a Spanish conquistador as he rides past the river outside her tiny town. They fall in love, marry, have two children and live in a palace in Mexico City. When he is called back to Spain, she waits in her small town by the river for his return. And it is by the river she sees him again, riding in a grand carriage with his new blond Spanish bride. He doesn't recognize her, changed and aged as she has been by years of yearning under the searing Mexican sun. Furious, she rushes to the riverbank and, crazed by rage, betrayal and humiliation, drowns their two children. Forever after, she is doomed to pace the banks of Mexican rivers, weeping. For La Llorona, no memory, no reflection or recollection - no matter how sweet - can remain untouched by guilt, anger and the bitterest regret. Lágrimas y Locuras, Mapping the Mind of a Madwoman, does not recount the verbatim story of La Llorona, but instead imagines La Llorona's tempestuous inner monologue as she walks, eternally distraught, along the banks of innumerable Mexican waterways. The virtuosic piano work reveals her infuriated interior monologue, railing against her fate, against the betrayal of her lover and against the result of her own impetuous rage. It deconstructs the simple melody of the folksong to explore the state of mind of that woman walking endlessly, alone and weeping, at war with her own past, her thoughts, her memories and her conscience in a relentless avalanche of sorrow, remorse and wrath. Each time her thoughts return to simple scenes of past happiness, love or family, the melody within her twists, writhes and rages through strange, unexpected, distorted textures and tonalities. 8. PAX celebrates the sweet spiritual life of Wallach's angelic cat, Suri, in the words of D.H.Lawrence. Like a cat asleep on a chair at peace, in peace and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress at home, at home in the house of the living, sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire. Sleeping on the hearth of the living world, yawning at home before the fire of life feeling the presence of the living God like a great reassurance a deep calm in the heart a presence as of a master sitting at the board in his own and greater being, in the house of life. 9. Voices of the Iron Harp is a lovesong, written in 1986 as Wallach's personal farewell to the piano. It uses an open-ended variation form and the heroic poetic gestures of 19th- and 20th-century piano literature to explore and evoke the variety and gradations of mood and sound available through the keyboard from the heart of the iron harp inside. 10. The Firefighters' Prayer has been displayed on the windshields of fire trucks and on firehouse windows around the United States for generations. It's traditional words have had personal meaning to firefighters across the continent, a core of faith for lives built on daily acts of personal heroism. The words of "The Firefighters' Prayer" remain particularly poignant in the aftermath of September 11th. Touched by the traditional words immediately after that catastrophic event, Wallach found a melody hidden inside the prayer, built on elements of Irish folksongs of loss and longing. The stark contrast between the prayer and what we know to have been it's fulfillment infuses the folk-like music and poem with a stark dignity and a deep lyrical tenderness. When I am called to duty, Whenever flames may rage, Give me strength to save a life Whatever be it's age. Help me embrace a little child Before it is too late Or save an older person from The horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert And hear the weakest shout And quickly and efficiently Put the fire out. I want to fill my calling To give the best in me To guard my every neighbor, protect his property. And if according to Your will I must answer death's last call Bless with Your protecting hand My family one and all. 11. Organal Voices explores the timbral and psychological similarities and differences between the bassoon and vibraphone in an evocative, lyrical context. Each performer must find his individual voice, explore uniquely subtle colors and feelings during the 'quasi cadenza' moments, yet be able to blend gracefully with the other when playing together. Organal Voices' melodic material is entirely derived from the first four notes of the Dies Irae; and the title reflects the composer's idea of what it must have been like in the Middle Ages to begin to experience simple polyphonic textures with the advent of organum after centuries of monophony. Then, too, each performer must have found an increased awareness of the roles of other voices.


Title: Nightwatch
Release Date: 07/08/2012
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 700261805801
Item #: 418497X
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