Song/Cycles

Mormon Artists Group is pleased

to announce the publication of


Song/Cycles






















Limited edition (above)                        Paperback edition (above)



Art Songs


The art song sits in the intersection of poetry and music. Historically it is a collaboration of the best poets and composers, having produced a musical literature that includes virtually every great classical and contemporary composer in the Western world. There exist thousands of art songs (Schubert wrote nearly 600).The texts of towering poets from nearly every age and continent have been source material for art songs: Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante, Pushkin, Mallarmé, Whitman, Dickinson, and many, many more.


Art songs are concert works known, depending on the language of the texts, as lieder, chansons, canciones, canzoni, etc., and they are programmed by vocal recitalists either individually or in groups of songs by a single composer. Frequently, composers have written sets of songs to be performed together as song cycles. These works tell stories, examine a certain theme or condition, or contrast works by a single poet or similar ideas between multiple poets. In commercial pop music, the concept album is a contemporary extension of the song cycle. For interpreters of music, a song cycle presents a monumental challenge of pure expression. For lovers of music, this extended opportunity to explore an idea in depth creates its own, richly imagined world.


Song/Cycles


Mormon Artists Group approached six LDS composers - Murray Boren, Daniel Bradshaw, Harriet Petherick Bushman, Charis Bean Duke, Lansing McLoskey, and David H. Sargent - with the idea of writing original song cycles for solo voice and piano accompaniment using poetry by LDS authors. This is an enormous undertaking, years in development. It involves a process of selecting poems, arranging them in sequence, composing the works (which are up to 34 minutes each in performance), preparing and editing finished scores, finding and coaching singers and accompanists for performance, recording each work, and publishing the scores and recordings. It is a broad list of composers. These men and women reside in Hawaii, Kuwait, Utah, Florida, and North Carolina. This is an unprecedented commercial project for its ambition and scope, one that seeks to redefine what art in Mormon culture can be.


Each composer found his or her own poetry. This is a task larger than it appears, if only because the potential is so elevated. These composers, who represent the breadth of the best of our classical music voice today, selected poets who have achieved prominence in American Letters. The poets have enviable awards, grants, nominations, academic posts and publications to their credit. Their works appear in the leading venues of American poetry, such as New Republic, Southern Review, Poetry, The Midwest Quarterly, and Paris Review. The poets are Elaine M. Craig, Susan Howe, Lance Larsen, Glen Nelson, Will Reger, and Javen Tanner.


Excerpts


We have placed excerpts of each of the works on our website . To listen, click here.


The Limited Edition Volume


For Song/Cycles, each composer prepared a score for publication and a recording of its performance, either a studio recording or a live taping of a premiere. The limited edition volume includes all six scores, audio recordings, and a panel discussion with the composers on the topics of creative process, poetry, the connections between themselves and other LDS composers, and an analysis of a section of their scores. In total, Song/Cycles is 182 pages.


Each score is bound separately as an accordion-fold book. The pages, printed on heavy Mohawk Superfine paper, 8.5” x 11”, are joined together by connecting loose sheets with tape to construct one, long sheet; this allows for several pages to be visible at once which is especially convenient for page-turning at the keyboard. The scores, the recording, and the 10-page panel discussion (also bound as an accordion-fold book) are housed in a portfolio box 9” x 11.5” x 2”. It is covered in Cotlin, a flecked linen/cotton bookcloth, imported from Germany. The box features an inset panel of inlaid goose eggshell and black leather. It is published in an edition limited to 10 copies.

A paperback edition is also available, 8”x10”, 182 pp. It includes the six scores and the roundtable discussion only.


Song/Cycles - limited edition - no longer available

Song/Cycles - paperback edition - $19.95



The Works


Here are the works in Song/Cycles, their authors, a brief description of their themes and length in performance:


The Dead Praying for Me - Daniel Bradshaw (music)/Lance Larsen (poetry) - for high voice and piano; four songs about nature and mankind and also the dead who watch us. 15 minutes, approximate duration.


Notes - David H. Sargent/Elaine M. Craig - for mezzo-soprano and piano; four songs about relationships that are both touching and funny. 12 minutes.

Mary Keeps All These Things - Harriet Petherick Bushman/Susan Howe - for soprano and piano; four songs that tell the nativity story from Mary’s viewpoint. 10 minutes


Seven Sisters - Murray Boren/Glen Nelson - for soprano and piano; seven songs; each is a narrative of a contemporary LDS woman. 34 minutes.


Sudden Music - Lansing McLoskey/Javen Tanner - for soprano and piano; four songs about nature, memory, loss, and peace. 16 minutes.


Töchterliebe - Charis Bean Duke/Will Reger - for baritone and piano; seven songs of a father to his daughter about his love for her; playful, touching, nostalgic. 12 minutes.


The Composers


Murray Boren is a prolific composer of symphonies and orchestral works, chamber works, and choral and solo vocal music. Starting as a student at BYU in the 1970s and then returning to its compositional faculty, Boren has distinguished himself in many genres. He was formerly composer-in-residence at Brigham Young University. His compositions have been performed widely. His ten operas are based on secular literature (The Singer’s Romance, The Dead) and religious themes including Abraham & Isaac, Emma, and The Book of Gold.


Daniel Bradshaw is Assistant Professor of Music at BYU-Hawaii. He has written in a variety of styles and genres, from large orchestral works to interactive electronic pieces. His orchestral work Chaconne was recently featured on Performance Today as performed by the Minnesota Orchestra. Through a recent commission from the Barlow Endowment, he wrote Delights and Shadows, a song cycle on texts by Ted Kooser which was premiered in venues across the U.S. by Metropolitan Opera singer Ariel Bybee and violinist Alison Dalton of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Current projects include Osanna, Alleluia for choir and a newly-commissioned work for Ignace Jang, concertmaster of the Honolulu Symphony. Professional honors include awards from the American Music Center (Composer Assistance Program Grant), the Minnesota Orchestra, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and the American Composers Orchestra.


Harriet Petherick Bushman is primarily a composer of musicals and choral works.  After training as a concert pianist at the Royal Academy of Music in London and in Europe, she toured as a soloist and chamber musician. Later, she concentrated on writing for BBC and Channel 4 TV, a song cycle on James Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach (1987), an album of mixed genre pop songs using LDS hymn texts Hymns for the Soul (2001), and writing her first musical The Dream Dealer (2002) which has since been performed on four continents, including winning an Edinburgh Sell-Out at the Fringe Festival 2006.  However, almost the first proper commission was from the Barlow Foundation for a cantata, Now Behold, A Marvelous Work, for 16 voices and keyboard instruments (1987). The Invisible Monkey (London 2003/4), Discoveries: Songs on Mormon Women’s Poetry (USA 2004), 1856 Long Walk Home; A Concert Opera (USA 2006), The Rhythm Method (London 2006) The Little Prince (Kuwait, 2007) and songs and incidental music for inclusion in Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew and Othello (Kuwait 2008/9) all followed, and Kuwait 2010 saw the composition and production of Gideon: A Jazz Oratorio for Choir, Soloists and Jazz Band.  She is currently teaching privately in Kuwait, accompanying for husband Richard’s opera company, playing chamber music and working on two new musicals: Bee-ing and Sing Me to Sleep.


Charis Duke was born in Walnut Creek, California.  She attended Brigham Young University where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition.  She received a Fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a Master of Music degree in Composition.  Her music has been performed by numerous ensembles including the Jezic Ensemble of Baltimore, the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, the Boston Viola Quartet, and the Cincinnati Camerata.  She has received numerous honors and awards, most notably the Nancy van de Vate International Prize for Opera from Vienna Masterworks.  She is a four-time winner of the International Christmas Carol and Chanukah song writing competition, and most recently won the Cincinnati Camerata Prize for choral music.  She has also written numerous children’s operas which are performed annually at the Arts Academy in Clovis, New Mexico.  Her current project is a production of her new children’s opera, Northern Tales.


Lansing McLoskey came to the world of composition via a somewhat unorthodox route. The proverbial “Three B’s” for him were not Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but rather The Beatles, Bauhaus and Black Flag. McLoskey is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. From 2004-2009 he was Co-President of Composers in Red Sneakers, one of the oldest composer consortiums in the country. Among his numerous awards are the 2009 newEar First Annual Composition Competition, the 2009 American Composers Forum/LA National Composition Competition, the Omaha Symphony International New Music Competition (First Prize), Charles Ives Center Orchestral Composition Competition, and the Paris New Music Review International Composition Competition (First Prize). McLoskey has received dozens of commissions and grants, including from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Pew Charitable Trusts. McLoskey’s music has been performed at nearly two dozen music festivals. Recent performances include those at Tanglewood, the International Contemporary Art Festival in León, Mexico, the Aspen Institute, the XVIII International Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru, a performance in Rome by The Freon Ensemble, and premieres in Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and Melbourne, Australia. 


David H. Sargent has taught Composition and Music Theory at Brigham Young University for 32 years. Since his arrival at BYU in 1976, his music has been performed throughout the United States as well as internationally: Germany, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Wales, England, Bolivia and Canada. Some of his most prized compositions include Praise Ye Him for a capella choir (SATB) and cello, premiered by the Utah Baroque Ensemble at the International Kodály Symposium, Leicester, England; Images for brass and percussion, premiered by members of the Eastman Brass and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester, New York; Millennium II, premiered by the Wind Ensemble at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas; In Burning Vision: Sonnets on Joseph Smith, a five-movement song cycle for tenor and piano, commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition for the BYU School of Music's celebration of the Prophet Joseph Smith's 200th birthday, and Kaleidoscope for oboe, bassoon and piano, premiered at the 2007 International Double Reed Society convention in Ithica, New York. In June 2008, several pieces were performed in Toulouse, France; Rome and Florence, Italy; and Lucerne, Switzerland; including premiere performances of a new choral work. In 1999, he was awarded the Harold R. Laycock Professorship in composition at BYU, which he has held ever since.