New Music from Bowling Green
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Velvet Brown gives a tremendous performance of John Williams' Tuba Concerto -- one of four important works on this recording.

About her piece blue cathedral Jennifer Higdon writes: " the sky. Where all possibilities soar. Cathedrals...a place of thought, growth, spiritual expression...serving as a symbolic doorway into and out of this world. Cathedrals represent a place of beginnings, endings, solitude, fellowship, contemplation, knowledge and growth. These were my thoughts when the Curtis Institute of Music (where she teaches) commissioned me to write a work to commemorate its 75th anniversary. Curtis is a house of knowledge - a place to reach towards that beautiful expression of the soul which comes through music. Coming to the writing of this piece at a unique juncture in my life, I found myself pondering the question of what makes a life. The recent loss of my younger brother, Andrew Blue, made me reflect on the amazing journeys that we all make, especially at Curtis, where the pursuit of "the singing soul" is what music and life are all about. This piece represents the expression of the individual and the whole of the group...our journeys and the places our souls carry us." Braxton Blake studied composition with Samuel Adler, Warren Benson and Joseph Schwantner at Eastman, where he also served as director of the school's Musica Nova ensemble. He has also studied at the Bayreuth Festival, the Dartington Festival and the Staatliche Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, Germany. "In composing these songs, I decided to mirror the directness of Dorothy Parker's poetry in my music. I enjoy composing in a variety of styles, and it seemed appropriate to borrow just a bit from Parker's era, as will be immediately clear to the listener. These songs are cabaret songs - though not specifically meant for a cabaret. Like many cabaret songs, they are narrative scenes, all with contrasting music." Daniel S. Godfrey earned bachelor's and master's degrees in composition from Yale University and a Ph.D from the University of Iowa. He is professor of music in the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University and has held visiting faculty appointments at the Indiana University School of Music, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Pittsburgh. "Lightscape was commissioned for and premiered by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in 1997. The idea of light in this work is abstract, having as much to do with 'inner' as outer light. The concluding measures, however, do have an external source: the deep glow and fade of sunsets among the islands of the mid-coast Maine. The high-point of the piece reflects a line in the Rig Veda (with which the score is inscribed): "May we soar like birds, far beyond the sun, blazing with Thy light." About his Tuba Concerto John Williams writes: "I really don't know why I wrote it - just urge and instinct. I've always liked the tuba and even used to play it a little. I wrote a big tuba solo for a Dick Van Dyke movie called Fitzwilly and ever since I've kept composing for it - it's such an agile instrument, like a huge cornet. I've also put passages in for some of my pets in the orchestra - solos for the flute and English horn, for the horn quartet and a trio of trumpets. It's light and tuneful and I hope it has enough events in it to make it fun."
Jennifer Higdon, composer
blue cathedral
Bowling Green Philharmonia, Emily Freeman Brown, conductor

Braxton Blake, composer
Dorothy Parker Songs
Bowling Green Philharmonia, Emily Freeman Brown, conductor, Feda Herseth, mezzo-soprano

Daniel S. Godfrey, composer
Bowling Green Philharmonia, Emily Freeman Brown, conductor

John Williams, composer
Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra
Bowling Green Philharmonia, Emily Freeman Brown, conductor, Velvet Brown, tuba

Review to come.
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