The image of the title comes from a recorded statement by artist, Arnie Bittleman - "I found a feather while walking down a road. The feather, if you look closely, has a landscape, a cloudscape in it" (Cambridge, NY, 1970). The piece is in one continuous movement with three main sections -- cloudscape (fast, light, woodwind-dominated), landscape (slow, string-dominated), and mountain-scape (fast, rhythmic, brass and percussion to the fore). "Walking" passages (with hints of NY folksongs) link the sections. – HT
From the Feather to the Mountain was composed in 2004 in response to a commission from the Empire State Youth Orchestra to celebrate their 25th anniversary season. The premiere took place March 20, 2005 in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall with the Empire State Youth Orchestra conducted by Helen Cha-Pyo.
Performed here by the Slovak Radio Orchestra, Kirk Trevor, conductor. (Audio is the beginning.)
High Rock Spring was commissioned by the Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra. It is a love story with fanfare elements (commemorating the 10th anniversary of the orchestra, 2009) and echoes of an Adirondack folksong (The Maiden’s Lament as sung by Sara Cleveland). No longer flowing, High Rock Spring survives as a low, dry, dome-shaped rock close to the center of Saratoga Springs – the town it predates by hundreds of years.* The composition presents the idea of “rock” in low brass and double reeds and the idea of “water” in lyrical strings, harp, and mallet percussion. High Rock Spring celebrates the fleeting union of the rock and the water. – HT
The word, reibo, appears in the titles of many solo pieces for the Japanese vertical bamboo flute – the shakuhachi. Rei means “bell” and bo means “yearning”, so a rough translation is “Yearning for the Bell”. The tone poem, Reibo, takes the idea of “bells” and applies it to the bells of journeying (opening section), the bells of prayer (slow middle section), and the bells of meditation (closing section). – HT
Composed in 2009-2010, Reibo was commissioned by the Community Women's Orchestra directed by Dr. Kathleen McGuire, for its 25th Anniversary Season, with funding provided by the Open Meadows Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation, Jacqueline Hoefer Fund. – HT
Dedication: Reibo is dedicated to intrepid conductor and women’s music advocate, Karla Lemon, 1954-2009.
Sarsen is in three movements, each inspired by a particular “standing stone” or “sarsen.” The first movement, “Adirondack,” suggests the powerful presence of a wind-swept erratic in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The Bat Rock in the Garden of the Master of the Nets in Suzhou, China, inspired the second movement. The standing stone of the last movement, “Avebury,” is part of an avenue of such stones leading to the largest stone circle in Europe. It is a ritual stone set in a ceremonial landscape, quite different from the natural wilderness setting of the first movement and the stylized, formal garden of the second movement. Each of the movements nay be performed separately, although there are echoes of the first in the second and third; in particular, the brass fanfare which opens “Adirondack” returns at the conclusion of “Avebury.” – HT
Sarsen was composed during the autumn of 2001 in response to a joint commission from the Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra and the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-River-Falls.