ANN MILLIKAN, BALLAD NOCTURNE

INNOVA 713

 

Tracks:

 

1    BALLAD NOCTURNE                                                                                           [12:53]

      Emanuele Arciuli, piano

 

      TRILHAS DE SOMBRA                                                                                       [29:27]

2     I.   Kira’s Journey                                                                                                          [9:18]

3     II.  Snow World                                                                                              [9:50]

4     III. Battling Oligarn Batrone                                                                               [10:19]

 

5    LANDING INSIDE THE INSIDE OF AN ANIMAL                      [14:32]

 

Total  [56:52]

 

BULGARIAN NATIONAL RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Grigor Palikarov, conductor

Emanuele Arciuli, piano

 

Publishing: All works by Ann Millikan (ASCAP) Sword Dance Publishing Co., www.annmillikan.com

 

BALLAD NOCTURNE for piano and chamber orchestra (2009)

flute (piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, Bb trumpet, percussion, strings

 

Ballad Nocturne was commissioned by Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino for Italian virtuoso pianist Emanuele Arciuli. Mr. Arciuli is very rare in that he has a close connection to jazz without being an improviser. Though I left the jazz world 20 years ago to become a classical composer, it never left me. It is part of how I hear, influencing the lines, sonorities, and rhythms that I write. The idea came to me to write him a composition that had both the expressive feel of a jazz ballad and the flowing, lyrical style of a nocturne for orchestra.

 

Nocturnes typically have an ABA structure, containing a development section of the material, offset by a contrasting middle section, before a reprise of the opening material. Ballad Nocturne follows this form, building and developing from a simple melody and accompaniment typical to the nocturne style, with modal jazz harmony. Then for the ballad and the nocturne music to grow from that little seed and become a "third thing" was my goal. By exploring these two genres together I discovered a synergy that felt completely natural. It is my great honor to place this music in the hands of such an extraordinary pianist as Emanuele Arciuli.

 

TRILHAS DE SOMBRA (2009)                        I.   Kira’s Journey

                                                                                          II.  Snow World

                                                                                          III. Battling Oligarn Batrone

 

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 Bb clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 Bb trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, 3 percussion, celesta, strings

 

Trilhas de Sombra, “Shadow Trails,” is a three-movement work based on a story written for my Brazilian niece, Gabriela. Each movement amplifies major events in the story. Kira, a girl from a river town in the Amazon, suddenly finds herself in another world, the Snow World, where she is called upon to do something only she can do. Entering the deepest layers of the Snow World through Shadow Trials, Kira experiences the place from where all sound originates and where it must return every winter in order to survive.

 

Story Excerpt:

All the while the sound grew in intensity to where Kira could almost feel it on her skin. They were inside it, like a thick cloud of tiny vapor particles. Below her was a valley, and beyond it more mountains. She called out, but unlike fading echoes, the sound grew louder as it approached from the distance, as if her own voice was running up to her. Then it became even more complex like a chandelier of sparkling colored glass that held together in the air around her. She began to sing into it and felt the sound vibrating in her skull. Kira pointed her sword again, this time straight down into the mountain. Everything changed. Now the sounds were much more varied – high sounds and low sounds – like a roomful of people all talking and singing at once. There were even sounds she recognized – birds, frogs, raccoons, also water, river rocks clunking, wind in trees. It was the most beautiful sound she’d ever heard.  –Ann Millikan

 

LANDING INSIDE THE INSIDE OF AN ANIMAL (2008)

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 Bb clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 Bb trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, 3 percussion, strings

 

Landing Inside the Inside of an Animal, is a story of initiation. It begins in darkness, full of anticipation, and quickly takes off like a swirling storm. The energy builds and bursts forth as the trumpets call out with drums responding.  There is a sense that something is about to begin. But it is interrupted and pulled back into the swirling energy that grows and then dissipates into the underworld. Within this complex constantly shifting place, the challenge is to find a way out. When the ‘drum and pipe’ are finally heard, the opening is near, and soon the swirling picks up and bursts forth again. This time we move forward, the trumpets and drums calling everyone out into the streets. A procession begins that leads into a huge celebration – with a samba, contest dances, and a fanfare.

 

ANN MILLIKAN

Ann Millikan’s music has been described as “tonally challenging yet emotionally involving” (Joseph Woodard, LA Times), “packed with propellant polyrhythmic textures” (New Sounds, WNYC), and “characterized by high energy and a quirky inventiveness that defies easy categorization...Her scoring is clean and transparent and her felicities of orchestration are among the most attractive elements in her work.” (Stephen Eddins, All Music). Millikan composes concert music for orchestra, chamber ensembles and choir, as well as interdisciplinary projects involving theatre and dance. Rhythmic vitality is a powerful force in her music, stemming from previous years playing jazz, African and Brazilian music. Her music is expressive and colorful, moving freely between atonal and tonal/modal languages depending upon the overall desired effect. She creates rich orchestral textures that are characterized by layering, rhythmic juxtaposition, and complex counterpoint. Millikan received her MFA in Composition from the California Institute of the Arts where her mentors were Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Stephen L. Mosko, and her BA in Music–Jazz Concentration (jazz piano, voice and composition) from San Jose State University. She has studied West African percussion from Senegal and Ghana, and many years of classical voice. Her works have been performed by Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, Emanuele Arciuli, California EAR Unit, Zeitgeist, Citywinds, New Century Players, Oregon Repertory Singers, Grace Cathedral Men's Choir, and Joan La Barbara, among others. She has garnered awards from the California Arts Council, American Music Center, ASCAP, American Composers Forum, Meet The Composer, Argosy Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Zellerbach Family Fund, Berkeley Civic Arts Program, and Waging Peace Through Singing (Highest Honors). Millikan's debut album, "The Music of Ann Millikan featuring the California EAR Unit" is available on the Innova label.

 

CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I will never forget the ecstatic sound of swifts whizzing between buildings in downtown Sofia, our daily Shopska salads, and the flow of people moving about cobblestone streets and side walks in that fascinating 7,000 year-old city. My heartfelt thanks to Grigor Palikarov and the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Emanuele Arciuli, Nickolai Kolarov, the funders, and my partner Brent Michael Davids for all of the hard work and support that went into this project.

 

BULGARIAN NATIONAL RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Grigor Palikarov, conductor

Emanuele Arciuli, piano

 

Sound Recording Engineer: Sava Lavsov

Recording/Editing Engineer: Valentin Ivanov

Studio Engineer: Marin Marinov

Technical Personnel: Krassimir Petev

Executive Producer: Vladimir Hristozov

Manager: Darina Galova

Contractor: Nickolai Kolarov

Yavor Jelev, flute solo (tracks 2, 4)

Hristo Tanev, cello solo (tracks 2,4)

Milen Kehayov, piccolo solo (track 5)

Guest artist: Fernando Meza, percussion (tracks 1-4)

Producers: Ann Millikan and Brent Michael Davids

Executive Producer: Ann Millikan

Music Editing & Mastering: Brent Michael Davids, Blue Butterfly Theatre

CD Design: Ann Millikan and Brent Michael Davids

Photoshop & Photography: Brent Michael Davids

Cover Art, Sword Dance Publishing Co. Logo: Ann Millikan

All works recorded June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 2009 at Studio 1 of The Bulgarian National Radio

Innova Director: Philip Blackburn

Operations Manager: Chris Campbell

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation

:

Supported by the Jerome Foundation, and

Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund