Of Radiance and Refraction
ft. Zorá String Quartet
1. Hor che’l ciel e la terra (2014)* for chorus and 4 percussionists
John Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, James Cromer & Andrew Riley, percussion
2. The Giver of Stars (2015)* for chorus a cappella
3. Virginia: The West (2013)* for chorus a cappella
Malcolm Cooper & Mark Phillips, tenor; Sooyeon Kim & Cecilia Ratna, soprano
In Flight (2015)*+ for chorus and electronics
4. I. Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (William Carlos Williams)
Nicolas Chuaqui, tenor
5. II. July (Linda Allardt)
6. III. Flying at Night (Ted Kooser)
7. IV. Flying Inside Your Own Body (Margaret Atwood)
Kellie Motter, soprano
8. V. Night City (Elizabeth Bishop)
Elisabeth Culpepper, mezzo-soprano
Trois pièces pour quatuor á cordes (1914, rev. 1918)
Zorá String Quartet Dechopol Kowintaweewat & Seula Lee, violin
Pablo Muñoz Salido, viola & Zizai Ning, cello
12. Stravinsky Refracted (2015)*^
A Musical Setting of Amy Lowell’s poem
“Stravinsky’s Three Pieces ‘Grotesques’, for String Quartet”
Tabitha Burchett, soprano; Michael Linert, countertenor
Christopher Sokolowski, tenor; Erik Krohg, baritone
Brent te Velde, organ; Marco Schirripa & Andrew Riley, percussion
Ji Eun Hwang & Aviva Hakanoglu, violin; Haojian Wang, viola; Magdalena Sas, cello
* Commissioned by NOTUS. World Premiere Recording.
+ Made possible with support from an IU New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities Grant, with additional support from the Camargo Foundation.
^ The commissioning of this work by NOTUS was made possible by the support of the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music. annstookeyfund.org
* Baker / DiOrio
^ Gibson / Sandström
Tabitha Burchett *
Katie Burk ^
Michaella Calzaretta ^ associate conductor 2015-16
Nai-Chia Chen *
Carolyn Craig *^
Martha Eason *~
Rebecca Ehren ~
Elise Marie Kennedy ~
Sooyeon Kim ~
Kellie Motter *^
Sandra Periord ~
Cecilia Ratna ~
Martha Sliva *
Synthia Steiman (Gibson)
Maya Vansuch *^
Alice Baldwin *~
Chelsea Brinda (Sandström)
Elisabeth Culpepper ^
Grace Fillip ^
Gabrielle Gaudreault *^
Livia Gho (14-15) * assistant conductor 2014-15
Marianthi Hatzis (DiOrio/Gibson)
Courtney Jameson *^
Jaeeun Kim ~ assistant conductor 2013-14
Ji-Hyun Kim ^
Michael Linert *
Sheh Feng Ng *
Erica Schoelkopf ~
Patricia Wallinga *^~
Alex Berko ^
Bille Bruley (Sandström)
Nicolas Chuaqui *^
Malcolm Cooper ~
Mason Copeland ~
Michael Day (DiOrio)
Michael Gebhart *
Nickolas Karageorgiou ~
Gregory McClelland (Gibson)
Paul Mortilla *^
Brian Pawlak ^
Mark Phillips *~
Christopher Prestia ~
Nicholas Quardokus *
Michael Sikich ~
Charles Snell ^ assistant conductor 2015-16
Christopher Sokolowski *
Baritones / Basses
Steven Berlanga (Baker/DiOrio/Sandström) * associate conductor 2014-15
Carlo Vincetti Frizzo ~ associate conductor 2013-14
David Harrison *
Michael Kim-Sheng ^
Erik Krohg *
Sunwoo Lee ~
Connor Lidell ^~
Luka Marinkovic ^
James Maverick *
David McNeil (Gibson)
Julian Morris ~
Justin Parish ^
Peter James Pendowski *
Matthew Recio *^
Corey Rubin *^~
Michael Wade ^
Jon Wasserman ~
Note from the Director
If a debut is a grand affair, then six debuts must be cause for great celebration. Six debuts that is, if one counts five world premiere recordings of new compositions and the first commercially-released album for NOTUS, Indiana University’s contemporary vocal ensemble. On this album, we are delighted to share with you five new works that demonstrate the extraordinary creativity and ability of faculty composers and student singers at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. These works were recorded over a period of three years from March 2014 to April 2016 with five entirely different rosters of student singers.
For Claude Baker, Aaron Travers and John Gibson, this album marks the release of their first major works for vocal ensemble. Their three pieces could not be more distinct. Aaron chooses the a cappella ensemble as his canvas, painting the quick shifts of mood and environment Whitman experiences on the battlefield. Claude Baker takes another “Claude” as his inspiration as he actively quotes and reimagines a work from Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals. While Aaron plays in extreme contrasts with voices alone, Claude amplifies Monteverdi’s music with a battery of percussion that often suggests and brushes more than it insists and beats. The voices of Petrarch and Monteverdi sound across centuries through a tapestry of cymbal sheen made mercurial with pedal glissandi on the timpani.
Our album is anchored by John Gibson’s major new work for chorus and electronics, In Flight. His music is paradoxically dark and brooding, light and airy, witty and sardonic. While we only observe Icarus drowning and half-submerged in Brueghel’s painting, we hear the full story in John’s first movement: an opening pastoral scene transforms into the moment of melting “wings’ wax,” with Icarus’ death “quite unnoticed” by the surrounding folk. The goldfinch of the second poem is drawn with harmony out of jazz and sound effects reminiscent of white noise, while the third poem’s constellations swim through a more molecular and symmetrical pitchscape. The fourth movement moves toward the most fulfilling cathartic peak on the word “love”—a love which is short-lived, as the emotional crash of the poet is met with music of equal divisiveness. The fifth movement concludes the set with an atmosphere of smog and metal, of stuttering voices and desolate remains.
Sven-David Sandström and I are no strangers to the choral instrument, having written countless works for choruses of all sizes. We open our record with The Giver of Stars, Sven-David’s beautiful meditation on Amy Lowell’s evocative words. I also set the words of Amy Lowell in Stravinsky Refracted, but these two poems could not be more distinct, and the music follows suit in raucous and bombastic fashion. We are so thrilled to feature the Zorá String Quartet—impeccable artists and winners of the Fischoff competition—as they perform the Three Pieces of Igor Stravinsky that served as inspiration for Lowell’s text and my resulting work.
This varied and eclectic tapestry of sounds is our daily bread. We are NOTUS. Thanks for listening.
PROGRAM NOTES FOR
HOR CHE’L CIEL E LA TERRA
“Hor che’l ciel e la terra” for Twenty-Four-Voice Chorus and Four Percussionists is a “reimagining” of the second work in Claudio Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals, Madrigali guerrieri ed amorosi (Madrigals of War and Love), published in 1638. The original is a setting of a sonnet by Petrarch for six voices, two violins and continuo and is unquestionably one of Monteverdi’s greatest masterpieces:
Hor che’l ciel e la terra e’l vento tace Now that heaven and earth and wind are still
e le fere e gli augelli il sonno affrena, and slumber has enthralled wild beasts and birds,
notte il carro stellato in giro mena , and night leads her starry chariot about,
e nel suo letto il mar senz’onda giace; and the waveless sea reposes on his bed;
Veglio, penso, ardo, piango ; e chi mi sface I wake, I ponder, I burn, I weep; and she who undoes me
sempre m’è innanzi per mia dolce pena: is always before me in my sweet pain:
Guerra è’l mio stato, [d’ira e di duol piena;]* War is my lot, [full of wrath and grief;]*
e sol di lei pensando ho qualche pace. and only in thinking of her do I have some peace.
Così sol d’una chiara fonte viva Thus, from a single, clear, living spring
move’l dolce e l’amaro [ond’io mi pasco; flows both the sweet and the bitter [that comfort me;
una man sola mi risana e punge.]* a single hand both cures me and wounds.]*
[E perchè’l mio martir non giunga a riva,]* [And since my martyrdom has no end,]*
mille volte il dì moro, e mille nasco; a thousandfold each day I die, and a thousandfold I am reborn;
tanto dalla salute mia son lunge. so far am I from my salvation.
*Passages in brackets are not included in my setting.
Like the book of madrigals as a whole, Monteverdi divides this work into two parts, the first corresponding to the opening eight lines of Petrarch’s sonnet, and the second, to its final six lines. Further mirroring the overall structure of the volume, the first part depicts the pursuit of love through the allegory of war (the battle to conquer love), and the second part chronicles the uncertainty and unhappiness of being in love. Too, each part is split into three sections, conforming to the layout of the text.
In my treatment of the madrigal, I adhere to the general construction of the original, making both distorted and literal references to Monteverdi’s music. The six-part vocal texture is now expanded four-fold, and the violins and continuo are supplanted by a modest percussion complement of membranes, woods and metals.
“Hor che’l ciel e la terra” was commissioned by NOTUS, an elite contemporary vocal ensemble at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and is dedicated to the group’s director, Dominick DiOrio.
Claude Baker (b. 1948) earned his doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, where his principal composition teachers were Samuel Adler and Warren Benson. The professional honors he has received as a composer include an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards; a “Manuel de Falla” Prize from the Government of Spain; the Pogorzelski-Yankee Prize from the American Guild of Organists; the Eastman-Leonard and George Eastman Prizes; BMI-SCA and ASCAP awards; commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and Meet the Composer (now New Music USA); a Paul Fromm Residency at the American Academy in Rome; and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the state arts councils of Indiana, Kentucky, and New York. At the beginning of the 1991-92 concert season, he was appointed Composer-in-Residence of the St. Louis Symphony, a position he held for eight years. He is currently Class of 1956 Chancellor’s Professor of Composition in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington.
The Swedish composer and teacher, Sven-David Sandström, studied art history and musicology at the University of Stockholm from 1963 to 1967. He attended composition and classes with Ingvar Lidholm at the Stockholm Musikhögskolan from 1967 to 1972. He also took special courses in advanced techniques of composition with Gyorgy Ligeti and Per Norgard. He received numerous awards and prizes, including the Christ Johnson Prize and Major Award, Nordic Council Award and the Buxtehude Award. In 1981 Sven-David Sandström joined the faculty of the Stockholm Musikhögskolan. In 1983 he served as chairman of the Swedish section of the ISCM. Former professor of composition and pro-Rektor, Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sven-David Sandström served as professor for composition at the Indiana University School of Music from 1998-2008, and from 2012 to the present. In his early works Sven-David Sandström made use of quarter-tone tuning. Later he turned to tonal and modal writing. His works have been performed throughout Scandinavia and Europe by the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam; the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble, the H"gersten Motet Choir and others. Catalogue of published and performed compositions includes more than ninety works in various genres. Recent large-scale works include De ur alla minnen fallna - Missa da requiem, for soloists, chorus and orchestra; High Mass for soloists, chorus and orchestra; the oratorio Moses for the 300th anniversary of the Oslo Cathedral; and the full-length opera Staden (The City). Published by Gehrmans, Warner/Chappell, Nordiska Musikförlaget and other; and recorded on BIS, MAP, CBS and other labels.
Hold your soul open for my welcoming.
Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me
With its clear and rippled coolness,
That, loose-limbed and weary, I find rest,
Outstretched upon your peace, as on a bed of ivory.
Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me,
That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire,
The life and joy of tongues of flame,
And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune,
I may rouse the blear-eyed world,
And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten.
Text: Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
Acclaimed Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström is no stranger to choral audiences. His music for chorus was at the forefront of the avant-garde in the 70’s and 80’s – particularly his stunning cluster-filled Agnus Dei – before turning to a more tonal and romantic idiom. More recently, he has taken early music as inspiration, most especially in his completion of Purcell’s Hear My Prayer, O Lord and in his reimagining of the music on the text from the Bach motets and Handel’s Messiah.
The Giver of Stars is intimate and evocative, as lush 12-part chords sweep over the listener. At times, you feel as if you are being embraced by a lover. The harmonic world is awash with seventh chords and stepwise dissonances, in both plaintive and hushed pianissimos and fire-filled forte allegros.
Aaron Travers is associate professor of composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Born in Portsmouth, Va., in 1975, he earned a B.M. in Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1997, studying with Richard Hoffmann, as well as a B.A. in Classics from Oberlin College the same year. He later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Composition from the Eastman School of Music in 2003 and 2005, respectively. His teachers there included Sydney Hodkinson, Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky. and Augusta Read Thomas.
Travers has received numerous awards and commissions. He has twice won the Belle Gitelman Award in Composition and the Howard Hanson Orchestra Prize, both from Eastman. He has also won the AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition, the Chicago Symphony First Hearing Award, the Barlow Prize from the Barlow Endowment of Brigham Young University, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award, and both a Charles Ives Scholarship and Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He has received commissions from the Frost Wind Ensemble of the University of Miami, Ars Mobilis, the Fromm Foundation, the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music, the Third Coast Percussion Quartet, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, among numerous others. Travers' works have been performed widely throughout the United States and Canada as well as in select locations in France and Mexico. In addition, his pieces have been featured at the Festival Les Solistes aux Serres d'Auteil and the Festival de Violoncelle, both in France, as well as the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music in Lenox, Mass.
The noble sire fallen on evil days,
I saw with hand uplifted, menacing, brandishing,
(Memories of old in abeyance, love and faith in abeyance,)
The insane knife toward the Mother of All.
The noble son on sinewy feet advancing,
I saw, out of the land of prairies, land of Ohio's waters and of Indiana,
To the rescue the stalwart giant hurry his plenteous offspring,
Drest in blue, bearing their trusty rifles on their shoulders.
Then the Mother of All with calm voice speaking,
As to you Rebellious, (I seemed to hear her say,) why strive against
me, and why seek my life?
When you yourself forever provide to defend me?
For you provided me Washington--and now these also.
Text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892), “Virginia: The West” from Drum Taps
Walt Whitman’s poem “Virginia: The West” from Drum Taps was always a favorite of mine since I was a teenager. At the time I first encountered the poem, I only half understood it, though its powerful and savage imagery deeply affected me. As such, when I received the commission from NOTUS to write a short choral work for them, finding a text was fairly easy. “Virginia—the West” lends itself very well to a choral setting, with its different characters (the noble sire, the noble son, the stalwart giant, the Mother of All) and its rather public subject matter—the Civil War. Whitman’s allegiance to the North is clear in this poem, unlike later poems in Drum Taps, where a certain ambivalence takes shape. The South is represented by the noble sire, the elder man who turned from his country and threatens its very survival. Musically, this is reflected in the use of an older style, Notre Dame organum—Perotin served as a useful model. The noble son represents the North, the savior, manifested in the score as quick, fugal passages with a more “modern” harmonic language. The voice of the Mother of All, the country itself, is given to two soprano soli, though her voice grows and soon envelops the entire chorus by the end. The piece is only four minutes long, though there is a great variety of textures, densities and tempi, an attempt at keeping up with the many changes in character, mood, and voice prevalent in the text. It was a welcome challenge to write it, and I sincerely thank Dominick DiOrio and NOTUS for offering me the chance to do so. —Aaron Travers
John Gibson (b. 1960)
In Flight (2015) * world premiere
Texts: Linda Allardt, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Bishop, Ted Kooser, and William Carlos Williams
I. Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
the whole pageantry
of the year was
the edge of the sea
sweating in the sun
the wings’ wax
off the coast
a splash quite unnoticed
-- William Carlos Williams
The goldfinch dives
into the shade of the maple
and flashes up again so fast
the arc on the retina lasts
longer than the flight.
-- Linda Allardt
III. Flying at Night
Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.
-- Ted Kooser
IV. Flying Inside Your Own Body
Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you’ll lift like a balloon
and your heart is light too & huge,
beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun’s white winds blow through you,
there’s nothing above you,
you see the earth now as an oval jewel,
radiant & seablue with love.
It’s only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist,
a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in;
the sun’s a hot copper weight pressing straight
down on the thick pink rind of your skull.
It’s always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot.
-- Margaret Atwood
V. Night City
[from the plane]
No foot could endure it,
shoes are too thin.
Broken glass, broken bottles,
heaps of them burn.
Over those fires
no one could walk:
those flaring acids
and variegated bloods.
The city burns tears.
A gathered lake
begins to smoke.
The city burns guilt.
the central heat
must be this intense.
bright turgid blood,
in clots of gold
to where run, molten,
in the dark environs
green and luminous
A pool of bitumen
wept by himself,
a blackened moon.
a skyscraper up.
its wires drip.
fights for air
in a dread vacuum.
The sky is dead.
(Still there are creatures,
careful ones, overhead.
They set down their feet, they walk
green, red; green, red.)
-- Elizabeth Bishop
The texts of In Flight engage the theme of flight in several of its manifestations: the flight of birds, the myth of Icarus, imaginary levitating in dreams, and the private reflections of jet passengers. The varied approaches of the poets whose work I set allows for a wide range of tone and affect, from Linda Allardt’s light depiction of a goldfinch in flight to Elizabeth Bishop’s account of a an airplane passing over an urban landscape, during which the passenger imagines terrifying violence and decay. The music of In Flight tracks the shifts in attitude and perspective embodied in these texts and explores the mysteries of flight, both real and metaphorical.
In “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” William Carlos Williams constructs a narrative around an unusual painting by Bruegel that enacts the myth of Icarus in a Renaissance pastoral scene. The farmers in the foreground of the painting seem unconcerned with Icarus tumbling into the sea in the distance. My setting uses a blend of hocketing, wordless voices and computer-generated sound-washes to create an image of the sea, glinting in the sunlight, while a tenor solo describes the scene leading to Icarus’ plunge, as well as the casual reaction of the farmers. The piece develops slowly from the opening mood, intensifying only briefly for the moment when the sun melts the wings’ wax, and Icarus falls and drowns.
In the second movement, I aim to capture the feeling of the poem, “July,” by Linda Allardt, in which a goldfinch flits about the branches of a maple tree. The short, diverse phrases match the bird’s swift flight. The singers alternate between declamation of the text and more unusual, noisy vocal production.
Ted Kooser’s “Flying at Night” considers what it’s like to see city and country lights from the air. He compares the lights seen below with the novas and galaxies in the sky above. The gravitational pull of celestial bodies is a metaphor for the way the city lights seem to draw isolated country lights into an orbit. I treated the airplane as a center of melodic symmetry, with lines above the center, in the stars, reflecting lines below, on the ground.
The fourth movement, a setting of Margaret Atwood’s “Flying Inside Your Own Body,” describes an exhilarating dream: you fly like a bird, floating lightly above the earth, with the sun shining happily above you. But, as with Icarus, all good things come to an end, and in this text the image of waking from such a dream is particularly cruel. The moment when the mood crashes — with far more impact than is shown in the Bruegel painting — is the emotional pivot of In Flight. Most of the music that precedes this moment is light and uplifting, but the tone of the rest of In Flight is anxious and oppressive.
Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “Night City,” was written during the later years of the Vietnam war and references that era’s urban unrest. As in Kooser’s poem, the narrator is a jet passenger, but the placid, meditative thoughts expressed in “Flying at Night” contrast with Bishop’s horrific depiction of life on the ground below. The chaotic city in flames and its scenes of industrial contamination give way at the end of the poem to the calm and deliberate process of an airplane landing. My setting opens with a mysterious disembodied voice intoning the text, while the choir extends the sound of the spikey notes produced by the computer. Later, the choir sings most of the text while the computer supplies a range of textures, from an urban-inspired drum track to jittery sonic gestures.
John Gibson composes acoustic and electroacoustic music that has been performed worldwide and is available on the Centaur, Everglade, Innova, and SEAMUS labels. He seeks to complement and extend the musical inflections of performers using vivid electronic sound, sometimes generated on the fly by the software he develops. His music embraces influences ranging from contemporary classical to jazz, funk, and electronica. He has received significant awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, IMEB Bourges, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Camargo Foundation. He is an associate professor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. For more information, please visit http://john-gibson.com.
Dominick DiOrio (b. 1984)
Stravinsky Refracted (2015)
Before discussing my work, it might be helpful to understand Amy Lowell’s fascination with Stravinsky and his music. We turn to a quotation from Regina Schober’s article, “Amy Lowell’s Peasant Dance” in American Studies, Vol. 53, No. 2, (2008):
“Amy Lowell wrote the poem Stravinsky’s Three Pieces ‘Grotesques’, for String Quartet shortly after hearing the music in a concert on December 2, 1915. The Flonzaley Quartet played the contemporary pieces from a manuscript in Jordan Hall, Boston after the recital of a Pierrot plot, obviously meant as a program to the pieces. Only a few days later, on December 11, 1915, did Lowell finish the poem, which was then published in Men, Women, and Ghosts in 1916. Samuel Foster Damon recalls Lowell’s great enthusiasm for the music: ‘The vitality and poignancy of the music, however, appealed instantly to Miss Lowell; by December 11, she was informing everybody that she had written one of her best poems about the ‘Three Pieces’ or ‘Grotesques,’ and that no editor could ever understand the poem unless he also understood Stravinsky’.”
Despite the implied “Grotesque”-ness of Lowell’s title, there is no negative connotation here. In fact, Lowell had nothing but admiration for Stravinsky’s music. Schober goes on to argue that Lowell helped to take elements of Stravinsky’s Russian folklorist idiom (as exemplified in Three Pieces) and transform them into the then-in-vogue American modernist concept of primitivism.
My aim has been a further musical transformation. While Lowell’s poem was influenced by the sound qualities and folklorist gestures of Stravinsky’s pieces, I wish to complete the circle and return these words to music. I have taken cues from both of these artists. I use much of the original musical content of Stravinsky’s pieces (motives, pitch content, entire phrases verbatim), but I also add further dimensions of timbral interest and color in scoring for instruments suggested by Lowell’s poem: the drums, organ, and voices in my setting are all suggested by her text; they complement the original quartet of strings given by Stravinsky.
I have been “actively quoting” music of older composers now since 2008, most recently in vocal works using fragments of Purcell, Brahms, Britten, and Hildegard. Stravinsky Refracted stands as the next work in this long creative experiment, and I do believe it is the best one yet. It is undoubtedly a work of my own imagination, infused with my peculiar penchant for rhythmic irregularity and crescendi of increasing thicknesses, as well as declamatory vocal writing with an easily intelligible setting of the text. It is also undoubtedly a work indebted to the poetry of Igor Stravinsky and the music of Amy Lowell, as each artist would most assuredly attest.
It is with immense gratitude that I offer public thanks to the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, without whom the creation and performance of this work would never have been possible.
“Stravinsky’s Three Pieces “Grotesques”, for String Quartet” by Amy Lowell, Men, Women, and Ghosts (1916)
Thin-voiced, nasal pipes
Drawing sound out and out
Until it is a screeching thread,
Sharp and cutting, sharp and cutting,
Bump! Bump! Tong-ti-bump!
There are drums here,
And wooden shoes beating the round, grey stones
Of the market-place.
Sabots slapping the worn, old stones,
And a shaking and cracking of dancing bones;
Clumsy and hard they are,
Losing half a beat
Because the stones are slippery.
Bump-e-ty-tong! Whee-e-e! Tong!
The thin Spring leaves
Shake to the banging of shoes.
Shoes beat, slap,
And the nasal pipes squeal with their pigs' voices,
Little pigs' voices
Weaving among the dancers,
A fine white thread
Linking up the dancers.
Bang! Bump! Tong!
Delirium flapping its thigh-bones;
Red, blue, yellow,
Drunkenness steaming in colours;
Red, yellow, blue,
Colours and flesh weaving together,
In and out, with the dance,
Coarse stuffs and hot flesh weaving together.
Pigs' cries white and tenuous,
White and painful,
Pale violin music whiffs across the moon,
A pale smoke of violin music blows over the moon,
Cherry petals fall and flutter,
And the white Pierrot,
Wreathed in the smoke of the violins,
Splashed with cherry petals falling, falling,
Claws a grave for himself in the fresh earth
With his finger-nails.
An organ growls in the heavy roof-groins of a church,
It wheezes and coughs.
The nave is blue with incense,
Snaking over the heads of the chanting priests.
'Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine';
The priests whine their bastard Latin
And the censers swing and click.
The priests walk endlessly
Round and round,
Droning their Latin
Off the key.
The organ crashes out in a flaring chord,
And the priests hitch their chant up half a tone.
'Dies illa, dies irae,
Calamitatis et miseriae,
Dies magna et amara valde.'
A wind rattles the leaded windows.
The little pear-shaped candle flames leap and flutter,
'Dies illa, dies irae;'
The swaying smoke drifts over the altar,
'Calamitatis et miseriae;'
The shuffling priests sprinkle holy water,
'Dies magna et amara valde;'
And there is a stark stillness in the midst of them
Stretched upon a bier.
His ears are stone to the organ,
His eyes are flint to the candles,
His body is ice to the water.
Whine, shuffle, genuflect,
He will always be as rigid as he is now
Until he crumbles away in a dust heap.
'Lacrymosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.'
Above the grey pillars the roof is in darkness.
“These Winds are a god-sent kind, and a great blessing to men.”
– Hesiod on Notos, Greek god of the south wind
NOTUS is one of the country’s most prestigious collegiate vocal ensembles, unique in its commitment to championing living composers through the commissioning, programming, and recording of new works. It seeks to electrify the choral canon through new music that inspires, provokes, moves, and heals audiences and performers alike. Under the baton of conductor Dominick DiOrio, NOTUS has performed across the nation, from regional and national ACDA conferences to Carnegie Hall.
Over the course of its history, NOTUS has delivered premiere or second performances of more than 150 new works in the choral repertoire. This astonishing achievement includes recent commissions and premieres by Claude Baker, John Gibson, P.Q. Phan, Sven-David Sandström, Aaron Travers, and Zachary Wadsworth. In addition to these ground-breaking new works, NOTUS regularly programs a rich and eclectic array of leading contemporary composers, such as Chen Yi, Eriks Esenvalds, Sofia Gubaidulina, Sydney Guillaume, Ted Hearne, James MacMillan, Nico Muhly, Tawnie Olson, and Christopher Theofanidis.
In between its rigorous concert schedule, NOTUS works tirelessly to nurture composers and singers through mutually inspiring artist residencies. In 2013, the ensemble was honored to collaborate with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and guest conductor and former King’s Singer Simon Carrington. These partnerships build global connections for the ensemble, and contribute to the group’s expertise with the challenges of contemporary repertory.
In honor of its academic origins, NOTUS is proud to also shine a spotlight on the talent of Indiana University’s very own student composers through an annual contest for new choral works. Winning compositions receive premiere performances by NOTUS and often launch national careers for their young composers, such as IU alumni Texu Kim, Matthew Recio, and Corey Rubin. In 2016, NOTUS member and IU student Alex Berko won this contest with the composition Forgiven Tears, which went on to be named winner of the ACDA Raymond W. Brock Memorial Student Composition Prize.
NOTUS was originally founded in 1980 as the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, but was renamed in 2013 after the selection of its fourth director, Dominick DiOrio. The choir’s new name was inspired by Notos, the Greek god of the south wind, who brings cleansing storms for a new season. Previous directors include Alan Harler (1980-1981), Jan Harrington (1981-1992), and Carmen Helena Téllez (1992-2012).
Dominick DiOrio is an innovative young composer and conductor who has won widespread acclaim for his contributions to American music. Whether leading an ensemble or crafting a new score, DiOrio brings equal passion and determination to his work in choral and instrumental music.
As a composer, DiOrio has been hailed for an intelligent, evocative style, which shows “a tour de force of inventive thinking and unique colour” (Gramophone). In 2014, DiOrio won the American Prize in Composition. His works have appeared at major American venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center — as well as internationally — and been performed by renowned artists including Nathan Gunn and Yvonne Gonzales Redman. DiOrio’s recent commissioning partners include the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, eighth blackbird, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, and several universities including Princeton, Cornell, and the Universities of Michigan and Illinois.
DiOrio made his conducting debut at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall when he was 28 years old. He has conducted performances with ensembles around the world, from the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and the Houston Chamber Choir to Allmänna Sången and Ars Veritas. In addition, DiOrio is the youngest-ever tenured member of the conducting faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His duties there include leading the elite chamber chorus NOTUS, which champions the work of living composers in concerts across the nation, including at regional and national ACDA conferences. In 2014, Indiana University awarded DiOrio the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, a recognition for promising young faculty.
DiOrio earned his DMA, MMA, and MM degrees in conducting from the Yale School of Music, and his BM in composition from Ithaca College. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Chorus America, Treasurer for the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Chair of the Standing Committee on Composition Initiatives for ACDA.
THE ZORÁ STRING QUARTET
Dechopol Kowintaweewat & Seula Lee, violins
Pablo Munoz Salido, viola Zizai Ning, cello
The Zorá String Quartet leapt to national attention in 2015, after capturing the Grand Prize and Gold Medal of the 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and First Prizes in the Coleman National Chamber Music and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
Since gaining notoriety, the Quartet has toured extensively. They were named the Quartet in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music and gave their New York and Washington, DC debuts in the Young Concert Artists Series, to critical acclaim. In the United States, they have appeared at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Chamber Music Northwest. Abroad they have performed at Wigmore Hall, the Banff Centre and the Verbier Academy, among others. The Quartet has collaborated with Pullitzer-Prize-winning American composter Caroline Shaw, cellist Peter Wiley, clarinetist David Shifrin, violist Roberto Diaz, and has worked extensively with the Tákacs Quartet, the Pacifica Quartet and the American String Quartet.
The Zorá String Quartet aspires to educate individual students, serve as mentors for collegiate-level string players, and initiate outreach projects to introduce new audiences to chamber music.
The Quartet’s members earned prestigious Chamber Music Performer’s Diplomas from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and served as the graduate quartet-in-residence under the tutelage of the Pacifica Quartet and Atar Arad.
Mix Engineer (Full Album): D. James Tagg
Mastering Engineer: D. James Tagg
Producers: D. James Tagg (tr. 4-8, 12); Konrad Strauss (tr. 1-3); Jessica Davis-Tagg (tr. 9-11)
Audio Engineers: D. James Tagg (tr. 1, 4-12); Mark Hood (tr. 2), Konrad Strauss (tr. 3)
Assistant Audio Engineers: Johnathan Bruns (tr. 1); Daniel Talton (tr. 3); Walter Hans Vorbush Everton (tr. 2, 4-8); Nathaniel Davis (tr. 12)
Album and Booklet Designer: Jennie Moser
Copy Editors: Anh Le & Dominick DiOrio
Photography Credits: Matt Dine (Zorá), Synthia Steiman (NOTUS), & Nina Yoshida Nelsen (DiOrio)
Innova Director: Philip Blackburn
Operations Director: Chris Campbell
Publicist: Tim Igel
Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.
Zorá String Quartet is represented by Young Concert Artists, Inc. (www.yca.org).
Funding for this album was provided by a Collaborative Fellowship Grant from the Indiana University Institute of Advanced Study, with additional support from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Funding for the commissioning of “In Flight” was provided by an Indiana University New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Grant, with additional funding support from the Camargo Foundation.
Funding for the commissioning of “Stravinsky Refracted” by Indiana University was provided by the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music (www.annstookeyfund.org).
Track 4 text: “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” by William Carlos Williams, from THE COLLECTED POEMS: VOLUME II, 1939-1962, copyright © 1962 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Track 5 text: “July” was published in River Effect, Brockport, NY: State Street Press, 1998. Copyright © by Linda Allardt. Used by kind permission of the author.
Track 6 text: Lyrics from the poem “Flying at Night” from One World at a Time, by Ted Kooser, copyright © 1985. All rights controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Track 7 text: “Flying Inside Your Own Body,” by Margaret Atwood, from the poetry collection SELECTED POEMS II, 1976-1986, published in the United States by Houghton Mifflin, copyright ©Margaret Atwood 1976 and SELECTED POEMS: 1966-1984, published in Canada by Oxford University Press, copyright © Margaret Atwood, 1990. All rights reserved; used with permission.
Track 8 text: “Night City” from POEMS by Elizabeth Bishop. Copyright © 2011 by The Alice H. Methfessel Trust. Publisher’s note and compilation copyright © 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Used by arrangement with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.
Texts from tracks 1, 2, 3, and 12 are public domain.
 “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” by William Carlos Williams, from THE COLLECTED POEMS: VOLUME II, 1939-1962, copyright © 1962 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
 “July” was published in River Effect, Brockport, NY: State Street Press, 1998. Copyright © by Linda Allardt. Used by kind permission of the author.
 Lyrics from the poem “Flying at Night” from One World at a Time, by Ted Kooser, copyright © 1985. All rights controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
 “Flying Inside Your Own Body,” by Margaret Atwood, from the poetry collection SELECTED POEMS II, 1976-1986, published in the United States by Houghton Mifflin, copyright ©Margaret Atwood 1976 and SELECTED POEMS: 1966-1984, published in Canada by Oxford University Press, copyright © Margaret Atwood, 1990. All rights reserved.
 “Night City” from POEMS by Elizabeth Bishop. Copyright © 2011 by The Alice H. Methfessel Trust. Publisher’s note and compilation copyright © 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Used by arrangement with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.