1. Nomads (1974)
Nomads is a triple concerto for solo voice, solo brass instrument and solo percussionist. The solo parts are completely improvised and independent of each other and of the accompanying wind ensemble.
Oberlin Wind Ensemble and Brass Ensemble
Gene Young, Conductor
Henry Brant, Guest Conductor
New Directions concert, October 10, 1974, Finney Chapel, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Ohio
Steve Fallon, Voice
Dave Dimmock, Saxophone
Adam Rudolph, Drumset
2. Solar Moth (1979)
Solar Moth is a concerto for violin, accompanied by an ensemble of four violins, four violas, c-flute, alto flute, bass flute, harp, piano, marimba, and voice. It was planned for 8-track recording and was written for Daniel Kobialka, who plays the solo part as well as the accompanying violins and violas. All the other instruments are played by the composer, and the voice is Amy Snyder. Because of the long association of the three performers it was possible for the composer to dispense with notational aids, proceeding by verbal instruction alone. Nevertheless, the work was designed and realized with the pitch, time, and timbral controls associated with fully notated music.
…the infinite cycle of the Solar Moth directs its exit from the solar system, fully protected, bringing solar energy to all… in another phase of its cycle, the Moth races defenseless and suicidal towards its own solar immolation.
Regarding Solar Moth, as you can imagine it was a fantastic experience, Henry was in his very creative mood, asking me if I can play this and that, for this result, etc. as the composition was forming in his mind. It was such a touch of genius as Henry assembled all of the components in his mind, created the sketches and outlines, and off we were evolving another work of great imagination and fantasy. — Daniel Kobialka, 2004
World-renowned violinist Daniel Kobialka embraces both the classic and the avant-garde in his search to create sounds that enliven and heal. Kobialka was the founding concertmaster and soloist at the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, where he played alongside John Adams. Other important relationships that influenced Kobialka’s musical talents include such legendary musicians and composers as Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, Vivian Fine and Henry Brant.
Kobialka pioneered the development of the Zeta Polyphonic violin, a MIDI synthony instrument that can be played—and heard—in a very large space. He has commissioned over 30 works from such composers as Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Wuorinen, William Bolcom, and Wayne Peterson.
Kobialka’s music is the core of a series of studies linking sound with CAM — complimentary and alternative medicine for health and healing. At the center of Kobialka’s focus is the rejuvenative power of music.
Kobialka has been Principal 2nd Violinist with the San Francisco Symphony for over two decades, occupying the Dinner and Swig Families Chair. In addition to his many performances worldwide, he is the founding concertmaster and annual soloist with San Francisco’s annual Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra under George Cleve, with whom he has recorded Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 1. Michael Tilsen Thomas states, "Daniel Kobialka brings to life music of the past, present and future, and communicates true joy."
"A sensitive and intelligent performer with a natural gift for his instrument." — Aaron Copland
“Kobialka is a musician of unusual strength and devotion." — Leonard Bernstein
Recording engineer; Bob Shumaker
Recorded at 1750 Arch Studios, Berkeley, CA, and originally released on the 1750 Arch Records label (S-1795). Rereleased courtesy of Thomas Buckner.
Solar Moth appeared on the New York Times list of The Year's Best Recordings for 1983
3. Ghost Nets (1988)
Ghost Nets, in one movement, is a concerto for solo double bass with two widely separated chamber orchestras and one isolated horn. The music takes, as its point of departure, the destruction of marine life in the northern Pacific, via drifting purse seine (nets).
...The nets are unfurled at night from the stern of the boats. Stretching from 10 to 30 miles, they hang as deep as 25 feet down into the water, a nylon curtain that snares anything in its path. At dawn the winches are started and the nets hauled in. Along with the intended catch of salmon, tuna or squid, other, unwanted species are also trapped in the nets, decked and then quickly thrown overboard. In this way seabirds, sharks, dolphins, seals and porpoises die by the thousands. The killers are the northern Pacific driftnet fleets comprising over 1,700 boats, which trail 20,000 miles of net every night with devastating effect, drowning hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine mammals each year. Miles of discarded driftnets, called ghost nets, continue for years to kill fish and marine animals, until the nets sink to the bottom under the weight of the corpses...
Ghost Nets was commissioned by Lewis Paer, who presented the premiere performance at Bennington College in August 1988. Mr. Paer also performed the Baltimore and Washington DC premieres in March 1989 with the American Camerata, directed by the composer and John Stephens. It was recorded in concert at the College of Notre Dame on March 21, 1989 in Baltimore, MD.
Bassist Lewis Paer’s appearances on record include Steve Reich and Musicians, the soundtrack to Fame, Newband’s Harry Partch instruments, and many more. He is the principal bassist of the New York City Opera and the American Ballet Theater Orchestra. Mr. Paer is on the faculty of the Chamber Music Conference of the East at Bennington College and the Affinis Seminar of Japan. He appears regularly as a guest artist with such presenting groups as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New York City Ensemble, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's.
The work was originally recorded on the AmCam label (ACR-10309). Used by kind permission of John Stephens and the AmCam Board. Original recording produced and mastered by Gerald Lewis
The American Camerata for New Music, having been founded in September of 1974, is bringing to its audiences performances of outstanding works of the 20th and 21st centuries, meaning not only those works which have already established themselves as the innovative reorganizers of sound in these times, but also the works being written today which, in time, will take their rightful place beside those acknowledged masterpieces of our time. The ensemble consists of fifteen outstanding artist performers who, singularly and collectively, devote themselves to the performance of the most profoundly creative and revolutionary composers of our time.
John Stephens and Henry Brant, conductors
Lewis Paer, Double Bass solo
Joel Berman, concertmaster
HENRY BRANT was born in Montreal in 1913 of American parents and began to compose at the age of eight. In 1929 he moved to New York where for the next 20 years he composed and conducted for radio, films, ballet and jazz groups, at the same time composing experimentally for the concert hall. From 1947 to 1955 he taught orchestration and conducted ensembles at Juilliard School and Columbia University. At Bennington College, from 1957 to 1980, he taught composition; and every year he presented premieres of orchestral and choral works by living composers. Since 1981 Brant has made his home in Santa Barbara, California.
In 1950 Brant began to write spatial music of a particular kind in which the planned positioning of the performers throughout the hall, as well as on stage, is an essential factor in the composing scheme. This procedure, which limits and defines the contrasted music assigned to each performing group, takes as its point of departure the ideas of Charles Ives. Brant’s principal works since 1950 are all spatial; his catalogue now comprises over 100 such works, each for a different instrumentation, each requiring a different spatial deployment in the hall, and with maximum distances between groups prescribed in every case. All of Brant’s spatial works have been commissioned.
Over the past two decades, Brant’s spatial music has explored ever wider areas and larger performing forces: Orbits (1979) for 80 trombones and organ; Meteor Farm (1982), a multicultural work for expanded orchestra, two choirs, jazz band, gamelan ensemble, African drummers/singers and South Indian soloists (each group retaining unaltered its traditional music); and Fire on the Amstel (1984) for four boatloads of 25 flutes each, four jazz drummers, four church carillons, three brass bands and four street organs—a three-hour aquatic procession through the canals in the center of Amsterdam. These and many subsequent works deal with environmental subjects, as does Desert Forests (1983) for multiple orchestral groups; and Northern Lights Over the Twin Cities (1985), which deployed two choirs, orchestra, jazz band, large wind ensemble, large percussion ensemble, five pianos, bagpipe band and five solo singers throughout a sports arena in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 1994 Henry Brant completed A Concord Symphony, his orchestration of Ives’s Concord Sonata, a project begun in 1958. He conducted its premiere in Ottawa in June 1995. This was followed by Dormant Craters, for percussion orchestra, which he introduced at an outdoor premiere in Lincoln Center, New York in August 1995. Brant’s most recent major work is Ice Field for large orchestral groups and organ. Ice Field was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in December 2001 and received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Remastered for innova by David Dunn
Executive Producer, Design: Philip Blackburn
Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation
and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Also on innova:
The Henry Brant Collection, Volume 1: Northern Lights Over the Twin Cities, A Plan of the Air (innova 408)