Robert Moran


Innova 714



1. Da enstünde ein Engel          8:52

Chrismos Vocal Ensemble, Alexander Hermann, dir.


2. Cortege           7:11
Grassauer Bläserensemble


3. Elegy for a Young King         8:39

Robert Ridgell, organ of Trinity, Wall Street

4. Mantra             9:28

Latvian Radio Chorus

5. Obrigado        4:02
6. Stirling: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs                15:42

7. Kboco              10:01
Iowa Percussion, Dan Moore, dir.


8. Processional                  2:36
Robert Ridgell, organ of Trinity, Wall Street


Total: 66:46

Da enstünde ein Engel  (2006) is written for SATB chorus, ten brass players, organ; the premiere was by the Chrismos Vocal Ensemble (Munich), the Grassauer Bläserensemble, conducted by Alexander Hermann; the text is by Meister Eckhart.  This recording of the world premiere comes from the concert at the Ingolstadt Dom, March 17, 2007, Bavaria.  This score was commissioned by the Dekanat Ingolstadt for the famous Liebfrauenmünster Ingolstadt and by Chrismos.  Producer and Recording Engineer: Reinhard Drube

......da entstünde ein Engel......



In gleicher Weise, als ob einer vor einem hohen Berge stünde und riefe:

in the-same manner, as if one before a high mountain stood and called:


Bist Du da?”  und der Schall und der Hall riefe wieder: “Bist Du da?”

"Are you there?" and the sound of the echo called back: "Are you there?"


Oder er spräche:  Komm heraus!” und der Schall antwortete:“Komm heraus!”

He would-speak: "come out!" and the echo answered: "Come out!"


Ja, wer in dem Lichte das Holz sähe, da entstünde ein Engel

Yes, those who saw the wood in the light saw an angel appear


und ein Vernünftiger und nicht allein vernünftig, es würde lauter Vernunft,

and a reasonable-one and not just reasonable, it was pure reason,

(and a real angel, and not just real but the essence of reality)


in der reinen Erstheit, die da eine Erfüllung aller Reinheit ist.

in the pure originality, that there a fulfillment of all purity is.

(in its primal purity, that the completion of all purity stands.)


Translation by Stephen Swanson, Professor of Voice, Interim Director of Opera, The University of Iowa


CORTEGE  (2005) for 4 trumpets (in C), horn, 3 trombones, contrabass trombone, tuba was written for the Grassauer Bläserensemble, Bavaria. The premiere was on November 27, 2005 at the Herz Jesu Church, Munich.  This recording comes from the second performance, March 17, 2007, at the Ingolstadt Dom, Bavaria, conducted by Alexander Hermann.  Producer and Recording Engineer:  Reinhard Drube

ELEGY FOR A YOUNG KING  (1999) was composed for organ with the possible addition of 'variable' instruments.  The reference to the 'king' in the title is that of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

The world premiere was in Stuttgart, Germany (Oct. 1999), Alexander Hermann, organ.  The US premiere was given at the Philadelphia Cathedral, Robert Ridgell, organ.  Since that time, "Elegy..." has been presented throughout Europe, Australia and the USA.
The score is a basic harmonic structure allowing the soloist (and others) to semi-improvise.  The duration is open.

King Ludwig II was called "The Mad King."  He refused to spend any money on war and destruction.  He built his castles instead.  He hated his family members who had to speak to him as "Your Royal Majesty," while his Bavarian subjects could address him as "Du" (the personal "you" in German).   Just three weeks after his death by drowning (accidental?  a political murder?), his castles were open to tourists.  Since that time Bavaria has "cashed in royally" from tourists from all over the world.  So who said he was 'mad'?

MANTRA (1995) is composed for three choruses, at great distances from each other, no text.  This live recording comes from the 1997 Latvian Radio Chorus concert, conducted by Otto Hotarek, Fritz Neumeyer, Tomas Brantner.  Recording engineer:  Jurij Spignin

OBRIGADO  (1995) was written at the request of the National Symphony Orchestra for its celebration of the 25th Year of the Kennedy Center.  As a short salute to the event (in Portuguese, OBRIGADO is "thank you"), I composed this short percussion work, one for four players with an optional part composed for piano.  The premiere, March 1996, used the percussion ensemble.  This 2007 recording by the IOWA PERCUSSION is conducted by Dan Moore and includes the piano part.  Performers:
Virginia Armstrong, Meggie Aube, Jamie Bahr, Lucas Bernier, Christopher Sande

STIRLING: IT'S RAINING CATS AND DOGS (2007) was commissioned by Patricia and Michael Scullin for their standard poodle, Stirling.  Moran writes, “Stirling always ‘vacations’ with me, across the street from his home with the Scullins in Philadelphia.  He's neurotic even in his ‘senior citizen state,’ vastly amusing and entertaining.  He was not however amused to learn that Goethe, in writing his FAUST Part I, used the image of the black poodle, running across the landscape, as the first appearance of the Devil.
When the Scullins commissioned this work, I wrote to Dan Moore and asked of his interest in yet another percussion work.   The answer being ‘YES,’ I then asked which instruments might his extraordinary students enjoy playing.  Dan sent back a dazzling list of percussion including rain sticks from the Amazon, bells, an endless number of marimbas and vibraphones, chimes, prepared piano ...on and on, and I wrote him back, ‘That's splendid - we'll use them all, along with the 18 players on numerous other instruments.’”

STIRLING: IT'S RAINING CATS AND DOGS is a ‘musical landscape in rain.’  The sound of the rain is not a ‘background color’ but an integral sound-event from start to finish. This is a live recording from the world premiere, April 12, 2008 by Iowa Percussion, Dan Moore, director.

The instrumental groups are:
Group A:  four marimbas, glockenspiel (sounding 2 octaves higher than written), thunder sheets, didgeridoo, one prayer bowl, one wine glass (partially filled with whatever)
Group B:  two vibraphones, celeste (sounding 1 octave higher than written), triangle, timpani, bongos, wind chimes, one wine glass (partially filled with whatever)
Group C:  two vibraphones, three timpani (high, med, low), three suspended cymbals (high med, low), tambourine, ocean drum, one prayer bowl, bongos
Group D:  prepared piano, bass drum, chimes, high timpani, toy piano, wind chimes, one prayer bowl, bongos
Group E:  two marimbas, three tams (high, med, low), tambourine, Thai gongs (one octave), xylophone (sounding one octave higher than written), seed pods, three wine glasses (partially filled with whatever, three different pitches)
Besides these percussion groups, there are two players, each with a rainstick.

The players are:  Meggie Aube, Christine Augspurger, Jamie Bahr, Adam Balling, Robert Baner, Lucas Bernier, Forrest Heusinkveld, Scott Jennerjohn, Daniel Lesieur, Robert McCabe, Joseph Panganiban, Caleb Pearson, Molly Rod, Brody Ross, Christopher Sande, David Solomon, Jennifer Spaulding, Justin Ullestad with Dan Moore, conducting.


Rain and Thunder recorded by Philip Blackburn

Recorded Live by Joel Boyer

Edited and Mixed by Dan Moore

KBOCO  (2006) is the name of a Brazilian graffiti artist I greatly admire.  His work throughout Sao Paulo, Brazil, along with other brilliant graffiti artists, inspired this new dance work, commissioned by the choreographer Armando Duarte, and composed for him, his dancers at The University of Iowa (Iowa City) and the wonderful Iowa Percussion conducted by Dan Moore.  Armando introduced me to the work of many Sao Paulo graffiti artists prior to the actual composing of the work.  I became addicted!  


KBOCO is composed for a huge battery of percussion, and it was my fortune to write for this splendid ensemble, IOWA PERCUSSION, and for Armando and Dan.

The percussion ensemble:
Virginia Armstrong, Meggie Aube, Jamie Bahr, Ernest Jennings, Michael Moehlmann, Christopher Sande, Jeffrey Strom

Recorded December 12, 2006, Clapp Recital Hall, The University of Iowa
Recorded by Joel Boyer
Edited and Mixed by Dan Moore

PROCESSIONAL  (2005) is Moran's 'wedding march present' to Robert Ridgell; the manuscript states:
“For the Sacrament of Matrimony of Soo-Jin Kim and Robert Ridgell

The recordings of Elegy and Processional come from Trinity Wall Street (May 2008). Thanks to Robert Ridgell, organist, and Lenny Manchess, sound engineer



Robert Moran has already written his place into the rich tapestry of contemporary music that has flourished in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century.  Whilst Glass, Reich, and Riley trod the various paths towards “minimalism,” Moran was composing and organizing “performance art” spectaculars such as THIRTY NINE MINUTES FOR THIRTY NINE AUTOS — a deceptive title for a piece which used 100,000 performers and most of downtown San Francisco — premiered in August 1969, or HALLELUJAH (April 1971) using most of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and twenty marching bands, forty church choirs, gospel groups, etc. Whilst these great multi-media events may have been a product of their time, in Moran’s case they point to an underlying philosophy that sees music as a shared experience.  In terms of this shared experience with his performers, he wrote a series of graphic scores in the 1960s and 1970s, which, while controlling the elements of structure, gave the performer a distinctly creative role.  As art in themselves, these scores have been exhibited throughout the world, including a most important show at Berlin’s Academy of Art, and a two-year period in the Lincoln Center Library for the Arts (1980-82).


Having studied with Apostel (in Vienna) and then Berio and Milhaud, Moran co-founded the San Francisco New Music Ensemble at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the mid-1960s.  His time in America’s west coast culminated in an evening of his works given by the San Francisco Symphony in August 1974.


Soon after, he moved to West Berlin as composer-in-residence as a guest of the German government.  There he fulfilled many commissions including works for children and also composed his third city-piece, PACHELBEL PROMENADE, for the city of Graz in Austria.  A year before Moran returned to the US as composer-in-residence at Northwestern University in 1977, he wrote WALTZ IN MEMORIAM: MAURICE RAVEL.  This became the start of a collaboration with friend Robert Helps to put together a collection of twenty-five piano waltzes from twenty-five composers, including works by Babbitt, Cage, Glass, Helps, Moran and Sessions.  The entire collection was premiered at Chicago’s Art Institute in May 1978 and recorded as “Waltz Project” in 1981, becoming one of the most fascinating ventures of the late ‘70s.


Moran’s work on the Waltzes eventually led to a further collaboration with Philip Glass in 1985 with the opera THE JUNIPER TREE.  In the past few years, living out of Philadelphia, Moran has composed full-time but for several lecture tours, fulfilling many commissions including two operas, DESERT OF ROSES (premiered February 1992) for Houston Grand Opera, and FROM THE TOWERS OF THE MOON (premiered March 1992) for the Minnesota Opera, both to libretti by Michael John LaChiusa.   Moran’s chamber opera THE DRACULA DIARY was commissioned by BMG and premiered via Houston Grand Opera (1994) using a libretto by James Skofield.


Commentators have remarked on how Moran’s style has changed to a more direct musical language.  John Schaefer, in his seminal book “New Sounds,” quotes Moran as saying that the PACHELBEL PROMENADE turned out “shockingly Romantic” and, in another typical piece of Moran’s self-deprecating humor, how some of the works of the early 1980s were “disgracefully pretty.”  Whilst the idea of the shared experience in his earlier works was often through the listener being an active part of the creation, he developed his musical language to bring in the “pure” listener.  Indeed Moran’s music developed at the beginning of the 1980s into realms of tonality — tonality not used in a dialectical sense but as a sonority in its own right.


‑ Notes on the composer by Andrew Cornall



ROBERT P. RIDGELL is the twenty-first Assistant Organist of historic Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City.  Ridgell was Associate Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City, where he was also the Director of the Eccles Organ Festival and choral/music theory professor of the Madeleine Choir School.  Ridgell has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and South Korea and remains an active clinician, teacher, and improvisateur.  In 2004, he was a finalist of the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation.  He has performed at various sacred music conferences including the 2005 National Association of Pastoral Musicians and the Royal School of Church Music Carolina's Course and Organ Institute.  A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Ridgell was a chorister of Christ Church and studied piano with Delorus Heyd and Dzidra Reimanis.  His organ teachers include David M. Lowry, Marilyn Keiser, and Stefan Engels.

Studied Organ at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich and a masterclass with Prof. Lionel Rogg at the Conservatory of Music in Genf, Switzerland.  In 1996 Mr. Hermann received the “Premier Prix de Virtuosité”.  He has had numerous concerts tours throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Argentina and the USA, and received many prizes and awards for his presentation of exciting, varied programs including his own music.  In 1998 Mr. Hermann created the vocal ensemble, CHRISMOS, mainly for the purpose of presenting contemporary choral music.  Among some of the most impressive premiere performances with this ensemble, the most enthusiastically received were the two concerts at Munich’s famed Frauenkirche (2001) and the magnificent cathedral in Ingolstadt (2003).

Dan Moore is an internationally known musician, composer, and educator.  He
performs throughout the U.S. and in international venues such as the 2008 Festival of Percussion in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the 2007 International Marimba Festival in Chiapas, Mexico; the International Percussion Festival in Patagonia, Argentina (2005, 2006); conservatories in The People's Republic of China (2002, 2006); and in Valletta, capital of the Mediterranean island nation Malta (2007).

Dr. Moore is professor of music and percussion area head at the University of
Iowa.  As Director of Iowa Percussion, he is responsible for the many elements
of the percussion program, which encompasses everything from contemporary
chamber music to steel band, from traditional Chinese drumming to other ethnic
music, and from concert percussion to improvised and electronic music.

He is a Yamaha national performing artist, a signature mallet artist for
Innovative Percussion, an educational board member for the Latin Percussion
Music Group (LP), an artist for Sabian cymbals and Grover tambourines and
triangles, and a member of the Zendrum 21st Century Techno-Tribe.  He serves on
the Board of Directors for the Percussive Arts Society International Organization for Percussionists.

Moran's scores are published by:
Charlotte Benson Music Publishers (BMI)
Box 54202
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Also by Moran on innova:

Open Veins (innova 627)


This recording is supported by a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund, Inc., Recording Fund.

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn, director, design

Chris Campbell, operations manager

As this CD was in preparation the Iowa River flooded and swamped many areas of Iowa City, including the Music Building, home of Iowa Percussion.  We dedicate this CD to their recovery efforts.