Karim Al-Zand: Music: Winter Scenes


Winter Scenes

four songs on poetry of D. G. Jones

The piece was a commissioned to be presented to a large undergraduate music class at Harvard University called ‘First Nights’, taught by Thomas Kelly. The course, designed for non-music majors, focuses on five famous pieces of music, both as woks of art and as moments of cultural history: Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. In addition to analytical listening and examination of the music, they read many contemporary source documents about the premieres such as letters, diaries, reviews and the like. At the end of the term a composer is commissioned to write a new work that is both rehearsed and premiered in the class.

imageThe four poems which comprise Winter Scenes are by the esteemed Canadian poet D. G. Jones (pictured left) and are taken from diverse collections, though they are united by a common theme: winter. They are arranged in a chronological or ‘seasonal’ order, beginning with the cold of deep winter in February, the first poem, through to the rejuvenation of spring in Thaw, the last. The two longer poems frame the two inner, very brief poems, which are like ‘vignettes.’ In keeping with the nature of the commission, some compositional details are included which served a pedagogical purpose: an inverted canon (in Winter Hills), a passacaglia (in February), pitch palindromes (in View From My Window), and modes of limited transposition (in Thaw).

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score
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DATE
1997

DURATION
13 minutes

INSTRUMENTATION
mezzo-soprano, flute (/alto flute), harp, viola

COMMISSION
Fromm Foundation

MOVEMENTS
1. February
2. Winter Hills
3. View From My WIndow
4. Thaw

PREMIÈRE
December 16, 1997, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge MA
Jacqueline Zander, mezzo-soprano | Virginia Crumb, harp | Susan Gall, flute | Scott Woolweaver, viola


AUDIO
1. February
2. Winter Hills
3. View From My Window
4. Thaw


SCORE
PDF

© 2015 KARIM AL-ZAND