Change
Soprano Soloist and Orchestra

16 min duration
[DMA Thesis]

email for score excerpt and mock up audio
*as of August 2020, this work is unperformed. Contact me if you are interested in the premiere

Emery_Matthew_202011_DMA_thesis

“Change” is a 16-minute composition for soprano soloist and orchestra. It uses shifting timbres, colours and the cyclic use of motives and harmonic ideas to evoke notions of the resiliency of human spirit. “Change” sets Raymond Knister’s poem of the same title, which is in the public domain. The orchestral instrumentation comprises of: piccolo, two flutes, two oboe, three clarinets (third double bass clarinet), three bassoons; four horns, two trumpets in B flat, two tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba; timpani, three percussion (bowed vibraphone, bass drum, tubular bells, bowed crotales, glockenspiel, marimba, handbells); harp, and strings (suggested 16 14 10 10 6). “Changeuses a linear form in seven sections (relating to the structure of the text). The work in some sense is one large blossoming and decaying musical gesture; the composition slowly develops into a full tutti musical gesture which then gradually decays away into similar music to that which opened the work. “Change” explores various changes in orchestration and colour with most sections of the work exploring a variation in timbre or instrumentation. The music moves from hushed delicate gestures to a darker rich harp and marimba colour, and then to a full shimmering brass hue. The music shifts away from the brass texture to a more sparse colour; glissandi trombones, delicate string writing on harmonics with fleeting flute flutterings and lip bends above. Then the music beings to combine instrumental families as it builds to tutti writing for the orchestra. A chorale melody begins to drive the music to the climactic phrases. The piece ends in a similar style as it began, with delicate, hushed gestures, though developed through inversion and slight variations in retrograde: motifs are re-interpolated and transformed as if upon reflection they have grown and evolved, akin to how humans grow and reflect at certain stages in our lives; we may continue to live a similar life as we did years ago, but we change and reorientate ourselves. The music is left open-ended, peacefully evaporating into nothing, it’s as if moments of our life pass us by and are now only a memory.

Emery_Matthew_202011_DMA_thesis

Instrumentation

Instrumentation

Piccolo
2 Flutes
2 Oboes
3 Clarinets in B flat (3rd doubling Bass Clarinet) 3 Bassoons

4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in B flat 2 Tenor Trombones Bass Trombone Tuba

Timpani
3 Percussion

1: Vibraphone (bowed), Bass Drum, Tubular Bells, Crotales (bowed), Cymbal

2: Bass Drum, Hand Bells, Vibraphone (bowed), Crotales (bowed), Glockenspiel, Tubular Bells

3: Marimba, Hand Bells, Harp

Soprano Soloist
Strings (suggested 16 14 10 10 6) Score in C

Emery_Matthew_202011_DMA_thesis

Text

Text

“Change” Raymond Knister
The poem is in the public domain and is found on page 332 of The Midland 8.12 (Dec, 1922).

I shall not wonder more, then, But I shall know.

Leaves change, and birds, flowers, And after years are still the same.

The sea’s breast heaves in sighs to the moon, But they are moon and sea forever.

As in other times the trees stand tense and lonely, And spread a hollow moan of other times.

You will be you yourself,
I’ll find you more, not else,
For vintage of the woeful years.

The sea breathes, or broods, or loudens,
Is bright or is mist and the end of the world; And the sea is constant to change.

I shall not wonder more, then, But I shall know.

Raymond Knister (1899-1932)

John Raymond Knister was born in 1899 at Ruscomb, near Stoney Point, Lake St. Clair, where he drowned while swimming in August 1932. He wrote about the everyday rural farm life of Southwestern Ontario. His images are immediate and clear, they elevate the unremarkable. He wrote several collections of poetry and prose.

Chamber Orchestra (2222, 2200, timp strings) and SATB Chorus

9 min.

Text by Henry Van Dyke

email to purchase / hear audio or get a review score


Commissioned by the Amabile Choirs of London, Canada for their 30th anniversary season. Premiered March 1st 2015, London, Ontario. Orchestra London and Amabile Choirs, Ivars Taurins, Conductor

Instrumentation:

Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Bassoon

Horn in F, Trumpet in Bb,

Timpani, SATB chorus, Strings

The premiere performance with Orchestra London and Amabile used the following instrumentation: (2222, 2200, timp strings) with 200 singers.


Sea and Shore

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933), published 1904; M.E., alt.

Music, I yield to thee; As swimmer to the sea

I give my Spirit to the flood of song: Bear me upon thy breast

In rapture and at rest,
Bathe me in pure delight and make me strong;

From strife and struggle bring release,
And draw the waves of passion into tides of peace.

Remember’d songs, most dear, In living songs I hear,

While blending voices gently swing and sway In melodies of love,

Whose mighty currents move, With singing near and singing far away;

Sweet in the glow of morning light,
And sweeter still across the starlit gulf of night.

Music, in thee we float,

And lose the lonely note
Of self in thy celestial-ordered strain,

Until at last we find The life to love resigned

In harmony of joy restored again; And songs that cheered our mortal days

Break on the coast of light in endless hymns of praise


 

Orchestra (2202 2220 1 + timp piano strings ) , SATB Chorus, SATB Soloists and Children’s Choir

11 min duration

Text by Robert Reid (adapted by the composer)

Please email me for audio or scores.

 


Orchestra Instrumentation: 2 fl, 2 ob, 2bsn, 2 hrn, 2 tpt bflat, 2 tb, 1 perc, 1 timp, 1 pn *no clarinets

 


Text in the public domain, from ‘A Treasury of Canadian Verse’ published 1904 by Henry Frowde.

Sing me the might of her giant mountains,

Baring their browns in their dazzling blue;

Sing me a song of Canada!

Sing me the calm of her tranquil forests,

Silence eternal, and peace profound,

 

Emblems of all that’s grand and true:

Free as the eagles soaring;

Sing me the pride of her stately rivers,

Cleaving their way to the far-off sea;

Sing me the joy of her fertile prairies,

 

Sing me the charm of her blazing campfires;

Sing me the quiet of her happy homes,
Sing me the worth of each Canadian
Sing me the love, of the great peace that leads us.

Sing me the song, then; sing it bravely;

Put your soul in the words you sing;

Sing me the praise of this glorious country.

 

Sing me the joy, Sing me the calm, Sing me the praise,

 

I hear the voice of Freedom Sing me a song of Canada!

Whether neath the forest arches, Or in the shade of the city domes;

 

I hear the voice of Freedom

 

Sing me joy, Sing me peace, Sing me worth, Sing me love,

Voicing your notes that the world may hear

Sing me a song of Canada!


Commissioned by the Bach Music Festival of Canada

Premiered July 16th, 2017 by the Bach Music Festival of Canada, Exeter Ontario, Canada.
The Bach Festival Symphony Orchestra, Festival Massed Adult Choir, the Youth Ensemble, and bass John Avey, soprano Leslie Fagan, alto Anita Krause, and tenor Colin Ainsworth.

 

A Song Of Canada speaks to themes of unity, togetherness and peace through the images of Canada: prairies, mountains, rivers,

forests, seas and cities. It blends pulsing loud orchestral writing with calm and ethereal choral textures. The music reminds us that every Canadian is joined by both our geographic identity, but also by our social identity; the need for peace and compassion.


please contact me for scores or audio recordings. I would love to have your ensemble perform this work.