American Quilt: Songs by American Composers – Spring 2003

Nothing conveys the spirit of American creativity and resourcefulness like a quilt. Materials from disparate sources are juxtaposed to form new and fresh designs.

Most of the pieces in this program involve quilt-like juxtapositions. A medieval mystical text unexpectedly set over a repeated scat pattern, or to vibraphone and marimba accompaniment. Familiar folk songs with interpolated lyrics, or even a no-holds-barred swing piano accompaniment. Blues rhythm and canonic counterpoint, not often found on the same program, coexisting in the same piece.

The result was a vibrant and engaging repertoire, most enjoyable for us to prepare. Included are Amy Beach’s cantata-length secular work, The Rose of Avontown, Naomi Stephan’s “O virtus Sapientie” on a text of Hilegard of Bingen, and Clifton J. Noble, Jr.’s splendid swing arrangement of “The Eerie Canal” with down-and-dirty piano accompaniment. That mule named Sal may never be the same!

Performed on Friday, May 9, 2003. Download the program.