Author Archives: nball

Three Composers Awarded 2016 Fromm Commissions

Congratulations to JAMES MATHESON, MELINDA WAGNER, and JAMES PRIMOSCH! All three composers were recently awarded 2016 Fromm Music Foundation commissions. As the foundation’s website notes, “These commissions represent one of the principal ways that the Fromm Music Foundation seeks to strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public. In addition to the commissioning award, a subsidy is available for the ensemble performing the premiere of the commissioned work.”
And All Time

For Chamber Ensemble – Fl. Ob. Cl. Hn. Bsn. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
Duration: 13′
Commission: Commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for Fifth House Ensemble.
Premiere: March 24, 2017. Fifth House Ensemble; Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL
Text: from “The Bells” (Edgar Allan Poe)
“Time Is” (Henry van Dyke)
from “On Time” (John Milton)
from “Poem of Joys” (Walt Whitman)
Program Note:
I devised the idea of a piece on time when I found several texts all dealing with time from various points-of-view. These four poems work very well together: Edgar Allan Poe’s The Bells addresses the delight of the universe spinning in rhythmical time; Henry van Dyke’s Time Is comments on how we experience the slow or swift passage of time based on various states of emotion; John Milton’s On Time accuses time of being greedy, stealing time from man’s lives; and Walt Whitman’s Poem of Joys celebrates the joy of time, both now and always, as well as throughout the universe. I arranged these four texts in this specific order to craft a narrative that moves through delight, sadness, anger, and finally joy. I carry out the idea of time through the tempo of the works – all but one tempo indication are derived from a musical beat lasting one second (i.e. the speed of the quarter note is sixty beats per minute). The performers double as the narrators of the poems throughout the piece.