Tag Archives: Stacy Garrop

Stacy Garrop: Glorious Mahalia

“Glorious Mahalia” matched [gospel singer Mahalia Jackson’s] words with music that was by turns mournful, tender, jaunty, and anxious…[saying] something of lasting value about not just a social movement of a particular era, but about human dignity and a nation’s moral aspirations.

–David Wright, New York Classical Review
Legends of Olympus

For Brass Quintet

Duration: 22’30”
Commission: Commissioned by the Gaudete Brass Quintet
Premiere: Gaudete Brass Quintet
Movements 2, 3 and 4 – October 8, 2016; Ear Taxi Festival; Chicago, IL.
Movement 5 – July 28, 2017; Curtis Hall, Chicago, IL.

Notice: Gaudete Brass Quintet has sole recording rights for movements 2-4 until 6/15/18; for movement 5, they have exclusive performance rights until 3/11/19 and sole recording rights until 9/11/19.

Movement 1, “Helios,” is available for performance and can be purchased HERE.

Program Note:
In ancient Greek mythology, Mount Olympus is the dwelling place of the gods and goddesses. Legends of Olympus depicts five of these deities.

Helios is the god of the sun. With his head wreathed in light, he drives a chariot drawn by four horses across the sky each day. In some tales, these horses are winged; in others, they are made of fire. At the end of each day’s journey, Helios sleeps in a golden boat that carries him on the Okeanos River, a fresh water stream that encircled the flat earth. Before dawn, the boat brings him back to his palace on Mount Olympus to collect his horses and chariot, and start the journey again.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born from the sea and brought ashore on a wave of foam. She carries herself with the regal bearing of a queen. Each year, her beauty is replenished when she dives into the sea once more.

Hermes was a merry and mischievous young god with a sharp wit. Zeus, his father, designated Hermes as the messenger between the inhabitants of Olympus and the people on earth. Hermes goes about his errands wearing golden shoes and cap, both adorned by a pair of wings.

Apollo is the god of music. His brother, Hermes, once played a trick on him by stealing all of Apollo’s cows. To appease Apollo’s anger, Hermes crafted a golden lyre. Apollo was so entranced with this stringed instrument that he traded his entire herd of cows to Hermes for it. In this movement, we hear Apollo picking up his lyre for the first time and strumming it. The brass quintet serves as the lyre, working together to represent the instrument.

Dionysus is the god of wine and revelry. In this movement, he arrives at a party bearing wine, which gets progressively wilder as the partiers drink and dance the night away.

Gaudete Brass Quintet originally commissioned Helios in 2011, and subsequently commissioned the rest of the piece.


Stacy Garrop: And All Time

…highly inspired. This is confident, big-boned music, scored with flair and wholly delightful.

–Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
And All Time

For Chamber Ensemble

Duration: 13′
Orchestration: Fl. Ob. Cl. Hn. Bsn. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
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.

Mythology Suite

For Wind Ensemble

Duration: 19′
Orchestration: 5Fl.(5th dbl. Picc.) 3Ob.(3rd dbl. E.H.) 6Cl. B.Cl. 2Bsn. Cbsn. (or Cb.Cl.)
S.Sax. A.Sax. T.Sax. B.Sax. – 4Hn. 3Tpt. 2Tbn. B.Tbn. Euph. Tba.; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Pno.
Commission: Originally commissioned by the Albany (NY) Symphony Orchestra; arrangement commissioned by the Carthage College Wind Orchestra for the 2017 Japan Tour.
Full Premiere: February 16, 2017. Chicago College of the Performing Arts Wind Ensemble, Stephen Squires, conductor; Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University; Chicago, IL.
Partial Premiere (mvmts I. & II.): January 22, 23, 24 and February 5, 2017. Carthage College Wind Ensemble, James Ripley, conductor; Toka Hall, Kurashiki, Japan (22nd); Stake Memorial Hall, Hiroshima, Japan (23rd); Marine Base, Iwakuni, Japan (24th); Carthage College, Kenosha, WI (5th)
Movements: I. The Lovely Sirens
II. Penelope Waits
III. Pandora Undone

Program Note:
The Mythology Suite consists of three movements of my Mythology Symphony, arranged for large wind ensemble.

Movement 1: The Lovely Sirens
The Sirens were sea nymphs, usually pictured as part woman and part bird, who lived on a secluded island surrounded by rocks. Their enchanting song was irresistible to passing sailors, who were lured to their deaths as their ships were destroyed upon the rocks. The Lovely Sirens presents three ideas: the Sirens’ beautiful song, an unfortunate group of sailors whose course takes them near the island, and the disaster that befalls the sailors. The sailors’ peril is represented by the Morse code S.O.S. signal (three dots, three dashes, and three dots—represented musically by short and long rhythms). The S.O.S. signal grows increasingly more insistent and distressed as it becomes obvious that the sailors, smitten with the voices of the Sirens, are headed for their demise.

Movement 2: Penelope Waits
This quiet movement represents Queen Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, as she patiently waits twenty years for her husband’s return from fighting the Trojan Wars. Penelope herself is represented as an oboe. She is accompanied by the ensemble as she keeps at bay the suitors who wish to marry her and inherit her riches.

Movement 3: Pandora Undone
This movement is, in turns, both lighthearted and serious. The music depicts a young, naïve Pandora who, while dancing around her house, spies a mysterious box. She tries to resist opening it, but her curiosity ultimately gets the best of her. When she cracks the lid open and looks inside, all evils escape into the world. Dismayed by what she has done, she looks inside the box once more. She discovers hope still in the box and releases it to temper the escaped evils and assuage mankind’s new burden.