Gravel Road into the Forest

FINDING HOME, FINDING SELF

For the first time in the 21st century, we are proud to present a recital of the music of Elizabeth Rudolph. This recital features some of Chicago's best classical musicians, such as Meghan Guse, Rachael Long, Samantha Attaguile, Katherine Dalin, Antoni Scarano, Theresa Lams, Alex Norris, Taylor Anapol, and Jordan Crice. With lyrics by William Shakespeare, August Strindberg, Yvonne Strumecki, and Julie Ann Ball, there's truly something for everyone in this intimate concert of contemporary classical music.

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Finding Home, Finding Self: A recital of new music by Elizabeth Rudolph

"Ms Rudolph's lyrical style of composing is well-suited to the human voice, and her settings are evocative and accessible. Her communicative music draws you in, leading you through a journey to find meaning in our often difficult world. "

 

finding self

Me Gustaría Hablar*

  (2018) Yvonne Strumecki

 

Paletero Bells

Garden Apartments

Twin Terrors

Six Pops

 

Meghan Guse - Soprano

Alex Norris - Violin

Jordan Crice - Piano

Sickness*

  (2016)

 

Taylor Anapol - Cello

Jordan Crice - Piano

 

Sonata*

  (1997, arr 2009)

 

Alex Norris - Violin

Jordan Crice - Piano

Family Relations

  (1997) Julie Ann Ball

 

Orange Elevators

Suddenly Summer

 Mother’s Shoes

 

Samantha Attaguile - Mezzo

Jordan Crice - Piano

 

-PAUSE-

The Third Night

  (2012) August Strindberg

 

Thirsting Spirit

Sprawling City

 

Antoni Scarano - Baritone

Theresa Lams - Bass Clarinet

Jordan Crice - Piano

4Nov2002

  (2014) Julie Ann Ball

 

Rachael Long - Soprano

Jordan Crice - Piano

 

Perfect Fog* 

  (2014) Julie Ann Ball

 

Rachael Long - Soprano

Katherine Dalin - Contralto

Theresa Lams - Clarinet

Taylor Anapol - Cello

Richard’s Women

  Shakespeare(Richard III)

 

Lady Anne* (2018)

Queen Margaret (2017)

 

Rachael Long - Soprano

Katherine Dalin - Contralto

Jordan Crice - Piano

*=premiere performance

 

featuring

 
Green Forest

TEXTS

Me Gustaria Hablar


By Yvonne Strumecki 1. My shirt keeps hiking up as I walk down these summer streets, my backpack rubbing me the wrong way. A new neighborhood filled with tongues I cannot speak to, accents thick with que, quieres, and como. Children run rampant across unmanicured lawns, toward the tinkle of Paletero bells. I cross the street, away from these braised-skin old men hawking their icy wares.
2. I smell sex coming from windows as I walk through the neighborhood heat; eerie, late afternoon silence thickly hanging in aftermath. No signs of movement or muffled moans to distract me. These garden apartments should come with warning labels or at least a vent fan.
3. Her dogs bark for minutes each time I pass by the door, no matter the time of night; twin terrors with coats of charred black. They’ve already attacked another neighbor–bullet-like, off-leash they ran; our hallways no longer a safe space to congregate.
4. Awake in the darkness. Six pops, I think. But it might have been eight. Calibers too close for comfort; distance no longer an issue I can pretend to ignore. I close my eyes and wait for sleep that will not come, praying tomorrow to not hear of pérdida.




Family Relations


By Julie Ann Ball Orange Elevators I kiss my mother goodbye. I'll see you next Wednesday. I love you. And I walk with my brother to the Orange Elevators. Past a few empty weekend rooms, the info station, the coffee room. He pushes the down button and just that fast the door opens. We step in, the door closes. The space is too small for words and not until we pass the automatic exit doors do we walk my arm around his waist his arm around my shoulder. Even outside the hospital, the space is too small for words. Suddenly Summer I spent today in my hillside garden, a suddenly eighty-hot summer day. Late in the spring that was fog in the day and frosted breath at night. I spent today pulling weeds with my father who art in Heaven and my father who art in Appleton in the gardens who explode with blossom. Lupines and poppies wait one more day. Sweet violets and lilies of the valley shooting, iris and columbine and tiny forget-me-nots, lilacs full and heady in the sun, the promise of chokecherries thick in the air, the quiet symphony from the tops of the trees. My center in this tiny agate I find in the garden, buried treasure from eons ago, given to me from my father who art in Heaven and my father who art in Appleton.

The message I carry in my pocket and roll in my palm and feel on my fingertips, roughened with the garden. The truth held in my hand. Filling Mother's Shoes
We walk the beach looking for petoskey. The water incredibly clear and the sand coming gently in waves that wash the beach that show our rocks (millions of years) Sifting through the rivets of mother's shoes, our sister wears mother's shoes walking in the water. I'll never be able to fill mom's shoes but I can wear them. (millions of years) Sand in my tennies at the end of the day. Rocks on display under the moon. We whisper our secrets.




The Third Night


By August Strindberg (translated by Lotta Löfgren) 4 - Thirsting Spirit Spirit, again you enter the night. Thirsting spirit in search of water living water from the fountain of doubt Now where will you steer your steps? You have burned two bridges behind you By dismissing summarily Both dominions of art and religion Dive into knowledge there lie the answers; Books have not yet forsaken thought! Here in the darkness I see your ranks Follow each other column on column Some are clad in golden leather Others clad in the humblest cloth; Friend and enemy side by side Eager to defend what little each knows. Black! the first one answers at once, White! the other promptly re-plies; And when the answers are put together one comes to rest on a field of grey. 2 - Sprawling City
Loaded wagon rumbles and clatters. Coachman's whip cracks like a gunshot. Tramway bell whines out a warning. Omnibus blasts its trumpet signal. Trampled puppy whimpers and barks. Clearance salesmen and journeymen bawl out their songs with raspy voices. Now he can hear a weeping child. Why are you weeping, little stranger? Does it hurt you, this sprawling city, Where so many find happiness? Now again you hear banging and rattling ringing howling Hammering rumbling crying Laughing Whistling and roaring And you stand there timid and wonder, if you have landed in an asylum or the bottomless pit of dispair.




4Nov2002


By Julie Ann Ball That whisper of snow, melted into sunspots on the lake. Mother laughs at me for boasting at winter before she comes. Snow, snow, snow, snow Just a breath of frost in the morning. Frost, snow That whisper of snow Melted, melted.




Perfect Fog


By Julie Ann Ball Just when spring was not coming Banked by wind against port entry. Incoming boats stopped; Diverted. Harbor sealed in sleet. Temperatures hover just at drizzle. Fog swallows hillsides. Muffled, muted light passes through morning. Leaving no shadows, Tracking no passage. And suddenly Dozens of robins in reunion. Under the clothesline and up, up our icicled line. Upturning to green in one day. A spring picnic Fat sleepy worms And all these cousins, uncles, and aunts chirping news from far away. The tropics come home to nest even to fly away again. What a feast in perfect fog Maples dripping, crusty snow melting, Dogwood, bright red shoots, vibrate Spring sun finally crawls from the lake And you are born again each spring.




Richard's Women


From Richard III by William Shakespeare Lady Anne Set down, set down your honourable load, If honour may be shrouded in a hearse, Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster. Poor figure of a holy king! Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster! Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood! Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life, I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes. Cursed be the hand that made these fatal holes! Cursed be the heart that had the heart to do't! Cursed [be] the blood that let this blood from hence! More direful hap betide that hated wretch, That makes us wretched by the death of thee, Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads, Or any creeping venom'd thing that lives! If ever he have child, abortive be it, Prodigious, and untimely brought to light, Whose ugly and unnatural aspect May fright the hopeful mother at the view; And that be heir to his unhappiness! If ever he have wife, let her be made As mis'rable by the death of him As I am made by my poor lord and thee! O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death! O earth, which this blood drink'st revenge his death! Either heav'n with lightning strike the murd'rer dead, Or earth, gape open wide and eat him quick, As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood Which his hell govern'd arm hath butchered! Queen Margaret What were you snarling all before I came, Ready to catch each other by the throat, And turn you all your hatred now on me? Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven? That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death, Their kingdom's loss, my woeful banishment, Could all but answer for that peevish brat? Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heav'n? Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses! If not by war, by surfeit die yor king, As ours by murder, to make him a king! Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales, For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales, Die in his youth by like untimely violence! Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen, Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self! Long mayst thou live to wail thy children's loss; And see another, as I see thee now, Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine! Long die thy happy days before thy death; And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief, Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen! (But) leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me. If heaven have a grievous plague in store Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee, O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe, And then hurl down their indignation On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace! The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul! Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest, And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends! No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine, Unless it be whilst some tormenting dream Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils! Thou elvishmark'd, abortive, rooting hog! Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity The slave of nature and the son of hell! Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb! Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins! Thou rag of honour! thou detested-- Richard!





 

Program Notes

Me Gustaría Hablar

Poem by Yvonne Strumecki

I have been friends with Meghan Guse for many years and have luckily had the opportunity to sing with her dozens of times. Her voice’s clarity and her musicality have always impressed me and so I have long wanted to compose something for her. Our mutual friend Yvonne Strumecki’s poetry grabbed my attention the first time I read it. I thought it would be especially meaningful to create a piece of art which is a collaboration between the three of us. I have broken this four part poem into four short songs for a cycle. Each song is built around a different short musical motif, a form of composition that is very natural to me. This poem about finding a home in a new place really spoke to me, as my life hasn’t always taken me where I thought I wanted to go. Somehow, luckily, I found myself at home here in Chicago.

Sonata

By Elizabeth Rudolph

When I first began composing at age 14, I thought that every moment of every piece needed to be “new” to the listener. This style of composition is called “through composed” and can be very difficult for the audience to understand (not to mention how time and energy consuming it is for the composer!) As I matured as a composer (with some rather emphatic guidance from my early composition instructors) I began to understand how form and especially repetition in music allows the human ear to more fully appreciate what it is hearing. Think of Beethoven’s 5th. The first movement is in sonata form. How many times in a single performance do you hear that first motif? The sonata is a musical form which is an elaboration on the simple ABA form which has endured for centuries and has been used by most of the great European composers throughout history. This piece was written while I was studying composition and theory at St. Olaf College when I was 21. I felt it was time to add my voice to the chorus of composers who used the sonata form to express themselves. Originally written for classical guitar and viola (1997), I re-scored it in 2009 for piano and violin.

Sickness

By Elizabeth Rudolph

This piece was written in November 2016.

Family Relations

Poem by Julie Ann Ball

Julie Ball is my father’s sister and these three poems deal with the relationships between my father, his sisters, and their parents. The time comes in every child’s life when they find that they are no longer the child. The torch is passed. Adulthood looms. These poems and songs were written soon after the passing of my paternal grandmother, and while my paternal grandfather was transitioning into the later stages of life. The poetry is direct, unflinching in the face of major emotional upheaval, and I tried to allow the music to take a backseat in the first and third songs, providing a foundation but minimal commentary on the lyrics. The second song is acapella (without accompaniment) and not easy for the singer as it is relatively chromatic. I gave myself permission in this second song to do some text-painting, trying to convey with the music what my imagination perceived in the poetry.

The Third Night

August Strindberg (translation: Lotta Löfgren)

These pieces were commissioned by Brian von Reuden for VOX3 Collective and the Swedish American Museum. I, admittedly, do not speak Swedish, so I have not read Strindberg’s original poems. Lofgren’s translation is sparse, but full of innuendo. I chose a more minimalist compositional style for these settings in order to convey the eternal struggle of faith and doubt in the human heart (Thirsting Spirit) and the fluctuating but constant and inescapable racket of the city (Sprawling City). The musical seeds for both pieces are taken directly from Scandinavian traditional music.

4nov2002 and Perfect Fog

Poems by Julie Ann Ball

These two songs were not written as a set, as they have very different instrumentation. However, the poems do have similar thematic material so I am programming them together here. Julie Ball’s poetry is often inspired by nature and especially by the nature of the upper Midwest and the Great Lakes, as she grew up in northern Wisconsin and raised her children in Duluth, Minnesota. As an artist, I appreciate the idea of changing seasons as a metaphor for the cycles of history and of life. Both pieces feature a great deal of text-painting, trying to mirror the meaning of the words within the music. 4nov2002 is written in a more traditional ABA form and Perfect Fog, while not completely through-composed, is more flexible in its form.

Richard's Women

Adapted text from William Shakespeare

Some of my first forays into more dramatic vocal writing, these 2 songs are an incomplete set based on the female characters from the play Richard III. Of course we know Richard is a villain (or anti-hero), and the women of the play have many interesting responses to his villainy, but these characters are also all fallible humans and don’t always place the blame for their suffering where it belongs. I see this project in some ways as an exploration of the internalized misogyny that the women themselves express. (The patriarchy hurts everyone.) The first song I wrote I intended to be a stand alone song. It was Margaret’s Curse, which was written in 2016 (immediately before “Sickness”) and also served as an outlet for some of my frustration at that time. I plan to expand on this set to include songs and ensembles including the characters of Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of York.