Joys and Litanies: A Local Perspective

Sunday September 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Rebecca Gilbert
Cary Ratcliff  piano
David Breustle
William Amsel  clarinet
Amenda Quartet
    David Brickman
and Patricia Sunwoo
     Melissa Matson  viola   
     Mimi Hwang  cello
David Liptak: Cold Litanies (flute, cello, and piano)
Cary Ratcliff: Gitanjali Dances: Five Joys (flute and piano)
Cary Ratcliff: Voyage (trombone and piano)
James Willey: Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet

    Artists are often inspired (or at least affected) by their environment; such is the case of David Liptak, stalwart member of the Eastman School composition faculty. For his trio Cold Litanies he found inspiration in "the cold, wintry images that fill the months between autumn and spring in the places I live." He says while that Cold Litanies "does not have a direct correlation between the sounds of the piece and the images of snow, ice, or winter's chill, I wrote the music searching for 'crystalline clarity' and, perhaps, the 'sharpening of the senses' that cold can bring." The trio will be chillingly performed by Rebecca Gilbert (flute), Mimi Hwang (cello), and Cary Ratcliff (piano).
    The music of Cary Ratcliff embraces many genres - his Gitanjali Dances are based on poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, beloved Bengali poet and winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature. The inspiration for one of these colorful and engaging Five Joys for flute and piano is Tagore's phrase ‘The joy that sweeps in with the tempest, shaking and waking all life with laughter’ - Rebecca Gilbert and Cary Ratcliff will sweep you into joy with their spirited performance.
    The newest piece on the program is Cary Ratcliff's 2016 work for trombone and piano, Voyage. At the premiere earlier this year, I was taken with the versatility of David Bruestle (newly-named principal trombonist of the RPO) as he partnered with the composer on piano. Cary notes that "poet T. S. Eliot said 'old men ought to be explorers.' I set my sights on the horizon, and set off to find some music to honor the beautiful soft, high sounds of David's playing, and some giant 8 to 10-note piano chords to equal the resonant power of this noble instrument. In between, rhythms I had never hit upon before and tunes both bold and haunting." 
    James Willey was for many years on the faculty of SUNY Geneseo, where he wrote his Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet for colleagues at the school. I had the opportunity to perform the Quintet several years ago and enjoyed how, in the composer's words, "the musical energy progresses from the first movement's swiftly moving, generally quiet tension through the second movement's loony satire to the third movement's solemn then ecstatic meditation." Clarinetist William Amsel (the RPO's second clarinetist, currently acting as Buffalo Philharmonic's principal clarinet) will be joined by the Amenda Quartet to take you all on this journey!

Our post-concert reception will be presented by the First Unitarian Church's Honduras Partnership Task Force - recipients of 25% of this concert's ticket revenue.

$15 general / $5 student / $30 family maximum

First Unitarian Church - 220 Winton Road South - Rochester NY 14610

Click here for Ticket Information