COMMISSIONER WFMT, celebrating 60 years of classical music and fine arts broadcasting ORDERING SCORES Theodore Presser Company Click to view product page PROGRAM NOTES Bernie and Rita Jacobs audaciously started WFMT on December 13, 1951, with a goal to bring fine arts programming to Chicago. After only two weeks of broadcasting and unable to generate enough funds to keep afloat, Rita Jacobs got on the air and asked, “Is anyone out there listening? We’re broke.” Listeners generously responded and helped to ensure that WFMT would endure as a cultural resource. Over the past six decades, the station has flourished in depth and breadth of programming as well as in audience size. Today, the station's programs are heard via streaming all over the world while the WFMT Radio Network produces and distributes programs heard on over 650 outlets in the U.S. and abroad.
In honor of the station’s 60th birthday, WFMT commissioned me to compose a celebratory piece to be premiered by the Lincoln Trio. The piece, titled Jubilation, contains three main themes: a serene, beautiful melody that opens the piece and recurs in various guises throughout; a very fast, energetic theme that uses a 9/8 – 8/8 – 7/8 meter which corresponds to the station’s frequency of 98.7 FM; and a sultry tango that was requested by Desirée Ruhstrat, the violinist of the Lincoln Trio. Altogether, these themes take the audience on a joyful, high-energy romp that pays tribute to WFMT’s spirited past, present, and future. -S.G.
COMMISSIONER Barbara Garrop in memory of Norman Garrop for the Lincoln Trio ORDERING SCORES Theodore Presser Company Click to view product page PROGRAM NOTES In 2011, Barbara Garrop, my mother, commissioned me to write a piano trio in memory of Norman Garrop, my father, who passed away about thirty years ago. When I started brainstorming about topics for the piece, I found it difficult to recall many moments of my early life involving my father. Too many years had passed, and the memories that I could summon were of a child looking up to her father, not an adult relating to an equal. However, while collecting stories of my father from various family members, along with discovering a number of objects that had once belonged to him and that I had stored away in boxes decades ago, I began to realize that this piece wasn’t so much about my father as it was about my re-discovering the man that he was: a loving husband and dad who cared deeply about his family and his passions (which included bike riding, collecting coins, strumming our guitar, playing baseball, watching football games, entertaining people, helping to run local theater and puppet productions, and carving objects out of wood); an accountant who dreamed of a better future; a treasurer of our local synagogue; an early advocate for computers (we owned an Apple II+); and a prankster with a great sense of humor. Ultimately, I decided to musically tell the story of my search for these memories.
In the first movement (Without), a child calls out in a sing-song voice, searching for her lost parent. This search intensifies over the course of the movement through a series of themes, including a “stepping” motif in which a two-note progression steadily climbs higher, a pseudo-jewish folksong, and a passionate “longing” theme. The child’s search becomes increasingly intense throughout the movement, calling out fervently and repeatedly to the parent; the movement ends in a moment of great tension and uncertainty. The second movement (Within) quietly opens with the lost parent finally answering, represented by a solo cello; the child (now personified by the violin) has found the parent within the sanctuary of her own heart. This movement highlights the joy and solemnity of this beautiful discovery. -S.G.
ORDERING SCORES Hildegard Press via Theodore Presser Company Click to view product page PROGRAM NOTES The genesis of SEVEN emerged from two separate sources. The first is Anne Sexton’s evocative poem Seven Times, in which the speaker of the poem longs for release from life. Upon dying, she is surprised to find a quiet, peaceful place (this poem can be found in the book Anne Sexton: The Complete Poems ).
The second source was the T.V. show Star Trek Voyager. One of humanity’s worst enemies are the Borg, which are a half-machine, half-organic species who assimilate all species they encounter and add them to their collective conscious. The crew of Voyager managed to sever one Borg’s connection with the collective consciousness, thus leaving the Borg isolated and human for the first time since she had been abducted as a young girl. This Borg, named Seven of Nine, found the isolation of being an individual almost unbearable for numerous episodes before she began realizing her full potential in her new human life.
As I began writing the trio, I saw a connection between Sexton’s poem and Seven of Nine. Both represent change. Ann Sexton’s speaker craves death. Seven of Nine fought her forced change from collective consciousness to isolated individualism. In both cases, neither character expected what waited for them on the other side. This “change” is represented musically near the end of the piece. You might imagine the change to be Sexton’s moment of death, or of Seven’s switch from being a Borg drone to a human. -S.G.
ORDERING SCORES Theodore Presser Company Click to view product page PROGRAM NOTES In 1994, I heard for the first time an Appalachian folk song called Silver Dagger at a folk festival. The simplicity of the melody joined with a cautionary love tale enthralled me, and I spent the next several years researching the song. What emerged from my research were dozens of variants of the song, both in terms of text as well as melody and title. The variants that I discovered could be grouped more or less under three different titles: Silver Dagger, Drowsy Sleeper, and Katie Dear. All of these versions revolve around the same Romeo and Juliet premise: a boy asks a girl for her parents’ consent to marry. The story has various endings: the parents won’t give approval, so the girl and boy each end their lives with a silver dagger; the girl turns the boy down and sends him away to find another love; the girl forsakes her parents and runs away with the boy; and so on. In my trio, I incorporate two complete versions of the folk song, one of Katie Dear and one of Silver Dagger, as well as motives from a variant of Drowsy Sleeper. -S.G.