Stephen Fazio plays Jesse Jones
In the US premiere performance of Jesse Jones' remarkable and hilarious "One Bright Morning" (2015), Stephen Fazio, Oberlin junior, played the guitar part. The performance took place last Wednesday in Oberlin's splendid Warner Concert Hall. Scored for soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, bass, piano and guitar, this setting of an "anonymous folk text" is full of delightful textures and musical surprises. The text is great:
One bright morning in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back-to-back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
One was blind and the other could not see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man came to see fair play,
And a mute man came to shout "hooray!"
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to kill those two dead boys.
A paralyzed donkey walking by,
Kicked the copper in the eye;
Knocked him through a rubber wall,
Into a dry ditch, which drowned them all.
If you don't believe this lie is true,
Just ask the bind man--he saw it too!
The ensemble, expertly prepared and directed by Timothy Weiss, our famed Contemporary Music Ensemble director, played beautifully, in this piece and on the others on the program as well. Olivia Boen, the featured soprano, and also a junior, gave a brilliant and compelling reading. Fazio, whose guitar was amplified, covered his considerable part with grace. The ensemble will take the piece on tour in January and play it a few more times in Chicago and environs.
Below are some images of the piece being played, and the complete program:
The ensemble, setting up, Stephen Fazio in the center