Aron, Dubey, Fazio and King join CME for Hartke Masterwork
Oberlin's new Professor of Composition, Stephen Hartke, wrote his signature chamber work "Sons of Noah" in 1996. It was premiered at the University of Southern California with Brian Head and members of the LAGQ playing the guitar parts. Scored for soprano, four flutes, four bassoons and four guitars, its textures are remarkable and unique. The text, by Philip Littell, and based on a story by Machado de Assis, is at times profound and at other times hilarious. The guitar parts are difficult and the ensemble in general requires a high level of ensemble awareness and rhythmic acuity. Oberlin's Contemporary Music Ensemble Director, Tim Weiss, directed with his usual brilliant mastery. Soprano Elise Volkmann, senior, carried off the extraordinary and demanding part with delightful expressive abandon and professional rigor. The composer was present for the performance, which took place in Oberlin's unique recording studio space, Clonick Hall. The house was packed and the piece was met with a standing ovation.
It was great fun to be in a quartet with three students. The guitarists (Stephen Fazio, Brian King and Mohit Dubey) rose to the occasion and the experience was a terrific one for all involved. Thank you, Stephen Hartke, for writing such terrific music that includes the guitar, and thank you Tim Weiss, for programming the piece and directing with such unyielding sensitivity and attention to detail.
The program and program notes are copied below.