Jago’s laughter, Lorca’s moon

I will have a piece performed at the next Composers Alliance concert.

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Here are the program notes that I wrote:

In Verdi’s penultimate opera, Otello, Jago sings slithering descents of laughter that distend the revelry of a drinking song. While setting Federico García Lorca’s poem, Media Luna, I was haunted by Jago’s slippery chromatic laughter and allowed it to infiltrate my music, as if it were sounding in an echo chamber. The opening of my setting has its own tipsy gait during which the soprano sings stuttering syllables from Lorca’s poem. When the music sobers up the soprano finds all of the syllables and is able to sing the poem through.

It was a pleasure to work with Alexis, Elizabeth, Naomi, and Vicente and I am very grateful that they were willing to dedicate themselves to performing this piece.

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The excellent quartet that is performing the piece consists of Alexis Rodda (soprano), Vicente Alexim (clarinet), Elizabeth Martignetti (horn), and Naomi Perley (piano).

Here are the program notes written by the performers:

One of the most striking aspects of Daniel’s Media Luna is its timbral palette: in the instrumentation of the work itself, of course, but also in detailed, interdependent instrumental writing with a particular attention to the slippage between the “instruments”. The opening’s staccato fragments feel instrumentally-driven, with the soprano percussively articulating non-semantic syllables, the music only gradually coalescing into a more straight-forward statement of Jago‘s laughter (but in the non-vocal instruments). The air seems to shatter to enter the “echo chamber” to which Daniel refers, created by both the exploitation of the piano’s sympathetic resonance and by the close counterpoint of the chromatic lyricism between voice, clarinet, and horn–linear and fluid and finally vocal–where the poem is finally recited.
Media Luna displays a great contrast of character, rendered in interesting instrumental writing, despite the inherent unity of the compositional material. We were exhilarated by the general will toward discovery and experimentation through this process, and thank Daniel for his efforts for our impromptu ensemble.
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