Program Notes

Four personalities

Each movement of the piece is representative of one of the result categories of the Hartman Personality test, often given in professional development settings. I first encountered the test while teaching elementary school. The validity and usefulness of the test do not match the cost of the intellectual property as it has never been peer reviewed and was developed to sell executive coaching services , but it is a lot of fun in a social setting. I think the piece by Dr. Morris reflects this light hearted approach in capturing the alleged motivations of these personality types. I was fortunate to interview Alyssa Morris a couple of years ago and was inspired to get back to composing as a result. If you are curious you can check out the interview after the concert by clicking here. 

Yellow – motivated by fun, are enthusiastic and persuasive, but struggle to develop deep relationships, or get down to business. 

White-  motivated by peace, avoiding confrontation is a high priority. This personality type tends to be patient, kind, and nurturing, but can be self deprecating and unwilling to set goals or bounders.

Blue-  They thrive on relationships  and are self sacrificing. Blues are highly demanding perfectionists. Blues can also be emotional and moody.

Red-  motivated by power.  They value logic and determination, are action oriented, assertive, and confident. 

Vienna oboe and classical oboe
Click here for a brief history of the oboe

Partita/Sonata/Suite in A Minor

Famously little is known about the circumstances in which the Partita in A minor for unaccompanied flute, BWV 1013 was composed. It was probably written sometime during the early 1720s, during the last few years of Bach’s tenure as kapellmeister at Cöthen, a post that gave him time to compose more secular works.

J.S. Bach’s other works for unaccompanied instruments draw on his deep understanding of the instruments either as a master keyboardist or  from his experience with the bowed sting instruments in his early education.   With the flute Partita, however, Bach was left almost entirely to his own ingenuity, as neither tradition nor personal familiarity could come into much play during the creation of so unlikely a work. It is not likely that it was performed on the oboe in his lifetime, and for some time it was fashionable to perform the work a step lower on the oboe in g minor. I discovered the work in the infamous book: Vade-Macum of the oboist, gifted to me from a childhood friend,  and playing in the original key lets me mentally memorialize many fond childhood memories. 

 The Allemande was a medium speed dance which was often a caricature of rural folk tradition. Frequent leaps from one register to another allows us to hear  implied harmonic voices in a single line.  

The courante movement (or, to follow Bach’s title more exactly, Corrente),traditionally follows an Allemande. The  Italian-derived dance  is relatively  quick and in simple triple meter. My favorite moment is the leap into a  half cadence on a B – Major chord (to get us to e minor) which  betrays Bach’s learned skill in this popular dance genre.  

The  Sarabande to Bach and his contemporaries was an aristocratic dance , which he paints with ingenious rhythmic flexibility. I wonder what he was lamenting? 

Bach concludes the Partita with a Bourrée Anglais — then in vogue throughout Europe, to judge from the many appearances of this particular subspecies of the bourrée that pop up in the music of Bach, Handel, and other baroque masters.

Early Morning From Conversations

Patricia Morehead is a prolific composer who   studied composition at The University of Chicago with Ralph Shapey, John Eaton, and Shulamit Ran. She recently retired from her positions on the adjunct faculty of Columbia College, Chicago, and Dominican University, River Forest, and she was for 17 years leader of the Composers Forum at the Merit School of Music.

Conversations was written for her friends Alicia Tait and George Blanchet. 

Salt from three etudes

Dan  and I are gearing up to perform some newly composed works for oboe and percussion at the 2022 IDRS conference in Boulder this summer. This collection of etudes celebrates our time at UT and collaboration  as students and members of the Hispanic Caribbean Ensemble. 

Salt briefly captures the sprit of dancing and singing through the half-truths of institutional power and realizing that the structures that  demand subjection push humans to add flavor to their practice of living.   


10 Blake songs

Vaughan Williams wrote the 10 Blake  songs as the film score to a BBC documentary celebrating the centennial of William Blake’s death. 

The work features Vaughan Williams’ mature style incorporating folksong elements with challenging and expressive harmonic implications. 

Jungrok and I will be performing the whole set on his DMA recital next week. 

Duo Concertante

While Dorati was most famous as an international conductor he  was a composition student of Kodaly and steeped in the nationalist styles of composition. This piece, which was premiered by Heinz Holliger in 1984 in Washington D.C.,  calls back these nativist musical techniques long after they were trendy in academic circles with  a new  refreshing twist. The piece features the tonal language of the octatonic scale, modified for caricature,  and evokes a parody of  orientalism to transport the listener to land rich with both high class and folk musical traditions,  a legacy of cultural conflict and the contrast of beauty and violence. The duo calls to those at the “edge of the empire” where ever that may be… special thanks to Dr. Parker and  Dr. Valentine for shepherding us through such a wild piece. 

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