NEW MUSIC FOR
MIXED CHAMBER ENSEMBLES

ecclesiastes: a modern oratorio (2008)

  1. preamble [eccles. 1:3-11, 15]
  2. beginning & ending
  3. motet [eccles. 3:1-8, 15]
  4. bells
  5. time to go, time to remain
  6. that which
  7. heaven
  8. every purpose
  9. under, to
  10. bells & words
  11. ending & beginning
  12. ending

This piece began as the accompaniment commissioned by choreographer Gina Gibney for her piece Time Remaining. We premiered Time Remaining in 2002, and continued to perform with the dance company until 2004. By this time the septet had developed a strong interactive sensitivity to the music and its purpose. So we gigged and recorded the piece with a focus around the text from the Bible book of Ecclesiastes which Time Remaining had drawn upon.

I finished the record developing the text further and singing two more pieces using further Ecclesiastes text. I became interested in re-translating this text from the original Hebrew through reference to the Vulgate's Latin translation. Through comparison, I came up with a text I felt spoke to a more contemporary spiritual practice, in partcular the 12 steps of recovery.

ecclesiastes: a modern oratorio and liner notes discussing the process are available on Innova recordings.

  • contratenor
  • tenor
  • baritone
  • bass
  • cello
  • extended drum kit
  • concert bass drum
  • pitched bells
  • hammered dulcimer
  • mandolin
  • soundtracks and drones

 

73 min.

Remembered Music—A Fragment

The Fountain

New England Arming!

Three orchestral songs composed while studying on sabbatical with composer David Del Tredici.

Settings of Civil War-era poetry by James Russell Lowell (Remembered Music… and The Fountain) and his brother the Rev. Robert Traill Spence Lowell (New England Arming!). Remembered Music… andThe Fountain were read by Musician's Accord, David Del Tredici conducting, Kitty Brazelton singing.

Remembered Music…later re-orchestrated for string orchestra (String Orchestra of New York City or SoNYC) and performed at Make Music New York 08, in June outdoors on Cornelia St., organized by Composers Collaborative Inc.

  • Voice and piano
  • Voice and chamber ensemble (flute, alto sax, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, french horn, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass)
  • Voice and string orchestra
6, 4 & 3 min.

Busy Trio (2005)

Composed for the beginning of school for Ron Anderson, trumpet, Bruce Williamson, bass clarinet, and John Van Buskirk, piano. Premiered by them in the Carriage Barn at Bennington College, September, 2005.

  • trumpet
  • bass clarinet
  • piano
3 min.

Consider the Carving Knife (2001)

This is a big brawny, funny piece about "the conundrum of married life".

Commissioned by curator/composer John King to open the Kitchen House Blend series. Premiered at The Kitchen, NYC, April, 2000. Also on the bill, House Blend premieres by composer/performers Craig Harris and David Krakauer.

Repeated in May 2005 with House Blend at the Kitchen.

Both events, 2000 and 2005, recorded by Ben Arnow.

 

for Kitchen House Blend with Kitty Brazelton:

  • voice
  • flute
  • bass clarinet
  • alto sax
  • tenor sax
  • baritone sax
  • trumpet
  • trombone
  • piano
  • marimba
  • violin
  • cello
  • double bass
  • drum set
  • log drum & other percussion
20 min.

as the day goes by… (October 2001)

Reactions to the September 11, 2001, attack on the city where I live.

Commissioned & premiered by Relâche at Delaware Center for Contemporary Art & The Philadelphia Ethical Society, Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2001. Review Philadelphia Inquirer. Also webcast with interview on newmusicbox.org in March 2002

I have tried to portray the emotional process of struggling to comprehend something violently incomprehensible. I try to enact the jagged dissonance between the juxtaposed flashbacks—the first, to what it was like before, and the inevitable second, to what it was like then, during the event. What is the nature of the innocence of "before"? Are the spores of what was to come now perceptible in hindsight? And the impossible horror of "then"—can there ever be resolution or redemption?

In the middle of as the day goes by… the Trinidadian steel pan played by Harvey Price emerges. I imagine the instrument as a sort of angel. The melodies and sounds from "before" and "then" are re-integrated more gently, bending and softening to each other in a shimmering Afro-Caribbean timbre—I call that part "song."

I conclude the section "song" with two songs, specific references from the outside world: one, the medieval Catholic requiem chant "dies irae" (day of wrath) with text from the original 12th-c. poem (which is even more eerily predictive of the firestorm and ashes of September 11), interwoven with two, a melody I have transcribed from a reading of the Koran. Because use of this melody and text may be offensive to those who practice Islam, I only use the opening word "bismillah" (blessed be), and I am willing to alter the word so as to make it unrecognizable if an audience member is uncomfortable. My intent is to make consonant these texts and melodies and by inference, the civilizations they represent.

I don't know if the listener will find resolution or harmony in as the day goes by… I hope so—it would be a way that I could help. In the end, though, the horror and consequences of September 11th are something only the passage of time will heal "as the day goes by…"

 

for Relâche with Kitty Brazelton:

  • voice
  • oboe
  • tenor sax
  • bassoon
  • viola
  • piano
  • double bass
  • steel pan
25 min.

The Battle of X and Y (1999)

An algebraic battle between ostinato x and bridge y. Structured ensemble improvisation. Virtuosic rhythm. Premiered by Relâche in May 2001 in Philadelphia at the Institute of Contemporary Art and at the Philadelphia Ethical Society.

for Relâche:

  • oboe
  • tenor sax
  • bassoon
  • viola
  • piano
  • double bass
  • drum set
7 min.

Sonata for the Inner Ear (1999)

  • Exposition
  • Development
  • Recapitulation

3 modular movements deconstructing sonata form---is it valid?---Exposition establishes motives a and b in multiple configurations; Development invites all 8 players to solo on these ideas; Recapitulation restates and wraps up bang.

Premiered by the California EAR Unit, Los Angeles County Museum, October 13, 1999. Recorded in 2001 for release in 2002 on "Kitty Brazelton: Chamber Music for the Inner Ear", CRI-Emergency 889

for the California EAR Unit:

  • flute
  • bass clarinet
  • violin
  • cello
  • 2 keyboards (piano and sampler)
  • marimba
  • drum set
23 min.
  • Your Mad Mad Love
  • In The Eye Of The Storm (1996)

2 chamber rock songs for Randall Woolf's band CAMP. Premiered at Context Studio, August 1996, and The Cooler, July 1997.

  • rock voice
  • trumpet
  • bass clarinet
  • organ
  • electric guitar
  • bass
  • drums
5-7 min. each

Lullaby for Handbells (1992)

Ensemble lullaby with lighting and movement, dedicated to a newborn daughter Rosie Mandel, commissioned by Corn Palace Productions for New Music America '92. Premiered by Brazelton, Jack Vees, Jeff Brooks, Maura Bosch and others at The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, October 1992, New Music America. Rosie attended performance at age 2 months.

Revised in 2006 for inclusion in What is it Like to Be a Bat? collage stabat Mom. Recorded by Bat? in 2008 at HarvestWorks.

  • six handbell players
  • electric bass
  • amplified voice
15 min.

Kitty Brazelton & Low Brass (2000)

  • Down So Low by Tracy Nelson of Mother Earth 1970, arranged by Brazelton for Low Brass 2000
  • No More Bends in the Wire by Kitty Brazelton 1996, arranged for Low Brass 2000
  • Think I'm Fallin' In Love by Kitty Brazelton & Joey Scarperia, 1982, arranged for Low Brass 2000

I started with an arrangement for voice, tuba, 2 trombones and steel drums of Tracy Nelson's Down So Low for Phil Kline's curation "Your Hit Parade" in March at the New Museum in Soho. I arranged a few more tunes of my own to perform on Frank Oteri's 21st Century Schizoid series in May with the same instrumentation (me singing, Bob Stewart tuba, my beloved Chris Washburne (from Dadadah) and Julie Josephson on trombones, Danny Tunick (also beloved from Bat?) on vibes, and Tony Lewis on drums (from the Kitchen House Blend).

  • voice
  • 2 trombones
  • tuba
  • vibes
  • drums
3 min.

photo by Susan Buck

(l-r) Brazelton, Stewart (tuba), Josephson (trombone) and Curtis Hasselbring (trombone)

 


For further music for large mixed ensembles with voice, please refer to repertoire for Brazelton-led bands DADADAH (voice, alto sax, french horn, trombone, harp, cello, electric guitar, electric bass, and drums) and BOG LIFE (mezzo-soprano, baritone, oboe, harp, marimba, double bass, guitar, percussion)