Composer's songs come from poetry - Albuquerque Journal

Composer’s songs come from poetry

Of the three contemporary works on Serenata of Santa Fe’s Friday night program, Kelvin McNeal’s Songs for soprano, oboe, cello and piano is the only one that features a vocalist.

MCNEAL: Santa Fe freelance music director
MCNEAL: Santa Fe freelance music director

McNeal, a Santa Fe-based freelance music director, conductor, coach and accompanist, wrote this piece with Serenata of Santa Fe’s musicians in mind, including soprano Gail Springer.

“I’ve done a lot of work with Gail in past years, although I haven’t worked with her for about three years,” said McNeal. “Gail knows so much about the voice. I’ve written a number of pieces that she has sung, and she’s always given me good feedback about them.”

McNeal drew his text from poems written by his wife’s former college classmate Loren Crawford.

“I read some of her poems on Facebook,” McNeal explained. “I contacted her and asked her to send me quite a few of them. What I like about her work is that she has a strong voice and sense of herself. She writes with humor and wit, which I like very much. Her style is quite personal.”

At least three songs composed to Crawford’s poetry are performed by Springer, oboist Pamela Epple, cellist Sally Guenther and McNeal at the piano. The first poem, “Rainy Day,” is about what it might be like to be a postmistress at a small post office. “Remembering Mike Mullins” is a tribute to a good friend of Crawford who recently died. “For Elizabeth” honors one of Crawford’s dearest friends.

“A lot, but not all of the music in this work, has seven beats to the measure so it can be quite slippery to play,” said McNeal. “There’s a lot of room (for the instrumentalists) to fool around with the beats. This creates a swirling effect that feeds off the text.”

Ron Strauss’ piece Four Dances-Septet for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and piano also is on the program. Strauss, who grew up in Oregon pounding on his neighbor’s piano until his parents finally bought him a piano of his own, was trained in theater at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and in composition and piano at the Philadelphia Musical Academy.

He serves as part-time music director, vocal coach, accompanist and instructor at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

The program’s third work is 26.2 for violin, viola, cello and horn by composer and violist Kenji Bunch, a graduate of The Juilliard School.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Way Out West Film Fest features 88 movies with ...
Entertainment
Twenty-two feature-length films.Sixty-six short films shown ... Twenty-two feature-length films.Sixty-six short films shown in 10 shorts programs. ...
2
'A sense of pride': Film festival aims to give ...
Entertainment
When he was growing up Chinese ... When he was growing up Chinese American, most of the films Paul Jew would watch presented stereotypi ...
3
NM film industry braces for Monday strike
ABQnews Seeker
Governor backs union members, hopes for ... Governor backs union members, hopes for 'productive dialogue'
4
In the pink: Three breweries host virtual 5K to ...
Albuquerque News
Three local breweries are teaming up ... Three local breweries are teaming up to help women battling breast cancer with their Dash & Drin ...
5
'Incredible machine': Ben Mehl thrilled to join cast for ...
Entertainment
Ben Mehl didn't know much about ... Ben Mehl didn't know much about the TV series "You" before he auditioned for the third season. ...
6
Fruitful reunion: Former classmates at Santa Fe University of ...
Entertainment
It's been nearly 20 years since ... It's been nearly 20 years since Sam Quinn and Connor McLean met as theater students at the Santa Fe ...
7
Just for laughs: Albuquerque Funny Fiesta features local and ...
Albuquerque News
Albuquerque's comedy scene is full of ... Albuquerque's comedy scene is full of talent.For the second year, Albuquerque Funny Fi ...
8
Humans vs. nature: 'Thunder Rises' explores conflict between wilderness ...
Blogs
Evan Curtis began filming the stop-motion ... Evan Curtis began filming the stop-motion animated film "Thunder Rises" in fall 2019.H ...
9
'A good space to be in': Singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster ...
Entertainment
It's a chilly day in Portland, ... It's a chilly day in Portland, Oregon, and Jonathan Foster is taking part of the day for himself.

10
Street smarts: Thai Street eatery offers tasty, spicy Southeast ...
Dining Reviews
As restaurateurs go, Michelle Waterson ... As restaurateurs go, Michelle Waterson and Joshua Gomez have unorthodox backgrounds.< ...