The Cherry Hill Chamber Orchestra, Marshunda Smith conducting, will perform my piece 'Danvers Harmony' on October 23, 2021 at 3:00 PM at Beverly Second Congregational Church in North Beverly, MA.
Here are some program notes that I wrote for the occasion:
At the behest of conductor Marshunda Smith, I composed Danvers Harmonies in 2019 as part of a group of six pieces for chamber orchestra, collectively titled Sinfonietta. Three of the pieces are based on British and American folk tunes. One of the other pieces is written in the form and style of ragtime, an American genre that I am fond of. Marshunda Smith and her orchestra performed a selection of the pieces in 2019, including Danvers Harmonies.
I recently arranged the piece for strings; that is what you will hear tonight.
Danvers Harmonies is made up of melodies and variations of melodies, some related, and some contrasting. Many of the melodies begin the same way (with a skip and then a step), but then they branch out in different ways. Perhaps I was thinking of John Dunstable, a medieval English composer who used a similar pattern (or ‘head-motif’) in several of his works. The form of the piece is episodic and intuitive, a fantasia. I think you will hear a variety of moods and ‘tones of voice’ in the music; tentative, lyrical, and humorous. There is even a little bit of burlesque.
Why the title? On one hand, I was thinking about some of the early American music books, like Southern Harmony, Kentucky Harmony, and others. On the other hand, I thought it might be appropriate to name a piece after the town where I have lived for over 30 years. Let there be music FOR Danvers FROM Danvers!