Monday, December 27, 2010

Barbara Harbach string quintet for Black Indian Cowboy score

Poetry Scores has embarked on a score to the poem O sadness over rage O rage over sadness by K. Curtis Lyle.

On this one, we started with the idea for a movie: we want to make a silent Western. So, we needed to find a poem that would yield a score that would yield an Indian and Cowboy picture, so I asked K. Curtis Lyle , our resident Black Indian Cowboy.

I put out a call for source recordings to consider for the score, and my buddy from northern Italy Andrea Van Cleef coughed up some new authentic Spaghetti Western guitar workouts.

Then I heard from the composer Barbara Harbach. Got to love a composer who responds as fast as the scruffy rockers of northern Italy!
Here is an mp3 of the first movement from my Freedom Suite for String Orchestra, "I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman". It has a mid-19th century sound that has folk-like melodies that might fit your cowboy theme. It will be recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in March. The other two movements might work also. No problem if it does not fit…

Barbara is unique.

I begged the other two movements from her as well, with permission to post them up. So here they are. These are Barbara's compositions on the computer software she uses; just imagine what the orchestral versions will sound like when we get to hear them!


Freedom Suite for String Quintet

By Barbara Harbach

I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman

II. Eliza and Lizzie – Let My People Go!

III. Freedom



Freedom Suite for String Quintet

By Barbara Harbach

Harbach wrote Freedom Suite for String Quintet in the summer of 2010, inspired by the life of Harriet Scott, her husband Dred Scott and their two daughters, Eliza and Lizzie. The premiere will be January 17, 2011 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis at 10 a.m.

"I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman" is inspired by Harriet’s memories as a child in Minnesota and St. Louis. She would have heard spirituals and dance music as an adult, and they, hopefully, would have reminded her of the good memories she had as a child and a young woman.

A brief introduction ushers in "The Good Lord is Comin’ for Me," a new spiritual based on the traditions of the 18th and 19th century American spirituals. Dance reels follow, in imitation of the Virginia Reels that were popular in the 19th century and in St. Louis. The poignant spiritual "Don’t You Weep When I’m Gone," composed by Harry (Henry) Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949), has the melody in the cello that so wonderfully portrays the rich somberness of Burleigh’s melody. The dance tunes and "The Good Lord is Comin’ for Me" return and rush exuberantly toward the close.
When I’m gone, gone, when I’m gone, gone, gone, O mother; don’t you weep when I am gone. For I’m goin’ to heav’n above, Going to the God of Love, O mother, don’t you weep when I am gone. When I’m gone, gone, When I’m gone, gone, gone. O mother, don’t you weep when I am gone. O, mother meet me there, mother, meet me in de air, O mother don’t you weep when I am gone. When I’m gone, gone, When I’m gone, gone, gone. O Mother, don’t you weep when I am gone.
"II. Eliza and Lizzie – Let My People Go!"
The second movement is based on two spirituals – "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" and "Go Down, Moses". The movement opens with seemingly random pitches in long notes, but is built on the circle-of-fifths utilizing the notes in the chromatic scale. The first section features "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" in G Minor with a triple canon among the two violins and viola. An interlude of the opening material then precedes a combination of the two melodies in F-sharp Minor although the melody "Go Down, Moses" predominates. The final section combines as well as alternates between the two melodies.

"III. Freedom" opens with a rising and ecstatic fanfare. A joyous four-voice fugue begins. Even amid the celebration of freedom is the ache of memories from the past – "Many Thousands Gone" – a new melody inspired by the words of the 19th century spiritual of the same name. The fugue melody is then combined with "Many Thousands Gone". With each return of the fanfare, excitement builds …but always touched by the memories of the many that have gone … until the feeling of freedom is wholly embraced.


Freedom Suite for String Quintet
is published and copyrighted by Barbara Harbach with Vivace Press, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2010.


Picture is of Barbara Harbach in Romania.

No comments: