Academic journal article Notes

Kile Smith

Academic journal article Notes

Kile Smith

Article excerpt

Kile Smith. Vespers. Piffaro; The Crossing / Donald Nally. Navona NV5809, 2008.

When the artistic directors of Piffaro, The Renaissance Band were considering the idea of commissioning a new work for the ensemble, they immediately dismissed the idea of asking a living composer to ape the styles of Renaissance musicians. Instead, they went looking for someone who could, in one of the co-directors' words, "utilize Renaissance material as a springboard into a totally new work, a new vision, a new language." What they subsequently got from Kile Smith was at least a partial realization of those wishes, and certainly an attractive and enjoyable piece. Smith's Vespers is a liturgical work in the Reformed tradition, centered on Lutheran choral melodies; it consists largely of choral sections (featuring an excellent Philadelphia ensemble called The Crossing), alternating with instrumental ones, though there are some passages and sections that combine the two with instruments doubling the voices. It might be a stretch to say that this music represents a new language: the harmonic material is a blend of ancient modality and modern abstraction. …

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