Academic journal article Notes

Vespers

Academic journal article Notes

Vespers

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 Phila - delphia 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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