9 Movement Suite: Songs Of Peace

32:41
Jeremy Wall & The Catskill Symphony
Jeremy Wall

Story

Was honored to join Jeremy Wall, the Catskill Symphony, and Julie Licata on Jeremy Wall's magnum opus “Songs of Peace,” a 30-minute suite of nine songs influenced by classical, jazz, pop and world music performed on May 2nd, 2015 at the Hunt Union Ballroom & Concert Hall at SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY.  The piece was performed by the combined chorus from Hartwick College (Dr. Colin Armstrong, Director) and SUNY Oneonta (Dr. Robert Barstow, Director), and featured SUNY Oneonta's professor Colby Thomas, soprano, and baritone Philip Hernandez, a SUNY Oneonta graduate.   The following is an excerpt from a review of the performance: In its entirety, the suite of songs was a collection of music from numerous cultures, blended with influences of more popular styles of music.  Beginning with a hip Moroccan motif, the first song, “The Reed Flute,” set an example for what was to follow, incorporating English text and slightly distorted electric guitar in an eclectic mix of sounds. The brass and strings were prominent at different moments, adding a chamber music feel, while at one point a trumpeter carried a melody with a harmon mute, adding jazz flavor.  The first four songs saw a steady increase in tension, with the music growing more eerie and foreboding as it progressed. Syncopated rhythms rose out of the background as the Chamber Singers chanted “Don’t go back to sleep,” in the escalation of the fourth song, suddenly, the tension was shattered with a soaring high note and the audience breathed in release as we were carried into a peaceful, lulling period of the music.  Rising in energy once again but this time with excitement instead of tension, the piece grew into an upbeat R & B gospel song, with a bouncing bass line, then swelled with the effect of a larger orchestra with a grandiose passage, borrowing text from the beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-10. The electric guitar was featured once more as the heroic song rose to its close, then fell into the slammin’ Brazilian samba with an enthusiastic count-off from Wall.  Piano and symphony improvised through call and response. All instruments dropped suddenly, leaving only the rhythm section, then gradually reentered until the music unfolded ostentatiously and ended with a final “Alleluia!” from the chorus.

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