New York, NY — October brings us two new works from visionary contemporary composer Martin Bresnick. Prayers Remain Forever (B3445 – Score and Part - $19.99) is a melancholy solo for cello with piano was inspired by the poem “Gods Come and Go, Prayers Remain Forever,” by the great Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. In the words of the composer: “Although Amichai surely meant to calm and console us by the gentle wisdom and beauty of his words, I now also hear a strain of existential reproach. In my work, Prayers Remain Forever, I join my prayer to his.”
The second work to be released this month is entitled Going Home (Vysoke, My Jerusalem) (MXE36 – Score and Parts - $24.99), an oboe quartet which Bresnick wrote at the request of the group Double Entendre. Bresnick began playing the oboe at the age of eleven and performed seriously throughout graduate school, and was delighted at the request. This work’s composition became an unexpected journey into his family’s past. From the composer: “Delighted to receive a commission to write an oboe quartet for Double Entendre, I was pleased at the thought I would find myself ‘Going Home’ (with a glancing reference to the great English horn melody of Dvorák); I intended to take a gentle musical journey back to my youthful studies and beloved instrument. Instead, without willing it, I was taken back to childhood memories of my mother and my grandparents; to their songs and stories of ‘Vysoke Litovsk,’ the small Russian-Polish (now Belarussian) town where they and my ancestors had lived for many generations. I was taken back to memories of my own visit to Vysoke in 1995. Just as my mother and grandparents remembered, I found the dense birch and pine forests, the small railway station and the Potocki estate. The Catholic Church, just being restored, stood not far from the brilliant blue and gold-onion domes of the Orthodox Church. And, as they remembered, the Pulwa river (a tributary of the Bug river) ran beside the meadow. Goats and horses were grazing there, tethered to the green grass. The ruined synagogue, at the edge of the meadow, was just a short distance down an unpaved dirt road that led to a small wooden house, once the home of my family.”
Both of these new works are best suited for advanced players.
Martin Bresnick’s compositions cover a wide range of instrumentation, from chamber music to symphonic compositions and computer music. His chamber music has been performed in concert by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Sonor; Da Capo Chamber Players; Speculum Musicae; Bang on A Can All Stars; Nash Ensemble; MusicWorks!; Zeitgeist; Left Coast Ensemble; Musical Elements. Born in New York City in 1946, Bresnick was educated at the High School of Music and Art, the University of Hartford (B.A. '67), Stanford University (M.A. '68, D.M.A. '72), and the Akademie für Musik, Vienna ('69-'70). His principal teachers of composition include György Ligeti, John Chowning, and Gottfried von Einem. Presently Professor of Composition and Coordinator of the Composition Department at the Yale School of Music, he has also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1971-72) and Stanford University (1972-75), among others. Read more about Martin Bresnick here.
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