Story

Portrait 2: Pretty Polly (written in 1987) uses musical quotations based on the old folk, *murder ballad, Pretty Polly.   The folk song describes the seduction and subsequent murder of a young girl, Pretty Polly, by a crafty and unscrupulous Willie (in some versions, Pretty Willie).  Toward the end of the song, there is the phrase: “It’s a debt to the devil poor Willie must pay.”   In pondering the fate of Willie’s soul and as a vehicle of musical inspiration, the composer projects a simple programmatic fantasy where the opposing forces of heaven and hell demonstrate their strength and weigh Willie’s soul upon the great scale of judgment.  (see Program Notes 2)

Story

Lukas Foss conducted this work during three successive concert seasons.  Two with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra  and one with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

The name of this composition “and left ol’ Joe a bone, AMAZING!”, is derived from the musical quotation of two popular songs, both being embedded in my mind at a very early age.  In order to entertain his many grandchildren, my grandfather, William Salmon (1875-1966), used to sing a folk song called “Old Joe Clark.”

I went down to ol’ Joe’s house;
ol’ Joe wasn’t at home.
‘ate all the meat that ol’ Joe had,
and left ol’ Joe a bone.

The second quotation is a musical fragment from the old hymn tune, “Amazing Grace.”  (This quotation can be viewed on pages 35,36, and 37 of the score.)   (SEE PROGRAM NOTES 2)

Plain

Story

This Movement has been revised from its original performance.

Four Trumpets
Gerald Plain

Story

This short fanfare is dedicated to Nana Lampton and was electronically premiered at the reading of her new book, Wash the Dust from My Eyes at the Madison Cawein house, Louisville, KY.   The book of poetry and nonfiction writing is inspired from the letters and journal entries of her grandfather, John Mason, in his early years during the World War I.   He was training solders in a cavalry unit on the Fort Riley military reservation in Kansas.   

The composer takes on the flavor of the military by quoting the familiar bugle call, Reveille, that wakes the troops in the morning.   It is written for four trumpets which are spaced widely across the stage.   The minor mode is used instead of the familiar major of the original tune.

String Quintet
Gerald Plain

Story

The same as the above, but in a String Quintet version:  Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass

OPEN YOUR EARS

LISTEN

THE

SOUND

FLOWS

OBJECTIVE

I have been using folk materials in my compositions since 1969 and my objective has always been to artfully fuse these elements into a modern sound fabric.

My Performance Conductors:

Gianluigi Gelmetti, Massimo Pradella, Oleg Kovalenko, Gerhard Samuel, Lukas Foss, Lawrence Foster, Michael Morgan, Kenneth Jean, Paul Polivnick, Gunther Schuller, Steven Smith, Sydney Hodkinson, Stewart Robertson, Andrew Davis, Edwin London, John McL. Williams

PROFESSIONAL ORCHESTRAS

Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Louisville Orchestra,  Vermont Symphony Orchestra,  Richmond (VA) Symphony,  Atlantic Classical Orchestra,  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,  Long Beach Symphony,  Civic Orchestra of Chicago,  Alabama Symphony Orchestra,  Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,  Brooklyn Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra,  Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Radiotelevisione Italiana Orchestra of Rome, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo.