Daniel KESSNER – Monochromes

Daniel KESSNER, compositeur américain, est célébré à Nantes depuis 2014, dans le cadre de la Folle Journée, consacrée à la musique américaine.

Daniel Kessner was born in Los Angeles in 1946. He studied with Henri Lazarof at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his Ph.D. with Distinction in 1971. He is now Emeritus Professor of Music at California State University, Northridge, where he taught composition and theory from 1970 through 2006. He maintains an active career as composer, flutist, and conductor.

ABOUT Monochromes

The point of departure for Monochromes was to explore the homogeneous sound of women’s voices, but also to reimagine the ensemble, searching for possibilities other than simply SSAA or SSA. While this work may be performed in its entirety, it is conceived as a collection of short pieces, any number of which may be selected for a particular performance, and in any order.

Performing forces may range from a fairly large choir to smaller groups down to one singer on a part. Parts should be assigned with the idea of balancing the parts equally.
In certain passages, the text has been set so that phrases of text, in some cases individual words, are passed from one voice to another. For this reason, the singers are encouraged to read the entire texts in order to understand how occasional fragments of phrases or words fit into the larger context. For the audience, it is preferred that the printed texts be included with the program in performance.

The poems by Frost, Whitman, Blake, and Thomas are deep, thought-provoking, and rich in
images. They provided the traditional members of this collection, and seemed to invite
more conventional settings with gentler tempos and rhythms. The three Dickinson poems
are quirky, capricious, unpredictable, somewhat baffling, and intriguing, inviting a more
edgy, aggressive music. All together, they provide a wide variety of moods, and great
sources of contrast