Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was an enigmatic composer, extremely shy and diffident. A renowned organ virtuoso with strong improvisational skills, he is known for composing some of the most complex and richly textured music ever written.
Yet, when I was younger, Bruckner was a composer I wrote off entirely. His large orchestral textures and massive lengthy pieces, and even the symphonies, praised by so many, felt bloated and over-stuffed. And then, in college, a teacher named Ford Mylius Lallerstedt introduced me to the vocal writing of Bruckner, mostly in his motets and masses.
The beauty and power of his counterpoint, when stripped down from the orchestral intensity, had a purity of spirit that I fell in love with, and have sought to emulate in my own writing ever since. As odd as it may sound, in some ways, Bruckner’s simplicity is akin to that of Lou Harrison, as is his pathos.
Composed in 1866 to honor the completion of the chapel in the new cathedral of Linz, the Mass in E Minor has been described as among the most important sacred works of the Romantic era. The Kyrie represents a microcosm of the entire mass. Composed of individual blocks of music that display an extreme range of dynamics– from the quietest a cappella music to massive walls of sound.
In the Kyrie, Bruckner creates an ethereal polyphonic soundscape that floods the senses. Originally scored for eight-voice mixed choir and a small group of wind instruments, I have arranged the piece for 8 double basses.
AFTER EVERYTHING PRESENTS S T R O N G H O L D A SELECTION OF WORKS BY
ANTON BRUCKNER Mass no 2 in E Minor, Kyrie
ANGELICA NEGRON Dust
PREBEN ANTONSEN Voices from the Nettle-Path
REZA VALI Folk Songs from Set 15
JULIA WOLFE Stronghold
8pm Saturday, February 24, 2018 U N I T Y C H U R C H O F S A N F R A N C I S C O