Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jere Hutcheson - Contemporary Ensemble Works (No Label, 1974)

American composer Jere Hutcheson, born 1938, has been teaching composition courses at Michigan State University for over thirty-five years. Since the early '60s, Hutcheson has composed numerous works for band/wind ensembles, orchestra, choir, solo piano and chamber ensembles. Three works comprise this promotional LP: Shadows of Floating Life, Three Things For Dr. Seuss, and Night Gallery. The first piece is a major work in four parts for two vocalists (mezzo-soprano, tenor), flute, violin, contrabass, and vibraphone. Seven poems by Iwoa Matsuhara are recited over each movement. The second piece was inspired by the work of the famous author Theodor Seuss Geisel and the strange creatures, or "Things" that are encountered in his books. It is composed for harp and six percussionists. The final piece is composed for four trombones. About this piece, Hutcheson states, 

         "I do not recall any particular impetus that caused me to write Night Gallery.  I was teaching orchestration at this time, and I was keen on getting my students to understand trombone slide positions and their relationship to glissandi.  I suspect that the piece began as an exercise in demonstrating those traits of the trombone.  No one asked me to write the piece; I just wrote it."

These three works are a great example of American, contemporary (circa 1974) ensemble composition. You can view the artist's website here and download the album here.

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