The origin of Campfire Songs emerged from the composer’s immense interest in the lure of the campfire, the American Frontier era, and the unique intimacy of Arnold Schoenberg’s chamber masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire. Alongside Seattle’s most adventurous performers, Cobb invites the listener to gather around the campfire and experience a song cycle influenced by one of America’s most ambitious and controversial eras. Combining the words of past and present American frontier poets and the untamed spirit of the American settlers, Cobb’s Campfire Songs circles the wagons for a night of poignant reflection and camaraderie along the unforgiving pioneer trail.
“Has the night descended?
Was the road of late so toilsome?
Did we stop discouraged nodding on our way?
Yet a padding hour I yield you in your tracks
to pause oblivious,
Pioneers, O pioneers!” ~Walt Whitman
1. Pioneers, O Pioneers! (W. Whitman)
2. Joys of the Trail (H. Garland)
3. The Prairie-grass Dividing (W. Whitman)
4. Missing the Trail (D. Wagoner)
5. Song of a Man About to Die in a Strange Land (M. Austin)
6. The Way West (J. Haines)
The text for each song can be viewed at www.briancobbmusic.com/campfiresongstexts.htm/
Maria Mannisto, soprano voice
Craig Garretson, baritone voice
Jesse Canterbury, clarinet & bass clarinet
Chung-Lin Lee, flute
Eric Rynes, violin
Brad Hawkins, cello
Brian Stone, guitar
Tchadd Siebken, banjo [tracks 2, 3 & 5]
Mark Wilson, banjo [tracks 4 & 6]
Greg Campbell, percussion
Dale Speicher, percussion
Julia Tai, conductor
Produced by Brian Cobb & Tom Baker for Present Sounds Recordings
All tracks by Brian Cobb, Brian Cobb Music/ASCAP
Recording engineer, Doug Haire (www.doughaire.com)
Recorded at Jack Straw Productions, Seattle, WA
Mastered by Tom Baker, H4 Studios
This recording was partially funded by the Jack Straw Artist Program
Cover Art by Wing Fong
A Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track (1814), David Rumsey Map Collection, www.davidrumsey.com
2011 Present Sounds Recordings
Brian Cobb bio:
Brian Cobb is an active composer, performer, and music educator who resides in Seattle, WA. Brian's diverse composition catalogue includes music for voice, wind ensemble, orchestra, dance, film, electronic media, and numerous chamber settings (most recently a work for viola da gamba and harpsichord, ...so simple a beginning... ). Brian's most recent works include Campfire Songs (for two voices and mixed ensemble) a theatrical song cycle set during the American Frontier era, sCatterEd (for solo flute) an interdisciplinary work that fuses music/theatre/kinesics, and the evolution-influenced in far country (for alto/soprano saxophone & piano) commissioned by saxophone virtuoso Dr. Chien-Kwan Lin. Brian’s music has been published by Ludwin Music Co and has received awards and grants from ASCAP, the University of Washington, and Jack Straw Artist's Assistant Program. He has studied composition with Klaas de Vries, Salvatore Macchia, John Bavicchi, Diane Thome, Dennis Leclaire, Juan Pampin, and Robert HP Platz. Brian's music has been performed throughout the United States and Western Europe.
Cobb has received music degrees from the University of Washington (DMA), University of Massachusetts (MM), and Berklee College of Music (BM). Brian is a Present Sounds Records recording artist and is a member of the Tom Baker Quartet, the William O. Smith Trio, and the newly formed Crosstalk. Over the years Brian has performed with George Garzone, Bob Moses, Max Vax, Ron Bosse, Jeff Galindo, Aaron Goldberg, Tom Baker, and Matana Roberts. Brian is currently on faculty at Bellevue College where he teaches music composition & theory, music history & jazz performance.