Joelle Wallach | The Door Standing Open

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The Door Standing Open

by Joelle Wallach

Genre: Classical: Art songs
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1. The Cloths of Heaven (from Millenial Love Songs) Joelle Wallach, Steven Harlos & Stephen Alexander Carroll
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3:03 $0.99
2. Epistolary (from Daughters of Silence) Marie Therese Mattingly, Soprano; Chie Watanabe, Piano
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1:36 $0.99
3. Making Love to the Milkman (from Love in the Early Morning) Marie Therese Mattingly, Soprano; Chie Watanabe, Piano
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1:44 $0.99
4. When Lost in the Forest (from the Dream of Now) Avis Stroud, Mezzo; Steven Harlos, Piano
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2:30 $0.99
5. From the Almanac of Last Things (from the Dream of Now) Avis Stroud, Mezzo; Steven Harlos, Piano
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1:52 $0.99
6. Spiritual Avis Stroud, Mezzo; Steven Harlos, Piano
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4:13 $0.99
7. Runes and Ritual Pamela Mia Paul, Piano; Felix Olschofka, Violin; Susan Dubois, Viola, Nikola Ruzevic, Cello
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12:44 $0.99
8. Let Evening Come (from the Dream of Now) Avis Stroud, Mezzo; Steven Harlos, Piano
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3:28 $0.99
9. The Door Standing Open - On the Equator Jeffrey Snider, Baritone; Elvia Puccinelli, Piano
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3:20 $0.99
10. The Door Standing Open - Like a Girl Jeffrey Snider, Baritone; Elvia Puccinelli, Piano
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1:12 $0.99
11. The Door Standing Open - Vetus Flamma Jeffrey Snider, Baritone; Elvia Puccinelli, Piano
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3:34 $0.99
12. The Door Standing Open - With My God the Smith Jeffrey Snider, Baritone; Elvia Puccinelli, Piano
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2:24 $0.99
13. Close Your Eyes (from Millenial Love Songs) Marie Therese Mattingly, Soprano; Chie Watanabe, Piano
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3:41 $0.99
14. The Nightwatch (from the Nightwatch) Stephen Alexander Carroll, Tenor; Steven Harlos, Piano
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1:30 $0.99
15. Assurance (from the Nightwatch) Stephen Alexander Carroll, Tenor; Steven Harlos, Piano
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2:31 $0.99
16. Broken-Faced Gargoyles (from the Dream of Now) Stephen Alexander Carroll, Tenor; Steven Harlos, Piano
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4:46 $0.99
17. String Quartet #2 -1st Movement Dayeon Hong & Ilyas Duissen, Violins; Lacey Kesterke, Viola; Yu-Ho Change, Cello
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3:58 $0.99
18. String Quartet #2 - 2nd Movement Dayeon Hong & Ilyas Duissen, Violins; Lacey Kesterke, Viola; Yu-Ho Change, Cello
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1:54 $0.99
19. String Quartet #2 - 3rd Movement Dayeon Hong & Ilyas Duissen, Violins; Lacey Kesterke, Viola; Yu-Ho Change, Cello
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2:41 $0.99
20. String Quartet #2 - 4th Movement Dayeon Hong & Ilyas Duissen, Violins; Lacey Kesterke, Viola; Yu-Ho Change, Cello
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4:32 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Joelle Wallach
The Door Standing Open
Songs and Related Chamber Works

Composer Joelle Wallach writes music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles and solo voice. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles premiered her octet, “From the Forest of Chimneys,” written to celebrate their 10th anniversary; and the New York Choral Society commissioned her secular oratorio, “Toward a Time of Renewal,” for 200 voices and orchestra to commemorate their 35th Anniversary Season in Carnegie Hall. New York’s New Music for Young Ensembles nominated her piano quartet, “Runes and Ritual,” for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music and Wallach’s String Quartet #2 was the American Composers Alliance nominee for Pulitzer Prize in 1997.
Dr. Wallach’s popular and profound lectures at the New York Philharmonic and the Dallas Symphony address a broad range of musical subjects, bringing fresh insights to familiar works and opening doors to modern ones and to those less frequently heard.
Wallach grew up in Morocco, and makes her home in New York City, where she was born. Her early training in piano, voice, theory, bassoon and violin included study at the Juilliard Preparatory Division. She earned bachelors and masters degrees at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University respectively. As early as 1980 her choral work, “On the Beach at Night Alone,” won first prize in the Inter-American Music Awards. In 1984 the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with John Corigliano, granted her its first doctorate in composition.
Dr. Wallach served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the College of Music at the University of North Texas during the academic years 2010-2012 and this recording commemorates her years teaching there. They attest to Wallach’s ongoing engagement with vocal music and melody and to her belief in their connection to the collective unconscious through folk music and musical gesture. The two non-vocal chamber works on this disc developed from the songs heard immediately before them.

1. The Cloths of Heaven (from “Millennial Love Songs”) is derived from gestures and moods of Irish speech and song. The William Butler Yeats poem on which it is based invites us into a personal world of dreams and imagination. Wallach has chosen it to open the disc as an invitation into the world of her songs which are, of course, her own dreams.
Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
2. Assurance is based on the poem William Stafford wrote for his wife just prior to his death.

You will never be alone.
You hear too deep a sound
when autumn comes.
Yellow pulls across
the hills and thrums,
or silence after lightning
before it says its names.

You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone.
Rain will come,
a gutter filled,
an Amazon, long aisles.

You never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years.
That's what the silence meant,
the whole wide world pours down.

3. The Nightwatch is full of longing and the“w’s,” of Madeleine Tiger’s poem, with its watery sounds of rain, tears, waves and woe.

Wherever you are tonight,
will you know how the
world was washed
where I was?

When I went away
wishing for you
I was wrong.

I wanted to vow
I wouldn't worry;
we weren't the world's twins.

Now I allow whole wastes,
winter wherever I am,
even when the weather warms.

No wonder I
will welcome the
wolf of my wanting.


4. Broken-faced Gargoyles, based on a poem by Carl Sandburg, explores emotional depletion – nothing - neither love nor joy - left to spare after a grievous loss.

All I can give you is broken-face gargoyles.
It is too early to sing and dance at funerals,
Though I can whisper to you I am looking for an undertaker humming a lullaby and throwing his feet in a swift and mystic buck-
and-wing, now you see it and now you don't.

Fish to swim a pool in your garden flashing a speckled silver,
A basket of wine-saps filling your room with flame-dark for your
eyes and the tang of valley orchards for your nose,
Such a beautiful pail of fish, such a beautiful peck of apples,
I cannot bring you now.
It is too early and I am not footloose yet.

I shall come in the night when I come with a hammer and saw.
I shall come near your window, where you look out when your eyes
open in the morning,
And there I shall slam together bird-houses and bird-baths for wing-
loose wrens and hummers to live in, birds with yellow wing tips to
blur and buzz soft all summer,
So I shall make little fool homes with doors, always open doors for
all and each to run away when they want to.
I shall come just like that even though now it is early and I am not
yet footloose,
Even though I am still looking for an undertaker with a raw, wind-
bitten face and a dance in his feet.
I make a date with you (put it down) for six o'clock in the evening
a thousand years from now.

All I can give you now is broken-face gargoyles.
All I can give you now is a double gorilla head with two fish mouths
and four eagle eyes hooked on a street wall, spouting water and
looking two ways to the ends of the street for the new people, the
young strangers, coming, coming, always coming.

It is early.
I shall yet be footloose.


5.-8. String Quartet #2 takes its stark epigram from Yeats' "The Circus Animals' Desertion":

...Now that my ladder's gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

The work was conceived and composed in the aftermath of the composer's husband's sudden, untimely death, and based on ideas found in the three songs above. As the Yeats lines suggest, the quartet's four movements explore intense sensibilities and subtle interactions among players.

The Quartet consists of four movements or moods. The first is nostalgic, declarative, almost sweet. Each instrument alternately sings part of the melodic line and plays other melodic fragments against it. Often they play in pairs. The second movement is angry, angular yet again clearly melodic. The instruments this time almost always move in parallel pairs. They rage against one another while driven closely together.

In the third movement, the viola sustains the plaintive melody of “Assurance” while the other instruments provide an eerie harmonic background. Although the harmonic motion seems static, the music inexorably stretches toward unexpected tonal centers.
The fourth movement, based on “Brokenfaced Gargoyles,” is brisker. Here the instruments again frequently play in pairs, and then break off and abandon the solitary viola to play alone, exploring cadenzas that seem to contemplate and reconsider the music that's gone before.

9. Epistolary (“from Daughters of Silence”) is a setting of a real – but anonymous - personal advertisement from The New York Review of Books. It is wistful yet a little brash - and funny as well. Like the phenomenon of personal ads, the song is of our own time but recalls a Romantic ideal.





10. Close Your Eyes (from “Millenial Love Songs”) is based on a poem by D.H. Lawrence which pleads for the emotional rather cerebral in love.

Close your eyes, my love, let me make you blind;
They have taught you to see
Only a mean arithmetic on the face of things,
A cunning algebra in the faces of men,
And God like geometry
Completing his circles, and working cleverly.

I’ll kiss you over the eyes till I kiss you blind;
If I can—if anyone could.
Then perhaps in the dark you’ll have got what you want to find.
You’ve discovered so many bits, with your clever eyes,
And I’m a kaleidoscope
That you shake and shake, and yet it won’t come to your mind.


11. Making Love to the Milkman (from “Love in the Early Morning”), based on a poem by Boston poet Susan Donnelly, makes us wonder: has she or hasn’t she – is it her fantasy or is the man who delivers dairy products before dawn truly if secretly her lover?

He's predictable
Yet with that shock
of red hair
my son is known by.
I don't trust a man
in a closed van. Give me
a butter-colored truck.
Guernsey in watercress,
laid back door
and him swinging out
in the quickmarch
of the deliverer.
None of your waxy
cardboard.
He brings bottles
trembling together, dewed
with early morning,
feathered brown eggs
that fit your palm. His
is Grade A
sun, tempered
so you can look
straight at it,
distillation of meadow
blown from the pod
in a lavish scattering,
cream
rising to the top
of the daily churn.
Human kindness.

12.-15. The Door Standing Open, four songs of spiritual torment, based on poems and translations by Robert Mezey. In accord with the poet's usage, pronouns referring to God are not capitalized.

12. - I - On the Equator
How rarely your mercy visits me,
My king, my father;
... most of my days, I am your wandering son
Who has cast his lot like a prophet
In the desert of his days.

And your deliverance that comes to me then,
My father, my king,
Is like a well that the wanderer came on at last,
When he had almost prayed for death from thirst
And the heat that shrivels the body.

... at times it is so sweet,
... like a miraculous dream that you give
To the blind man in his agony, at night.
He dreams that his eyes are open and that he sees
The face of his wife and the dark gold of her hair.

But at times you make sport of me,
My father, my king, and I draw back
... grow small with loneliness, like the blind man awakened
from his dream.
I gaze at my coming days, and I descend
Into the black abyss....
Translated from the Hebrew original of Uri Zvi Greenberg

13. – II - Like a Girl
Like a girl who knows that her body drives me to begging,
God taunts me, Flee if you can! But I can't flee,
For when I turn away from him, angry and heartsick,
With a vowel on my lips like a burning coal:
I will not see him again —

I can't do it.
And I turn back
... knock on his door,
Tortured with longing

As though he had sent me a love-letter.
Translated from the Hebrew original of Uri Zvi Greenberg

14. – III - Vetus Flamma
That love which once was nearest to my heart
... pressed against my arm and forehead too,
Is gone and you went with it. We are two.
You have your legends, I, an empty heart;
And in the quieted pounding of that heart;
I hear what future I awaken to.
Night falls each dawn and stays a week or two,
And all there is to eat is my own heart.

I nurse a broken love, your broken word,
And cannot even recollect your name,
But keep the smallest remnant of your word
To ornament my door with what I lost.
Unaging ghost, you never said your name —
You only came to wrestle, and I lost.

15. – IV - With My God the Smith

Like chapters of prophesy my days burn, in ... revelations,
... my body between them's a block of metal...,
... over me stands my God the Smith, who hits hard:
The wounds that Time has opened in me, open their mouths
to him
... release in a shower of sparks the intrinsic fire.

This is my just lot — until dusk on the road.
... when I return to throw my beaten block on a bed,
My mouth is an open wound
And naked I speak with God:
You worked hard.
Now it is night, come, let us both rest.
Translated from the Hebrew original of Uri Zvi Greenberg
16. When Lost in the Forest (from “The Dream of Now”) is based on a poem by David Wagoner and reflects the Pacific Northwest Indians’ reliance on the wisdom of nature.
Stand still.
The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger;
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes.
Listen.
It answers.
I have made this place around you,
And if you leave it
You may come back again
Saying…
“ Here.”
No two trees are the same to raven
No two branches are the same to wren.
If what a tree or branch
Does is lost on you,
Then you are surely lost.
Stand still.
The forest knows where you are.
You must let it find you.
17. Spiritual is based on a poem by Langston Hughes which borrows – as the music does as well - from the spirit and gestures of a glorious American genre.

Rocks and the firm roots of trees.
The rising shafts of mountains.
Something strong to put my hands on.

Sing, O Lord Jesus!
Song is such a strong thing.
I heard my mother singing
When life hurt her:

Gonna ride in my chariot some day!

The branches rise
From the firm roots of trees.
The mountains rise
From the solid lap of the earth.
The waves rise
From the dead weight of sea.

Sing, O black mother!
Song is such a strong thing.


18. From the Almanac of Last Things (from “The Dream of Now”) is a love song, based on a poem by Linda Pastan, which celebrates the depth and wisdom of love which ripens at an advanced age:

From the almanac of last things
I choose the spider lily
for the grace of its brief
blossom, though I myself
fear brevity,

but I choose The Song of Songs
because the flesh
of those pomegranates
has survived
all the frost of dogma.

I choose January with its chill
lessons of patience and despair--and
August, too sun-struck for lessons.
I choose a thimbleful of red wine
to make my heart race,

then another to help me
sleep. From the almanac
of last things I choose you,
as I have done before.
And I choose evening

because the light clinging
to the window
is at its most reflective
just as it is ready
to go out.


19. Runes and Ritual, a quartet for piano and strings was commissioned by the James Piano Quartet and draws on the rich myth, magic and folklore embedded in the traditions of rural Virginia, where the James Piano Quartet was residence for some years. Runes and Ritual adopts motives from the songs above while borrowing musical gestures from the indigenous spirituals, hollers, hymn tunes, lullabies and yelps of the Virginia countryside. The music transforms and fuses those elements into a dramatic tapestry, evoking the inexplicable magic of music itself.

20. Let Evening Come, is based on one of poet Jane Kenyon’s final poems, written as Kenyon came to accept her rapidly approaching death. She observes life’s abundance of beauty and blessings as she comes to see her own death as a natural and inevitable part of life’s lush landscape.

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.


Acknowledgements:

This recording was supported by a Research Enabling Grant from the University of North Texas Office of Research and Economic Development.

Recording engineer Gregory Dixon; editing and mastering, Ron Meyer

Graphics and design, Bradley Haefner


JCARD – back insert:

Joelle Wallach
The Door Standing Open
Songs and Related Chamber Works

This recording celebrates composer Joelle Wallach’s ongoing engagement with vocal music, with melody and with her conviction of their connection to the collective unconscious through folk music and musical gesture. The songs selected reach through several decades and touch a variety issues and interests in Wallach’s life. The two non-vocal chamber works grew directly from the songs represented immediately before them on the disc.

1. The Cloths of Heaven: Steven Alexander Carroll, tenor; Stephen Harlos, piano 3.06
2. Assurance: Steven Alexander Carroll, tenor; Stephen Harlos, piano 2.38
3. The Nightwatch: Steven Alexander Carroll, tenor; Stephen Harlos, piano 1.34
4. Broken-faced Gargoyles: Steven Alexander Carroll, tenor; Stephen Harlos, piano 4.52
5.-8. String Quartet #2: The University of North Texas’ Conductors’ String Quartet: 13.10
Dayeon Hong & Ilyas Duissen, violins; Lacey Kesterkey, viola; Yu-ho Chang, ‘cello
5. I 3.59
6. II 1.55
7. III 2.42
8. IV 4.32
9. Epistolary: Tess Mattingly, soprano; Chie Watanabe, piano 1.46
10. Close Your Eyes: Tess Mattingly, soprano; Chie Watanabe, piano 3.47
11. Making Love to the Milkman: Tess Mattingly, soprano; Chie Watanabe, piano 1.47
12-15. The Door Standing Open: Jeffrey Snider, baritone; Elvia Puccinelli, piano ? 11.43
12. On the Equator ? 3.26
13. Like a Girl ? 1.24
14. Vetus Flamma ? 3.46
15. With My God the Smith? ? 2.37
16. When Lost in the Forest: Avis Stroud, mezzo-soprano; Steven Harlos, piano 2.34
17. Spiritual: Avis Stroud, mezzo-soprano; Steven Harlos, piano 4.15
18. From the Almanac of Last Things:Avis Stroud, mezzo-soprano; Steven Harlos, piano2.01
19. Runes and Ritual: Felix Olschofka, violin; Susan Dubois, viola; 12.48
Nikola Ruzavic, ‘cello; Pamela Mia Paul, piano
20. Let Evening Come: Avis Stroud, mezzo-soprano; Steven Harlos, piano 3.32


This recording and the October 29, 2011 recital on which it is based were supported by a Research Enabling Grant from the University of North Texas Office of Research and Economic Development.

Recording engineer, Gregory Dixon; editing and mastering, Ron Meyer



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