Poné Ensemble for New Music presents A Copland Evening

NEW PALTZ – The inventive Poné Ensemble for New Music will present A Copland Evening on Oct. 5 at 8:00 p.m. in McKenna Theatre on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz. The Ensemble will perform Quiet City, (a newly reconstructed version by Christopher Brellochs,) Old American Songs, with baritone Kent Smith and pianist Ruthanne Schempf, and Appalachian Spring, conducted by Edward Lundergan. At 7:00 p.m., prior to the concert, Christopher Brellochs will give a pre-concert talk in McKenna Theatre.

Quiet City
In 1939 Aaron Copland composed incidental music for a play by Irwin Shaw called The Quiet City. The play was canceled after two tryout performances. Although the original manuscript has never been published, Copland recast some of this material for two works. – the concert version of Quiet City (1940) for trumpet, English horn, and string orchestra; and the Academy Award nominated film score to Our Town (1940). Copland stated his own artistic ideas on the subject of adapting music for the concert stage when working on The Red Pony suite, “In shaping the suite I recast much of the musical material so that, although all the music may be heard in the film, it has been reorganized as to continuity for concert purposes.”

Following Copland’s ideals, the reconstruction of Quiet City by Christopher Brellochs includes all the musical material from the unpublished manuscript and preserves the original chamber ensemble of trumpet, alto saxophone, Bb clarinet and piano. In addition to reorganizing the material for concert purposes, a few orchestration changes were required to achieve a balanced chamber quality; no new material was written. Brellochs currently has the exclusive right to perform and record this new version of Quiet City from The Copland Estate and Boosey & Hawkes.

Old American Songs
Copland’s two sets of Old American Songs for voice and piano (1950 and 1952) each contain five songs. The selections for this concert, sung by baritone Kent Smith, reflect a wide spectrum of 19th-century American popular music including The Boatmen’s Dance, The Dodger, the Shaker tune Simple Gifts, The Golden Willow Tree, At the River and I Bought Me a Cat.

Appalachian Spring
In 1943 Martha Graham asked Copland to write a ballet score for her dance company. Appalachian Spring is set on the Pennsylvania frontier in the early 19th-century. The piece culminates in a set of variations on the Shaker hymn tune Simple Gifts. The version performed is a slightly abridged version of the complete ballet, scored for the original ensemble of 13 instruments and omitting several sections where the interest is primarily choreographic rather than musical.

The Poné Ensemble
This special concert returns the Poné Ensemble for New Music to its origins where its founder, Professor Gundaris Poné, was composer and teacher. The Poné Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music. Each concert season brings guest artists to join with the regular musicians of the Ensemble in offering music of the 20th and 21st centuries that are unlikely to be heard elsewhere. www.poneensemble.org

Christopher Brellochs
Christopher Brellochs is an active saxophonist as well as a full-time instructor of music at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he serves as Chair of the Music Certificate Program and Department Supervisor of Music. Brellochs’ numerous performances have included the solo in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at Carnegie Hall, a solo recital at the 32nd International Saxophone Symposium hosted by the U.S. Navy Band, and recitals throughout the Northeast. He recently released a solo recording entitled Apotheosis of the Saxophone that is available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. Brellochs has presented multiple lectures at the Manhattan School of Music. Recent papers and articles have included “Benjamin Britten and the Saxophone,” “Aaron Copland and the Saxophone,” and “Aaron Copland’s Use of the Saxophone in Wind Band Repertoire.”

Ticket sales, available at McKenna Theatre beginning 6:30 p.m. the evening of the performance, are $10 general admission, $8 for New Paltz faculty/staff and seniors, and $3 for students. For additional information call (845) 257-2700.