The idea of a forest was the impetus for this piece, a progression of scenes and images that unrolls in time. The horn begins with a revolving, winding minor triad, which is then extended by the violin and piano. This is the mystery of the woods--- a “forest theme.” Then, echoing from memories long past, a contrasting bird-call motif sounds in the piano.
These two ideas are the dramatis personae in BALLADE. There follows a musical adventure, which, like any wild space, is its own reason for existing.
Listen: Robert Ward, horn; Victor Romasevich, violin; Marilyn Thompson, piano
THE MEMORY PALACE (2006)
14:25 ---clarinet, cello, piano (Subito Music
At 6:00 on an evening in May several years ago, I happened to be standing on the ramparts of a castle overlooking the Main River and the old town of Wuertzburg. I counted at least ten church steeples in the town below, and it seemed as if the bells in each of them started ringing on the hour. I had never heard such deep, sonorous, booming bells.
The evening was beautiful, the air soft, and I felt steeped in the centuries-old atmosphere of the castle. Later, on the flight home, I found myself working on some sort of “musical artifact,” and months later, it assumed the shape of a very long chorale tune, or perhaps a pavane, more suited to something I might have written if I had lived in the 1600’s. I used both the “pavane” and an idealization of the deep throbbing church bells of Wuertzburg as material for a theme and variations for clarinet, cello, and piano. There is an old French tune naming various churches (how that got into my Germanic fantasy, I can’t say) which suited my purposes, as well as some more “literal” chiming made by touching the nodes of strings in the contra-octave range of the piano, while the corresponding keys of those strings are struck. It is this effect which both opens and closes the piece.
The New York New Music Ensemble: Jayn Rosenfeld, flutes; Jean Kopperud, clarinet; Linda Quan, violin; Chris Finckel, cello; James Winn, piano; Daniel Druckman, percussion; David Gilbert, guest conductor
FOUR ELEMENTS (1974-77)
In 4 movements: Wind Fantasy, Water Portrait, Earth, Fire Music
16:15 ----horn, piano (Subito Music)
In a colorful evocation of the elements, Callaway explores the timbral possibilities of the two instruments in Four Elements, using a variety of extended techniques.
In Wind Fantasy, the howling of the wind is suggested by pitch bends in the horn and strings strummed in the piano. Water Portrait begins with water droplets (illustrated by plucked notes on the strings of the piano) dropping into a pool of water (the lyrical horn melody). Earth begins underground, where layers of earth are suggested by contrapuntal layers in the piano’s lowest register, which gradually move up the keyboard until they are interrupted by the horn blasting a primitive “song at the surface of the earth.” Fire music was inspired by bebop.
SEVEN DRAMATIC EPISODES (1976)
Tone poems based on the writings of Edgar Allen Poe
17:53 ---flute, cello, piano, narrator (Subito Music)
VOLUNTARY FOR FRENCH HORN AND ORGAN or Trombone and Organ (1975)
1:45 ---horn or trombone, organ (Subito Music)
RECENT RUNES: Three Existential Postcards for Piano (2013)
The title RECENT RUNES suggests some mystery in these free-form “Existential Postcards,” which came to me as though from some other- worldly, yet recognizable, state of existence or perception. “Etherea” dwells in the stratospheric regions of harmonic atmosphere, where tones become as light as helium. “Cryptica” concerns my reaction to a painting of the Spanish-Mexican Surrealist artist Remedios Varo. In her painting Exploration of the Source of the Orinoco River, it is apparent that the drama of exploration takes place within the made-up landscape of the unconscious, where there is a fusing of surreality, myth, and painterly tradition extending back to the early Flemish masters, with their attention to detail and esoteric symbolism. “Gnostalgia” is both nostalgic and knowing, as fragments of a just-remembered melody morph into raging intensity, before disappearing with a gentle ripple.
THREE PIANO PIECES (1995)
1. NGC 2997 - a spiral galaxy in the constellation Antlia
2. Saturn - mortification, fixed form, and the grave
3. The Work of Sun - enlightened consciousness
Listen: Paul Hanson, piano
Paul Hanson, piano
THEME AND SEVEN VARIATIONS FOR PIANO (1972)
Based on two contrasting gestures: a twelve-tone row, stated pianissimo in rising phrases, and a brusque interruption in the form of staccato figures sustained in the right hand as harmonics. Although the row remains as a theme in all the variations, the piece is by no means strictly serial; thus, while the staccato episodes echo two and three- note cells in the row, they do not make use of all twelve tones. It is rather the exploration of the harmonic implications of the row, as in the trills and tremolos of Variation II, that governs the whole.
SONGS FROM THE GARDENER (2002)
Text from The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagorore
1. If you would be busy (sop. solo, bass solo, SSAATTBB, piano)
2. My heart, the bird of the wilderness (bass solo, piano)
3. Unspoken things (SATB a cappella)
4. Speak to me (sop. solo, piano)
5. You are the evening cloud (sop. solo, bass solo, SSAATTBB, piano
18:47 ---soprano solo, bass solo, SSAATTB, piano
Text: Petrarch, Sonnet CCXLV in Italian