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Program for Slow Wave

Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 8 pm

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Slow Wave

Kyle Beard, clarinet
Justine Preston, viola
Naomi Stine, piano

Program

JooWan Kim (b. 1978)
Theurgy

Julie Barwick (b. 1983)
Trio in Two Movements
           i. Thorny
ii. Open

Kalevi Aho (b. 1949)
Trio for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano

Brett Austin Eastman (b. 1980)
Paraphrase
      i. Consolation
ii. Revenent
iii. Chi Io

Kyle Hovatter (b. 1986)
The Naughty Child

Emma Logan (b. 1990)
Study For a Foggy Day

About the music

Theurgy – JooWan Kim (b. 1978)
Theurgy is a ritual in three parts. It’s a process of how we free ourselves from the external hindrances and get in touch with the inner constant that allows us to breathe, think, feel, and live. With the invocation, we awaken ourselves and with a prayer (orison), we peel away the hardened layers of our thoughts that block us to the paths leading us inward. Finally, we experience divine grace (gratia plena).The syllables uttered here are designed to open corresponding organs and prepare us for the journey to

mind. Ke /kei/ is the fire of heart, Hu /hu/, earth from the spleen and stomach, Sha /ʃa/ metal from lungs, Chui /ʧui/ water from kidneys, and Shu /ʃu/ wood from liver. Energies of the five internal organs open and we experience the singularity of our mind.

Trio in Two Movements – Julie Barwick (b. 1983)
Trio in Two Movements was written in 2005 and revised in 2019 specifically for Slow Wave. Although the original trio was written for violin instead of viola, the character of the violin part lent itself easily to the deeper register of the viola without requiring any sacrifices to the original part. The piece is written as two contrasting miniature-like movements: the first one is thorny and dissonant and the second is contemplative and expressive. Despite the contrast in mood, the movements are connected through the independent personalities of the three parts. Each instrument begins in its own, singular world, and while they do acknowledge and interact with one another, they never stray far from their starting point.

Trio for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano – Kalevi Aho (b. 1949)
Kalevi Aho’s Trio is a vibrant essay in the possible sonorous and technical combinations of the clarinet/viola/piano instrumentation. Written and premiered as a commission for the 2006 Tampere Viola Competition, the work showcases the virtuosity of the viola as a leading voice in the ensemble. The single-movement work begins with a somber, sonorous section, which increases in intensity before giving way to a very tonal, chant-like theme before leading into a dance which dominates the remainder of the piece, reminiscent of the introduction and dance form of earlier musical eras. Using a modernist tonal language typical of Aho’s later works, the piece uses consonance/dissonance and motivic fragments to weave a compelling musical tapestry.

Paraphrase – Brett Austin Eastman (b. 1980)
Paraphrase was written for Slow Wave for their inaugural performance in 2019. It consists of three movements, each of which is 5 minutes in length, a playful reference to the number 555 which the composer often associates with himself. The first movement, Consolation, presents themes by each instrument, solo at first, but gradually becoming intertwined in an ecstatic build-up. The second movement, Revenent, contains music that was channeled from the death of a loved one. The third and final movement, Chi Io, explores the childhood influences of the composer, including an introductory theme paraphrased from a Bay Area crust-punk/sludgecore band called Noothgrush. The title is both a reference to the band’s drummer, Chiyo Nukaga, as well as to the composer. The Italian words “chi” and “io” literally translate to the English words “who” and “I.”

The Naughty Child – Kyle Hovatter (b. 1986)
A Naughty Child was written for Slow Wave at the very beginning of the lockdown here in California. It is based on the beautiful little poem by Langston Hughes.

The Naughty Child
The naughty child
Who ventured to go cut flowers,
Fell into the mill-pond
And was drowned.
But the good children all
Are living yet,
Nice folks now
In a very nice town.

Study For a Foggy Day – Emma Logan (b. 1990)
Originally written in 2015 for the Fog City Guitar Duo and Jessie Nucho, this version of Study for a Foggy Day is written for Slow Wave Trio. It explores extended 7th chords, each player building on the other to create rich and shimmering harmonies. The first half of the piece is a loosely structured improvisation, using two poems read out loud—Gray Fog by Sara Teasdale and Pearl Fog by Carl Sandburg—to shape the duration and mood. Cells with small motifs derived from the second half of the piece are given to offer continuity from one section to the other. Both the improvisation and the composed music reflect a murky, foggy landscape.

About the musicians

San Francisco-based Slow Wave, consisting of clarinetist Kyle Beard, violist Justine Preston, and pianist Naomi Stine, is dedicated to exploring the slower end of the sound wave spectrum (through the use of lower instruments such as bass clarinet and viola), as well as bringing new attention to this often under-appreciated combination of instruments by performing and commissioning new compositions.