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Hersh,Howard (1940-)
Sex  Male
Comments  http://www.howardhersh.net/ musicnow@nccn.net

California Songs
Written  1998
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Comments  The California Songs, with texts by Francesca Hersh, are the homage of a native son (and daughter) to the extraordinary coupling of sweet illusion and bitter harshness through which this "island of dreams" was conceived. "To Babylon" pays tribute to the heady allure of California's seductive beauty. "Alice in Holyland" depicts a young woman's dizzying encounter with some of the resident spiritual paths that make California the New Jerusalem of the Aquarian Age. "The Blind Mules" describes some of the environmental depredation and sacrifice of conscience upon which the richness of the State was founded (mules, taken into the deep mines where they lived the whole of their lives, eventually went blind); it also includes the narrative of one of California's many contemporary immigrants. The irrepressible memory of the unspoiled beauty of original California powers the final movement; it also pays tribute to the tenacity with which its residents hold onto its dream.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [9] Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Percussion, Piano, Soprano, Violin, Violin, Viola, Cello
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Dancing at the Pink House for clarinet and piano
Written  2006
Duration  10:30
Comments   
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [2] Clarinet in Bb, Piano
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Gil
Written  1966
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Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [4] Clarinet in Bb, Percussion (2), Cello
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Italian songs
Written  1982
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Comments  Song 1 and 2 are based on poetry of unknown authorship ... songs 3 and 4 are based on poetry of Gabriello Chiabrera.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [13] Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet in Bb, Trombone, Glockenspiel/Vibraphone/Marimba, Harp, Soprano, Violin (2), Viola, Cello
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Comments  Italian words also printed as text with English translation.

Just imagine
Written  1988
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Comments  Based on "Imagine" by John Lennon.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [12] Clarinet in A, Horn, Trumpet in Bb, Trombone, Glockenspiel/Vibraphone, Harp, Piano, Violin (2), Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Tape
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Lullaby for the Millennium
Written  1995
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Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [9] Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Percussion, Piano, Soprano, Violin, Violin, Viola, Cello
Inst.  [2] Piano, Soprano
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Millennium Spring (Alice Dances)
Written  1998
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Comments  Dale Scholl, with whom I have had wonderful collaborations on choreographic versions of my works The Hundredth Monkey and The Idea of North, commissioned me to write this score for a new dance piece sponsored by the Sacramento Metropolitan Art Commission's New Works program. Because of the timing of the first performance - in the one-thousandth April of the second millennium - I chose the title Millennium Spring, and set off to write a piece that would be rhythmically driven by dance impulses, some of them recognizably related to traditional movement - fast waltzes, for example, and tangos. Amidst the catastrophic predictions that were emerging about our millennial passage, I also chose to project a more fatalistic, optimistic attitude: "The new millennium is coming - Let's dance into it!" Just before I began work, I had premiered my California Songs, in which a young woman has a bizarre and intense encounter with the spiritual world. As Millennium Spring began to unfold, I realized that the heroine of "Alice in Holyland" had returned again, this time to be introduced to the physical, sensual world, and added the subtitle "Alice Dances." No specific scenario emerged, but Alice stood before me, experiencing the sensual impulses and static quiescence of this physical life.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [4] Clarinet in Bb, Mallet (2), Cello
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Phos kai Iremos, ballet for ten instruments
Written  1965
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Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [10] Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Trumpet in Bb, Trombone, Percussion (2), Harp, Violin, Viola, Cello
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Piece for Fourteen Instruments
Written  1963
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Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [>13] Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet in Bb, Trombone, Harp, Violin, Violin, Viola, Cello
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Shrapnel in the Heart
Written  1991
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Comments  Since its dedication in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has served as a crossover point through which the living can communicate with the dead. Spontaneously and continuously, survivors have left behind them notes and letters, poems, pictures, trinkets, teddy bears, medals, and flowers, through which they hope to reach the spirits of the soldiers who can no longer speak back. It is these letters that inspired and provided the material for Shrapnel in the Heart. The work's soprano takes the role of Dusty, a combat nurse who is standing a deathwatch over a young soldier. Her verses are interrupted, first by the live ensemble, then by the ensemble in concert with two pre-recorded groups, and finally, in the largest section of the work, by a series of readings of letters, first singly, then in pairs, then layered from each of the four channels. The opening letters are from a mixed group of survivors - mothers, wives, vets, children, siblings - but come to focus in on groups of writers: buddies, girlfriends, and finally, mothers. At the conclusion of this section a speaking chorus recites some of the 58,000 plus names that are inscribed on the monument. Dusty returns, now accompanied by the ensemble, and sings her last verses of farewell. The title of the work is taken from a collection of letters edited by Laura Palmer and published by Vintage Books. She, in her turn, took it from an interview with one of the letter writers, who described the loss of a loved one to war as a wound that will not heal, caused by "shrapnel in the heart". The composition was premiered in 1991 in Sacramento, California by Music Now; In 1994, it was performed as part of a program at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [8] Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Percussion, Piano, Soprano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Tape
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Solo for flute (Alpstein)
Written  2006
Duration  6:00
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Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [1] Flute
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The Gate
Written  1992
Duration   
Comments  The Gate was composed in the summer of 1993 for Alternate Currents, a Bay Area new music ensemble, and conceived as a gentle response to the turbulence of Earthly Prayers. The result was a single movement work that is unvaryingly quiet and spacious, and follows a slowly-evolving, purely intuitive path. Its title was inspired by a story told by a friend. One of her close acquaintances, an elderly woman, was out for her morning walk and suddenly collapsed. She was revived-somewhat against her inclination-by a passerby. Afterwards, she said she was no longer apprehensive about death, because she had seen "the gate." The music alternates between two types of instrumental relationships: one, in which everyone is coordinated horizontally through a common meter, and another, in which they float independently, each pursuing his/her own line or repeated fragment.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [5] Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Piano, Violin, Cello
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The History Lesson
Written  2001
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Comments  The History Lesson is a one-act theater piece for soprano and tenor soloists, high school choir, and a chamber ensemble consisting of clarinet (with bass clarinet), two percussionists, piano, and string quartet; its text is by Francesca Hersh. It was composed in 2001 for premiere at the CSUS Festival of New American Music. Its first performers were Kerry Walsh, soprano, Stephen Rumph, tenor, the Nevada Union High School Chamber Choir, directed by Rod Baggett, and Music Now; the production was directed by Melissa Weaver and conducted by the composer. The action takes place during a history class. Its subject is a survey of fires that have made their mark on the public consciousness, but its fundamental theme is the fire that burns in young Americans and ignites on the campuses of our schools. There are three main characters: the teacher, who delivers a lecture on the Circus Fire that erupted in Hartford, Connecticut in 1944, "X", a student who has been condemned to the fringes of his school and society, and the class itself, which reports on historical fires, but also brings the flames of its personal histories onto the stage. Two characters associated with the Hartford Circus Fire play central roles in this piece. Although never formally charged, it is generally accepted that a young circus worker, Robert Segee, was responsible for the fire. He was a tortured person who had been burned by his father and suffered visions of a fiery man on a red horse who would order him to start fires. During the course of The History Lesson, "X" reports on - and identifies with - Segee. The other major player from the tragic fire is a little girl who was one of the 169 who lost their lives. For decades she remained unidentified, and was transformed into a symbol for the youth and youthful dreams that were lost that day in July. She became well-known, and much loved throughout the Hartford community, as "Little Miss 1565;" in the production, her apparition is represented by a young actress in a non-speaking role. The choir's opening passage was inspired by - and loosely quotes from - the beginning of Thomas Morley's madrigal Fire, Fire.
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [>13] Clarinet in Bb/Bass Clarinet, Percussion (2), Piano, Soprano, Tenor, Violin (2), Viola, Cello, SATB Chorus
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The Pony Concerto
Written  2005
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Comments  When I began this piece and was sketching out musical ideas, I was visited with the title of "Pony Concerto." I was concerned that people might think it was a children's piece, but it was so lovely having the imaginary creature to keep me company during the solitary work, and seemed to fit so well with the music that was evolving, that it became final, and ultimately guided me through my work. Everyone loves Pony. He is a mythic creature who embodies some of humanity's most prized qualities: innocence mixed with cleverness, tenderness with strength, loyalty with mischief, vulnerability with the gift of survival. I hope that some of these attributes live in the music he inspired. Although it draws on imagery of its namesake, the piece is not a narrative. The exception occurs in parts of the second movement, where Ponyís peace is shattered by war. I did not imagine Pony in a war, but as a witness whose peaceful life is momentarily interrupted by manís incomprehensible activities. In a sense, Pony is a stand-in for all the other innocents whose lives are devastated by terror falling from the sky. The Pony Concerto is scored for flute (with an extensive piccolo part), clarinet, piano, violin, and cello, and was composed in 2004-2005 for the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento. Its opening movement was written during a month at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California, where I could step outside my studio and feast on views of rolling hills and the Pacific Ocean, and, off in the distance, the sight of happy, grazing horses. (There were also some lovely early morning birdcalls that found their way into the opening.)
Publisher  H. Hersh
Inst.  [5] Piccolo/Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Piano, Violin, Cello
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Prepared on Thu Apr 30 20:22:45 2009