Born in New York City in 1956, DAVID FETHEROLF studied at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts and received the MFA degree from the Purchase (NY) College Conservatory of Music. His music has been premiered at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and played throughout the USA, Europe, and Central and South America. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Music Center and the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation. In addition to his work as Editor and Project Manager, New Music, for G. Schirmer, Inc., Mr. Fetherolf has lectured extensively to young people on the aesthetics and philosophy of 20th century music. This is his fourth recording with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Modern Masters. His previous recordings include: Concerto for Violoncello (VMM 3031), Hush'd be the Camps To-Day (VMM 3039), and Poem for Violin and Orchestra (VMM 3049).

EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS was commissioned by the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation of Mamaroneck, New York, for the Mamaroneck High School Orchestra and Chorus and was premiered by the school's students in two concerts on March 2, 2000. My inspiration for th work was the Mexican festival, The Day of the Dead. Since one of the main purposes of this project was to involve students from outside the music department, I asked the English a Second Language classes, few of whose students are actually of Mexican origin, to write texts for me. Two poems from among the many wonderful ones submitted have been used, as well as some text and a chant from the November 1st feast day in the Liber Usualis. Also heard are some melodic lines from a Mass by Tomas Luis de Vittoria which serve as counterpoint to the Spanish texts and festival music. What interested me most in constructing the piece was the juxtaposition of the Catholic celebration with the indigenous one.

In one movement, this 20-minute symphonic poem is in four distinct parts: 1. Dawn, 11. Through the Day, III. Llegan la Noche y las Almas, and IV Till Dawn. The chant from the Liber Usualis is first heard in the opening section sung by the tenor and bass. It is developed throughout the second section until the entrance of La Muerte Viene, a soprano line from the Vittoria Mass harmonized with sub-harmonics. This leads through a short bridge passage into the setting of Llegan la Nochey las Almas, a polymodal motet. The polymodality then dissipates into a final cadence in d minor. The fourth section begins quietly, slowly building up to a rhythmically intense climax that crashes down into an extended monophonic coda built on the original chant.

This work is dedicated to the memory of Peter Van Riper, a musician, composer, and sound installation artist who died in 1998. Many thanks are due to Patricia Wheelhouse, Alex Romanov, Tim Hooker, Lunetta Knowlton, and the other faculty, students, and parents of Mamaroneck High School, Mamaroneck, NY, USA who helped bring this project to fruition. ESL students who provided text include Christian Franco, Karla Franco, Beatriz Lucero, Dennis Magana, Elida Magana, Libny Maldonado, Criscian Maldonado, Evelyn Marmalejo, Rokki Naroaka, Reiko Moto, Keila Nunez, and Limni Velasquez.

POEM FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA, completed in 1996 is a fantasy in two movements. In the opening short section, con molto sentimentino d’affecto, the soloist’s line describes through a long arc the interval of a perfect fourth, while the orchestra prepares the ear for the polytonality of an F# major triad against a B minor triad, then a C major triad against an augmented D chord. The music moves quickly into an animato section in which all the intervals outlined by these clashes play a role. It ends with the soloist on the seventh of an orchestral Bb major chord heard against the upper third of an F minor chord.
The second movement begins cantabile with a tone row in the brass which develops orchestrally for a short time before the soloist takes it up, transposed, in a solo cadenza. The soloist breaks out of the row after stating it, however, and takes off in a development based on a perfect fifth. These two ideas clash throughout the movement, the dissonance of atonal ideas against one of the most fundamental tonal intervals. In this movement the soloist has much difficult passage work while the orchestra provides commentary and punctuation. The row returns in a brief recapitulation, which leads to a codetta, ending the movement in a flurry of fifths.

David Fetherolf