On May 12th, my song “the still unborn about the dead”, one of the “5 Stanescu Songs”, received its best ever performance in 20 years by Julie Batman (soprano), Rimma Bergeron-Langlois (1st violin), Alexander Stevens (2nd violin), Mauricio Céspedes (viola), David Bjella (cello) and Jamila Tekali (piano). I am indebted to these musicians for the huge amount of work they put into giving this music life.
This is the first time this song, or any from the same set, has been performed with soprano; past performances being sung by tenor. Julie Batman‘s golden-light voice soared above the formidable ensemble – giving the work a more ethereal quality than before – perfect for this movement. The difficult pitch and rhythms seemed effortless for her as she rendered the perfect line between glowing rapture and existential statement that the poetry, by Nichita Stanescu, demanded.
The string quartet brought not only facility but a good deal of seasoned maturity to the work – regardless of the fact that this concert provided the reason for them to form. Each represent the best in their fields in the Central Florida area. Though “the still unborn about the dead” was not the hardest work in the evening’s fare, it was perhaps the most demanding ensemble-wise to glue into musical syntax and profundity.
The score demanded great control from the pianist, Jamila Tekali, who
easily mastered the pages of 10 note chords that had to be played ppp in the low registers of the piano. Her tone was appropriately gorgeous and dynamic througout.
I recorded the performance and hope to make it available, soon. More importantly, I hope to find funding for the group to record all 5 songs over the next year. The musicians love the idea – and that is as much as any composer can hope for: great musicians who want to play and record your music!
Thanks Benoit for helping lead the Central Florida Composers Forum through the successful Kickstarter campaign; and to Dr. Tim Stulman, our current CFCF President – who worked hard to put it all together so beautifully.
Check out this review of the concert by Esteben Meneses for the Examiner.
Note for the tech side. I recorded the concert with a Soundfield SP200 microphone – that weird multiheaded thing on the stand to get it in ambisonic surround. Benoit (standing behind the string quartet in the middle photo) had spaced DPA omnis hanging from the ceiling. I look forward to getting that live recording available.
Photo: Dante Duphorne