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The Light is the Same - Digital Liner Notes

AGLOW Trio (flutist Karen Large, oboist Alyssa Morris, and pianist Amanda Arrington) present their first album “The Light Is The Same” with world premiere recordings and works that center on light.  “The Light Is The Same” features works by composers Grace Baugher-Dunlap, Bill Douglas, Reena Esmail, Madeline Dring, and Alyssa Morris.

Image by Joel Filipe

How the Constellations Flicker

by Grace Baugher-Dunlap

How the Constellations Flicker by composer Grace Baugher-Dunlap is five musical vignettes that reflect on looking at the night sky: Stargazer, Starlit Dance, Orion, Wishing Star, and Star-shooter.  “Stargazer” is optimistic and full of childlike wonder.  “Starlit Dance” is a twinkling waltz.  “Orion” depicts the vastness and grandeur of space.  “Wishing Star” is a quiet, sweet reflection that grows into heartfelt song.  “Star-Shooter” is a return to the optimistic character represented in “Stargazer.”

 

This work was commissioned by AGLOW Trio in 2021, and made possible with the financial support of a Kansas State University Small Research Grant.  AGLOW Trio presented the national premiere of How the Constellations Flicker in Phoenix, Arizona (February 2022), and the international premieres in Wellington, New Zealand (March 2023) and in Bangkok, Thailand (July 2023) at the International Double Reed Convention.  AGLOW Trio is proud to present the world-premiere recording of How the Constellations Flicker by Grace Baugher-Dunlap.

 

-Program notes by Grace Baugher-Dunlap and AGLOW Trio

Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano

by Bill Douglas

Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano by composer Bill Douglas was written in 2015.  It was commissioned by seventy-six flutists and oboists, including flutist Karen Large of AGLOW Trio.

 

The first and third movements of this piece follow a basic jazz form.  There is a theme, followed by an improvisation (in this case, a written-out improvisation on the chord progression of that theme,) and then a return to the theme with variations.  It’s common in the jazz world to write new melodies on already existing chord progressions. 

 

In the first movement, Waltz Cantabile, Bill Douglas uses the chord progression of the jazz standard “I Fall In Love Too Easily.”  In the third movement, Allegro Cantando, Douglas uses the chord progression of a jazz standard “My Romance.”  The middle movement, Procession, includes melodies build around the Hijaz scale, a tonality that is often used in Spanish and Middle Eastern Music.  

 

AGLOW Trio is proud to present the world-premiere recording of Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano by Bill Douglas.

 

-Program notes by Bill Douglas and AGLOW Trio

Image by Sebastian Schuppik
Image by Marc Ignacio

The Light Is The Same

by Reena Esmail

In her search for texts for oratorio, This Love Between Us, Reena Esmail came across these wise words from the 13th century Sufi mystic poet, Rumi.

 

Religions are many
But God is one
The lamps may be different
But the Light is the same

 

Rumi states so beautifully that, even if our methods for searching for meaning and happiness look very different, the things we seek are so similar.

 

This piece uses two Hindustani raags: Vachaspati and Yaman. The aesthetic of these raags are so different: Vachaspati is dark, brooding, complex and dense. Yaman is light and innocent. And yet, practically speaking, only one note is different between them. The melodies they generate and the way they move makes them feel worlds apart, and yet their notes are almost exactly the same. The piece begins in Vachaspati, in desolate, spare melodic lines. Slowly, as Yaman peeks through the dense harmonies, the two raags begin to weave together into a seamless composite.

 

The Light Is The Same was first commissioned for wind quintet instrumentation by Imani Winds  and premiered by Imani in 2017.  The flute, oboe, piano trio version of The Light Is The Same was commissioned by AGLOW Trio in 2022, and made possible with the financial support of a Florida State University AHPEG Grant.  The international premieres of The Light Is The Same (trio version) were given by AGLOW Trio in Wellington, New Zealand (March 2023) and Bangkok, Thailand (July 2023) at the International Double Reed Convention.  AGLOW Trio is proud to present the world-premiere recording of the flute, oboe, piano trio version of The Light Is The Same. 

 

-Program notes by Reena Esmail and AGLOW Trio

Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano

by Madeleine Dring

Madeleine Dring was born in 1923 in London, and lived there for her entire life.  She died at a premature age of 53.  Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano was commissioned by Musica de Camara, an ensemble comprising of flutist Harold Clarke, oboist Roger Lord (Madeline Dring’s husband), and pianist Hubert Dawkes.  Dring composed the work in 1968.

Madeleine Dring’s Trio for Flute, Oboe, and PIano is cast in three movements: I. Allegro con brio, II. Andante semplice, and III. Allegro giocoso.  Allegro con brio is typified by sudden jumps in register, angular time signatures, and an air of humor in the melodic and harmonic language.  Andante semplice is a romance, full of sweetness and sentimental, singing lines.  Allegro giocoso exhibits Madeleine Dring’s expert ability to tell jokes through music.  Clever references in the melody paired with driving ostinato and crunchy harmonies create a delightfully jovial conclusion to Madeleine Dring’s Trio for Flute, Oboe, and PIano, a work that has become considered by many a standard in the repertoire for flute, oboe, and piano ensemble.

-Program notes by Wanda Brister and AGLOW Trio

Image by Marina Reich
Image by Zac Durant

Coping

by Alyssa Morris

Coping is dedicated to people afflicted with anxiety, depression, loss, sadness, anger, frustration, or heartache of any kind. This composition is for all who are finding a way to endure as they face the sorrows and trials of life.

 

Coping is cast in three movements: I. Counting, Breathing, II. Praying, and III. Running. 

 

Counting to ten and deep breathing can be effective methods for calming the feelings of anxiety. “Counting, Breathing” begins with a steady counting motive and continues on to a variation that gradually increases intensity toward a breaking point.

 

Many people turn to prayer to find peace when they are enduring loss and sadness.  “Praying” is a setting of the hymn “Lead, Kindly Light."  The text of the hymn begins with a fervent plea:

 

Lead, kindly, Light, amid th’encircling gloom;

Lead thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home;

Lead thou me on!

 

The following is the text of the final faith-filled verse:

 

So long thy pow’r hath blessed me, sure it still

Will lead me on

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone.

 

Many immerse themselves in nature to find peace amidst chaos. “Running” includes two main motives: the transcribed birdsong of the Western Meadowlark, and the transcribed birdsong of the Eastern Bluebird.  Coping was commissioned in 2017 by Celeste Johnson Frehner, oboe professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. 

 

-Program notes by Alyssa Morris and AGLOW Trio

Album Credits

Recorded, Edited, Mixed and Mastered by OT-AV

Assistant Editor: Amanda Arrington

Producer: Joshua Oppenheim

Piano Technician: John Haefele

Recorded on November 19-20, 2022 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Manhattan, KS

This album was made possible by the Florida State University Arts and Humanities Program Enhancement Grant.

Copyright 2023 Radium Recordings.

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