No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  nyfos

I told Michael, “We have got to bring that music to our mainstage series. Everyone needs to hear Daniel’s—what is it, a cantata?” At first we thought of pairing At the Door with other stories of thwarted lovers, picking up on the work’s story. But we saw a more interesting possibility, something to address our current national quandary about welcoming people of other nationalities into our country. Daniel is Persian-American, and At the Door is set to a poem in Farsi. NYFOS has ventured far afield in its 31-year history—a couple of years ago we did a song in Zulu. But it was time to open our borders even further, and Daniel Sabzghabaei proved to be our passport.




 |  Amy Owens

I’m honored to be sharing songs with you this week, the week of the “Hyphenated Americans” concert at Merkin Hall! I have loved exploring the music of two of the composers featured on Wednesday’s program: Bright Sheng and Daniel Sabzghabaei. This is a chance to hear many different styles of music influenced from the hybrid experiences of the composers. I’m particularly struck by how the language affects the style and even my vocal approach to this music.




 |  Bright Sheng

Bartók once said that a simple folk melody can accommodate more complicated harmony. And here is a case in point. This descending Dorian tune repeats itself while the text changes, but the piano accompaniment changes quite bit along with the text, from consonance at the beginning to something more dissonant. I learned a great deal from performing this song many years ago.




 |  Bright Sheng

This three-song set is equivalent to three scenes from an opera. It paints the actions of the text both in reality and in abstraction, but in its most effective way, it depicts an unyielding longing for something unfathomable or unobtainable.




 |  Bright Sheng

I was Lenny’s assistant with Michael when we prepared the premiere of this set of eight songs for mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano four-hands. “Nachspiel” is the last one which has no text and all singers (and pianists, and perhaps the audience) humming together. It is so exquisitely written, touching and beautiful.




 |  Leann Osterkamp

Perhaps the most famous contemporary cross-cultural composer, Bright Sheng has an original compositional dialect that combines Western traditions and Chinese traditional and folk music. His music results from both his personal cultural upbringing and his intentional study and research of the principles underlying both nations’ musical traditions. His schooling was primarily in America. However, he is constantly involved in compositional and academic endeavors that strive to blend and define international musical styles.