I Am Rose

Instrumentation: SSA + electronics
Duration: 3:00
Commission: San Francisco Girls Chorus, Sharon Paul Conductor
Premiere: 10/28/94
San Francisco Girls Chorus, Sharon Paul, Conductor
Calvert Church, San Francisco, CA

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Program Note:
I Am Rose, a setting of the poem by Gertrude Stein for SSA chorus and electronics, was created as part of a four-song cycle Beetles, Monsters and Roses. It was subsequently published as a separate piece by Colla Voce Music. The music is inspired by the smoothly flowing, mysteriously ambiguous nature of the text. The poem is used with the kind permission of the publisher.

Press Quote:
“Luminous seems the best word to describe this piece. I Am Rose shimmers and lingers, using harmonic clusters and repeating rhythmic figures to create what the composer refers to as “…a kind of mantra…” While this is not to neglect the sections of the work indicated as “whimsical,” “playful,” or “joyous,” the smooth and dreamy sections are the true hallmarks of this work, winning one over with their feeling of timelessness.

I Am Rose is scored for tape and six-part women’s voices and is ideal for teaching part independence. The twentieth-century harmonic language includes the liberal use of tone clusters, which originate as unisons. Several exposed chords are more clearly tonal to the ear. Meter changes are frequent, but the quarter-note pulse is steady throughout, presenting few rhythmic challenges…

The various meanings of the word “rose” – name, flower, color, and even verb should lead singers into engaging discussions of interpretation. Conductors will enjoy investigating and performing the spectrum of colors and emotions in the work, and audiences should be fascinated by the result.”
–Robert K. Demaree, The Choral Journal

(Cover image by Biel Morro on Unsplash)

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