Voice & Strings Project
Duration: 20 minutes
Instrumentation: Soprano, String Quartet
00:00 - 1. The Return
02:20 - 2. The Going
05:07 - 3. Breakfast
06:31 - 4. All Being Well
10:05 - 5. Long Tom
13:25 - 6. Back
16:07 - 7. Lament
SEVEN SONGS was composed by Vartan Aghababian for soprano Ann Moss in 2003, with poetry by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
“Vartan Aghababian and I conceived the idea for SEVEN SONGS in the early winter of 2002 as our country was entering into armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Written on poems by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, with imagery ranging from soldiers in the trenches, to wives and mothers on the home front, to the plight of veterans returning to broken lives, this powerful work evokes compassion for those who have given their lives or lost loved ones in the past, and challenges us to question our modern military actions and motivations.“ —Ann Moss
World Premiere 2003, Longy School of Music
Ann Moss - soprano, Edward Wu, Joyce Ryu - violins; Cathy Gates - viola; Philip Moss - cello
West Coast Premiere 2008, CMASH NACM1 Concert
Ann Moss soprano, Yeager String Quartet
Commercial Release 2013, CURRENTS (Angels Share Records)
Ann Moss soprano, Hausmann Quartet
The premiere of SEVEN SONGS (2003) for soprano and string quartet took place in Cambridge, MA in March of 2003. Since that time, Ann has earnestly devoted her energy to performing the cycle with numerous ensembles, and eventually to recording the work on her debut album "Currents”. The cycle is based upon poetry by the British World War I poet Wilfrid Gibson. My work on this set of songs extended from April of 2002 to February of 2003; five years later, I still consider this cycle to be some of my best and favorite work. All of this I owe to my cherished friend and talented colleague, Ann Moss.
In late September 2001, Ann came to me with a project which I found to be, quite honestly, a remarkable vision: a song cycle employing serious and dark, if not downright disturbing, poetry. “I’m tired of singing about springtime and love and other such frivolities,” Ann confided. She had already collected texts by various poets, one of which moved me so strongly by its content and construction that I was compelled to “claim” it immediately. I achieved this by lovingly threatening her with desperate consequences should she even so much as show it to another composer, and vowed to compose it for her in the spring. In the interim, I acquired the assistance of a capable (and attractive) librarian at the Boston Public Library who acquired for me the several dozen pages of texts by this British poet, then unknown to me. From these I selected ten, from which Ann and I chose and ordered the seven that make up the cycle.
The songs have been ordered to take the listener on a journey, beginning with the departure for war, continuing with the detailing of experiences abroad and at home, progressing to the experience of returning home, and finally providing a summarizing if not rhetorical conclusion. Keys and meters have been specifically chosen to provide contrast; some of the songs share certain characteristics, which help me to unite the group as a cycle, such as particular melodic contours (especially the rising interval of a major seventh) or the use of a tetrachord based upon the pitch class set [ 0,3,4,5 ].
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Duration: 22 minutes
Instrumentation: Soprano, Cello, Piano
"This is the fifth large-scale piece Liam and I have created together. For this cycle we returned to the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first author around whose texts we collaborated. We selected six of her most vivid, rousing and deeply personal poems about love, the sea and coastal Maine.
This work is dedicated to my father, Pip Moss, who is both an accomplished cellist and an avid sailor. He spent a lot of time as a child on the Maine coast 'mucking around in boats,' as he likes to say. Nowadays we go sailing together as often as we can on his Pearson 28' Seawind, which he keeps in Mattapoisett Harbor on Buzzard's Bay. Every summer we talk about sailing up through the channel and going back to Maine, and he gets this wistful, dreamy look on his face as he talks about how much he loves that part of the Atlantic coast. One of these days we'll make that trip." —Ann Moss
"This piece is a vehicle for the virtuosity and enormous hearts of my three beloved performers, and a trip for listener and composer alike to the rough, blindingly beautiful edge of the human experience. The piece seemed to unfold in front of me while I composed as if I was witnessing a natural phenomenon like a meteor shower or waves rolling in at the shoreline… Throughout the writing experience, it felt like I was taking dictation … Several times I woke up in the morning with page after page of new music in my own handwriting, that I did not remember composing." —Liam Wade
Soprano Ann Moss and Composer Liam Wade co-founded the Bay Area new music repertory group CMASH in 2008. The two met in 2001 as colleagues at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, where they performed in the Longitude New Music Ensemble. The duo began collaborating immediately thereafter, quickly forming a dynamic writing team. They spent nearly two subsequent decades co-creating works of vocal chamber music, presenting and teaching at new music and composition forums and festivals around the country. The pair boasts an array of world premieres and two major recording projects. FULL FATHOM FIVE is the first collaboration between composer Liam Wade and cellist Emil Miland. Wade and pianist Steven Bailey share a lengthy collaborative history spanning over ten years.
Duration: 42 minutes
Instrumentation: Soprano, String Quartet
FINITE DIFFERENCES (2016) is a long-form narrative song cycle for soprano & string quartet based on the life and work of Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer. Composed by Kenneth D. Froelich with a libretto by John Grimmett for soprano Ann Moss and the Hausmann Quartet, FINITE DIFFERENCES was premiered on October 29, 2016 at California State University Fresno.
OUR VISION is for this work to serve as a platform to raise awareness of the need for greater gender inclusivity in STEM subjects, and to support civic activism that advocates empowerment of women and girls through access to science education.
1. My Father’s Daughter
2. The Machine
3. Seen and Heard, Heard but not Listened To
4. Finite Differences
5. Discovering the Light
6. On Rejection from Charles Babbage
7. Behind Closed Doors
8. On a Visit from Charles Dickens
Widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron, was a brilliant and pioneering mathematician. When young Ada displayed intellectual giftedness at an early age, Lady Byron insisted her daughter receive intensive tutoring in math and science, an education to which few women of her day would have been granted access.
Working closely with great thinkers such as Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace’s writings contain what many consider to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine. Today, a computer programming language is named for her (Ada) and her accomplishments are honored around the world on Ada Lovelace Day, an international day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
"My goal with FINITE DIFFERENCES was not simply to celebrate Ada’s life and accomplishments (although that is certainly a part of this work), but to musically represent her mind as both mathematical and poetic. To this end, the music alternates between these two states, at times using mathematical rhythmic processes, and at other times soaring with an uninhibited lyricism.”
—Kenneth Froelich, composer
Ada Lovelace was never afforded a relationship with her father, as he spent the nine years between Ada’s birth and his death living abroad to escape financial debts. Additionally, Ada’s mother kept her from any direct contact with Lord Byron as she feared Ada might take on her father’s “moral weaknesses.” Ada was ill for much of her childhood and died at age thirty-six of uterine cancer, but her life was by no means a tragedy. In FINITE DIFFERENCES, composer Kenneth Froelich and Librettist John Grimmett highlight some of the most poignant moments in Lovelace’s life and career through a series of eight musical vignettes for voice and string quartet.
Froelich’s music, much like Lovelace herself, is intimate and fragile at moments, and at others soaring and dramatic. His composition, in union with Grimmett’s libretto, displays the rich and complex range of expression made possible by the musical symbiosis of soprano and string quartet.
In constructing the libretto for FINITE DIFFERENCES, Grimmett employed a combination of poetry, mathematical verbiage, and personal-voice prose to explore Ada’s relationship with her father’s poetry, her communications with Babbage, her investigation of algorithms, and her life-long dedication to the concept of “poetical science.”
“When Kenneth approached me to write this piece with him, he was excited by Ada’s scientific contributions — how, later in her life, she would essentially create the beginnings of computer programming long before a man would figure out how to harness electricity into a single light bulb. She was rejected outright for her ideas simply because she was a woman. Kenneth saw a story in Ada that needed to be told, and soon, I began to see it for myself: a constant struggle for a young woman who could understand numbers beyond most of our abilities yet had so many words and feelings inside of her. The dualities of the mind and heart — the logical and the emotional — are the essence of this piece, the possibilities infinite, the differences finite.”
—John Grimmett, librettist
Duration: 32 minutes
Instrumentation: Soprano, String Quartet
00:00 - mvt. 1 Mäßig
06:50 - mvt. 2 Sehr rasch
14:51 - mvt. 3 "Litanei" Langsam
20:45 - mvt. 4 "Entrückung" Sehr langsam
Ann Moss, Soprano; Hausmann Quartet
Old First Concerts, San Francisco, CA
Performance Date: November 15, 2013