Track of the Month: July
David Post's Fantasia on a Virtual Chorale
The piece you hear is a TMF commission by contemporary American composer David Post, performed by the Hawthorne String Quartet. It is inspired, Post says, by "the wonderful, haunting Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale 'Saint Wenceslas' of Josef Suk, . . . a signature piece and a well-loved symbol of unity and comfort for the Czech people during wartime." Terezin composer Pavel Haas also took inspiration from Suk's Chorale for his String Quartet No. 3, written in response to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and among the last pieces Haas composed before being transported to Terezin.
David Post describes his Fantasia on a Virtual Chorale: "Well before any point of arrival is reached, the listener is confronted with swirling bits and pieces, motives and intervals that are part of the chorale but which collide and ricochet off each other, at times seeming to land and form a well-behaved cadence, but remain unsettled until the very end, when the fragments coalesce and the chorale finally emerges. But its appearance is cut short abruptly, and before it can establish itself completely it begins to disintegrate and soon vanishes into silence."
Listen to more music by David Post:
String Quartet No. 2 is performed here by the Hawthorne String Quartet. This is a live recording made at the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle in 2002 at a benefit concert organized by TMF Director Mark Ludwig for relief after the tragic floods that devastated Prague and the Czech countryside. The village of Terezin and Pamatnik Terezin (Terezin Memorial Monument) were among the sites most affected by the floodwaters. The concert helped raise awareness of the urgent need for funds to restore their cultural legacy, and it joined the music of Czech and American composers to underscore the rich cultural bonds of the two countries. Here are two lively movements from Post's String Quartet No. 2:
David L. Post was born in New York City and holds degrees from the University of Chicago, the New School for Social Research, and Brandeis University. He started musical training early, studying 'cello with Samuel Reiner and Charles Forbes and composition with Charles Whittenberg and later with Ralph Shapey at the University of Chicago. He pursued further study with Larry Bell and Lukas Foss.
For several years, he was a participant in the Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East at Bennington College. He is a consultant and contributing music editor for Dover Publications and is also a practicing clinical psychologist.
Recent honors have included several ASCAP awards and a First Prize in the New England Reed Trio Composition Competition. His music has received wide exposure on WGBH radio in Boston and WNYC in New York City. His orchestral and chamber works have been played and recorded by international organizations including the Czech Radio Symphony orchestra, the Moravian Philharmonic, and Salem Philharmonic, among others.
Writing in Fanfare magazine, William Zagorski termed his English Horn Concerto ". . . a tonal and unabashedly lyrical concerto, resulting in a piece that is able to stand beside Richard Strauss's and Ralph Vaughan Williams's essays for oboe and orchestra." Zagorski termed his First Quartet "a fine work--rigorously constructed and free of gratuitous effects. Here he takes the listener into the realm of intensely human communication."
He has received numerous commissions from many groups and individuals, including the Aiolos Collective, an international group of wind players, the Terezin Music Foundation, and the Martinu Quartet, which premiered his Second String Quartet at the Prague Contemporary Music Festival in April 2002. That work, as well as several others has been championed and recorded by the Hawthorne Quartet on the Naxos label.
His Variations and Fugue on a Bach-Busoni Chorale was premiered to critical acclaim by noted pianist Simone Dinnerstein in March 2007 at the Philadelphia Bach Festival. His Piano Quintet was premiered by Ms. Dinnerstein and the Hawthorne String Quartet in March, 2008. Recently, his Fantasia on a Virtual Chorale was premiered in its string orchestra version by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
David Post's scores are published by Editions Bim, Switzerland, and MMB Music, St. Louis. Naxos Records, MMC Recordings, Turquoise Bee Productions, and West Virginia University Sound Recordings, Inc. produce his commercial CDs.
Also see: www.davidpostmusic.com