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Michael Linton: Antiphon for Good Friday

Linton: Antiphon For Good Friday

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of Refinersfire.   Daniel Shaw is a conductor and composer and music teacher who specializes in small ensembles. He received degrees in music (B.A. Dartmouth College), choral conducting […]

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Arbores serit – motet in eight parts for Krzysztof Penderecki on his 80th birthday

Arbores Serit - Michael LintonThe motet “Arbores serit”, as many of my recent works, grew out of extended conversations and correspondences with Cody Franchetti and very much bears his stamp.  In talking about teaching, Franchetti reminded me of this passage from the first volume of Cicero’s Tusculanae Disputationes (“the Tusculan Disputations”).  Arbores serit diligens agricola, quarum aspiciet baccam ipse nunquam (The diligent gardener plants trees, not one fruit of which he will ever see).   Certainly, a better charge for a teacher, or an artist, cannot be imagined.  The work must be done, even if the reward is both unimagined and impossible.

Christopher Hibma, Michael Linton, & Krzysztof Penderecki

Three generations of student / teacher: Christopher Hibma, Michael Linton, & Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion propelled me to be a composer when I heard its recording as a college freshman in Illinois (I believe I was the first person at my school to take the LP out of it case and hear it).  Later, in Connecticut, his teaching stretched my imagination and my Christmas Cantata, written much under his happy influence, was dedicated to him.  On his 80th birthday, it is a pleasure to honor the Maestro with this motet.  Penderecki loves trees and has planted and husbanded hundreds on his estate in Poland.  Penderecki’s music will endure, but like those trees which shall continue to flourish, his influence through his students and their students and theirs too, shall echo long after his own voice has been silenced.
— Michael Linton

 

St. Luke Passion


Penderecki - St. Luke Passion

St. Luke Passion: graphic score with original sketch

Symphony No. 8


Conducted by the maestro himself, this mammoth of a choral symphony could be an answer to Mahler’s 8th, “Symphony of a Thousand”.

Michael Linton

 

 

 

 

 

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of Refinersfire.

 

Dan Shaw
Daniel Shaw is a conductor and composer and music teacher who specializes in small ensembles. He received degrees in music (B.A. Dartmouth College), choral conducting (M.M. Emory University) and music education (M.M. University of Toronto). Shaw is Founder and Artistic Director of the Connecticut-based Composer’s Choir, a group of eight professional singers which has performed and recorded over 45 works by over 20 composers from across the United States since its inception in 2010. Shaw is also Founder and Artistic Director of the American Radio Choir, a professional choir comprised of distinguished singers in New York City which is dedicated to recording and distributing new works by living American composers.

In addition to his post as Artistic Director of the New Haven Oratorio Choir, Shaw serves as Minister of Music at the St. Augustine Church in Seymour, CT. Previously held positions include Assistant Conductor of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Minister of Music at Middlefield Federated Church, Director of Choirs at the Zion Lutheran Church (Pittsburgh), and Director of Middle School Choirs at Trevor Day School (New York City). He has served on the faculties of Duquesne University and John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

Inter Ligna (Burial Motet for Chamber Choir)

Inter Ligna Long walks are not only good for the health they are useful — and economic — palliatives for loneliness.  The summer of 1975 was my first summer in graduate school in Cincinnati and I found myself spending the long, late afternoons, after classes were done and before I had to return to the books, walking through the campus and its adjoining neighborhoods and business districts, a few leafy and lovely, but more seedy and tough.

On one such walk I found myself in the library of the art school. As I browsed the stacks I came across a particularly beautiful book on the medieval monasteries of France.  I slowly turned its pages as I stood at the stack, not bothering to find a desk (I still today vividly remember the slant of the late afternoon sun coming through tall windows to the south), and eventually came across page devoted to the “Plan of St. Gall.”  It was an entry on a 9th-century plan of a monastery accompanied with a modern model of what the plan would have looked like built as well as several details of the manuscript.  One of those details was of the monastery graveyard, located in a wall enclosure at the manuscript’s top.  At its center was a cross around which were drawn stylized trees and an inscription.

The reproduction was small and the Latin text faint, but I was struck by the plan and by the translation: “Among all the woods, the most sacred is the cross, fragrant with the perfume of eternal salvation.”  The late afternoon, the beauty of the book, the depth of the sentiment, my own isolation, all combined to deeply move me.  I quickly jotted down what I could make-out of the Latin text and the published translation and over the next several days composed the setting.  I was much enamored with the music of Krzysztof Penderecki and György Ligeti at the time and the motet’s slow, long dissonances showed their influence, although written for much smaller forces than was typical of their music at the time.

The motet was put away and lay forgotten for decades.  By the time I found it again not only was my Latin much better (and my knowledge of medieval Latin abbreviations) but this most famous of medieval ground plans had a beautiful presence on the web where the manuscript could be studied closely and in detail (http://www.stgallplan.org/).  There I discovered the full (and comprehensible) Latin original and while I considered re-writing the motet to accommodate the full Latin text I decided not to, letting the motet’s Latin text remain a ruin — mutilated but still a recognizable image of itself, just as the manuscript is a ruin as is too western Christianity.  A ruin within a ruin, laying to rest quietly and gently what was once beautiful and new and gave certitude and peace and help from pain, buried in hope of the Resurrection.                —- Mike Linton

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