Charles Shere: From Calls and Singing
solo violin, English horn, tuba, and orchestra
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score: 10 pages, privately printed: see below
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From Calls and Singing was written at the request of Paul Freeman, then the conductor of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. I recall worrying at the small instrumentation available, and telling a friend, the hornist Nelson Green, that I didn't know what I could do with such small forces, and his pointing out that I could do whatever I wanted to do.
So I wrote rather a free-style piece, intended to be performed either at the beginning of a concert or immediately after intermission. It opens with a performance of Screen, the musicians seated in the lobby, and continues with tuning, then the gradual development of the piece, to be performed while the audience take their seats. The piece is a nocturne that continues for about nine minutes, generally slow and quiet as was always true of my music in the 1960s; and includes spoken and other unusually produced sounds as well as conventionally notated music.
The orchestra requires pairs of flutes, clarinets, bassoons, trumpets, and horns; timpani and the usual strings. There is only one oboe part, because the first oboe player serves as a second conductor at times. (At the premiere that was Jean-Louis leRoux, who later directed the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.)
Paul Freeman conducted the premiere in San Francisco in 1968, and later repeated the piece with the Detroit Symphony. I later included From Calls and Singingas one of the four movements of the provisional Music for Orchestra,performed by the Contra Costa Symphony in 1976.
The score was printed in facsimile in 1975 at St. Hieronymous Press by David Goines, and the score cites as epigraph:
Call to me with frogs and birds and moons and stars. Call me with noises. Mechanical noises.A small number of these scores is still available: e-mail your inquiry.--Gertrude Stein, A Sonatina Followed by Another
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