seven variations for string septet, piano, trombone and two voices (2009)
- Premiere: 11 October 2009, Seasons Concert Hall, Yakima, WA / Gilda Lyons, Robert Frankenberry, voices / Chris Brubeck, trombone / Brooke Creswell, bass / Finisterra Piano Trio / Kairos String Quartet / Daron Hagen, conductor
- Instrumentation: tbn.pft.female voice.male voice.3vlns.vla.2vlc.cb
- Duration: 9:30'
- Dedication: Commissioned for the 2009 Seasons Music Festival, Yakima, Washington, and dedicated to Pat and Judy Strosahl
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John Newton composed the original words and music of Amazing Grace, a Christain hymn which first appeared in print in Newton's 1779 Olney Hymns. This arrangement of the piece consists of seven variations which in turn highlight the strings, the trombone, piano trio, string quartet, solo piano, and jazz trombone improvisation.
Each variation celebrates a different aspect of the Seasons Fall Music Festival. Variation 1 showcases the Kairos string quartet; Variation 2 adds the Finisterra Piano Trio and guest artist Chris Brubeck; Varitation 3 showcases the Finisterras; Variation 4 introduces Robert Frankenberry, tenor, conductor, and pianist faculty member; Variation 5 celebrates Gilda Lyons, composer and vocalist faculty member; Variation 6 gives Chris Brubeck a couple of choruses to improvise; Variation 7 brings the entire faculty together for a final quick, Stravinsky-esque tromp through the hymn before ending up.
The piece is dedicated to Pat and Judy Strosahl, guiding spirits of the Seasons Music Festival, for which Hagen served as artistic director and head of faculty from 2005-2013. Composed for the entire faculty to perform together to kick off the 2009 Festival, it was first performed by vocalists Gilda Lyons and Robert Frankenberry, with trombonist Chris Brubeck, the Finisterra Piano Trio, the Kairos String Quartet, and bassist Brooke Creswell on 11 October 2009 in the Seasons Performance Hall, Yakima, Washington, under the direction of the composer.
(Banner image: The Seasons Concert Hall, Yakima, WA)