Occasional Notes for Eleven Players


Occasional Notes for Eleven Players


suite for mixed ensemble (1987)

  • Premiere: 20 March 1987 / Vogel Recital Hall, Milwaukee, WI / Present Music Ensemble / Daron Hagen
  • Instrumentation:
  • Duration: 18'
  • Dedication: To Kevin Stalheim and Present Music, 1987
  • This piece is published by ECS Publishing. Consequently, digital download is unavailable. To order paper scores and / or rent parts, please visit Canticle Distribution.

Original pre-performance notes.

  1. Meditation #1 - to Joseph Schwantner
  2. Consider the Rain - in memory of Marc Blizstein
  3. Anniversary - to David Diamond
  4. First Snow - to Ned Rorem
  5. Wauwatosa Polka - to William Coble
  6. Look Down, Fair Moon - to Robert Gallagher
  7. Meditation #8 - in memory of Norman Stumpf

Program Note

From the original pre-performance comments sketched out by the composer on 19 March 1987:

"It's wonderful to return to Milwaukee, especially under these circumstances, conducting my music with such excellent players. A word or two would be appropriate before we perform Occasional Notes for you: They are exquisite miniatures, each movement a musical portrait of the composer to whom it is dedicated, capturing the gestalt of his personality as it has interacted with mine.

Since leaving Milwaukee I've had the pleasure to [sic] study with quite a number of fascinating men, and I am happy to say that the teacher / pupil relationship modulated into a friendship in each case.

How to capture the ineffable feelings you have for people you care about? Each movement captures, in miniature, the gestalt of the relationship, while also creating a musical portrait of the person to whom it is dedicated. Lately I have been fascinated with the fact that, for example, one need not be overtly SERIOUS to be serious--. Just as it is hard to be simple, so is it hard to set the correct tone in just two minutes when you could spend ten. How many times, during an extended minimalist work, have I concluded that the same thing could have been said in fewer notes, less time?"

Kevin Stalheim, artistic director and founder of Present Music, commissioned the work from Hagen. The ensemble has also commissioned and premiered several other works by Hagen over the years, including An Overture to Vera and Flight Music.

(Banner image: Vogel Concert Hall, Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, where Occasional Notes was premiered.)