Andrew Rindfleisch: Night Singing

Night Singing (2004)
by Andrew Rindfleisch

Night Singing is a four-movement work intended to convey those hours of the very late evening and early morning, a time when I am often awake and at my most productive and reflective. It is during this time where my emotional states of anxiety, energy, creativity, calmness, and loneliness, all seem to be at their most intense. I have chosen four poetic fragments of the beautifully dark poetry of Charles Baudelaire to help define each of the movement’s specific expressive qualities. That Hour is intended to convey a state of almost hyper-anxiety (for me a frequent state of pre-creativity). Suddenly, Bells reflects those brief bursts of creative energy- an almost static experience that can take days, even weeks, for me to sort out. I have often thought of this experience as the resonance of the sounds of bells. With Bach Dreams an unfolding contemplative state reveals my deep love of this music and the distant, yet still lingering dreams I had of it in childhood. A Crying Horn presents the bass clarinet as a lonely voice in a dark and empty night- an expression of both the struggling and quiet intensity of loneliness just before slipping, finally, into sleep.

Night Singing was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, Zeitgeist.

I. That Hour
     It was that hour of the night when guilty dreams
     Rise from brown, restless adolescents in swarms…

II. Suddenly, Bells
     Sudden, bells leap forth into the air,
     Hurling a hideous uproar to the sky
     As ‘twere a band of homeless spirits who fare
     Through the strange heavens, wailing stubbornly…

III. Bach Dreams
     This voice, which seems to pearl and filter
     Through my soul’s inmost shady nook,
     Fills me with poems, like a book,
     And fortifies me, like a potion…

IV. A Crying Horn
     And one old memory, like crying horn
     Sounds through the forest where my soul is lost…

Composer Andrew Rindfleisch (b. 1963) has enjoyed a career in music that has also included professional activity as a conductor, pianist, vocalist, improviser, record producer, radio show host, educator, and concert organizer. As a composer, he has produced dozens of works for the concert hall, including solo, chamber, vocal, orchestral, brass, and wind music, as well as an unusually large catalog of choral music. His committed interest in other forms of music-making has also led him to the composition and performance of jazz and related forms of improvisation.

Mr. Rindfleisch is the recipient of the Rome Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Award, and the Koussevitzky Foundation Fellowship from the Library of Congress. Over forty other prizes and awards have followed honoring his music. He has participated in dozens of renowned music festivals and has received residency fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), the Czech-American Institute in Prague, the Charles Ives Center for American Music, the June in Buffalo Contemporary Music Festival, the MacDowell Colony, and the Pierre Boulez Conductor’s Workshop at Carnegie Hall. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Bachelor of Music), the New England Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and Harvard University (PhD).

As a conductor and producer, Mr. Rindfleisch’s commitment to contemporary music culture has brought into performance and recording over 500 works by living composers over the past 20 years. He has founded several contemporary music ensembles and currently heads the Cleveland Contemporary Players Artist in Residency Series at Cleveland State University, and the Vertigo Ensemble at the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City. He has made guest conducting appearances throughout the United States and abroad with many diverse musical organizations; from opera and musical theatre, to orchestral, jazz, improvisational, and contemporary avant-garde ensembles.