The first piece, Mr. Biedenbender’s “Red Vesper,” stole the show. Spacious and ceremonious, the work is inspired by national parks in the American West, where the Wisconsin-born composer would often go for reflection and meditation.
His experimentation with sound was like a true nocturnal Western adventure. The piece started with flute mimicking the whistle of the wind or an animal, accompanied by electronic nature sounds, violin, cello, clarinet and piano. The work’s polyphonic writing brought out the timbre and melody of each instrument. Slow but methodical at first, it crescendoed into a vesperal epiphany and steadily drew to a close as the creatures and instruments each fell asleep. The end result was a nature’s hymn to the wild.
“…the contemporary pieces that came later proved to be both explosively dramatic and intriguingly experimental. Radiant Spheres (2014) by David Biedenbender, which Higgins commissioned, managed to say an awful lot in just six minutes. From bluesy and introspective to anguished and finally pacified, the beautiful work for trombone and piano alerted us to a real emerging talent.”
David has been commissioned by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony to write a new work for their American Music Festival.