DAWN KRYSTAL WILLIAMS

COMPOSER AND MEZZO-CONTRALTO

WORKS LIST

(ANNOTATED PARTIAL LIST)

CHAMBER WORKS:

 

Aset

Speaker and Prepared Piano

Language: Ancient Egyptian (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

 

The text to Aset is a hymn to Isis, inscribed on a wall of the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae.  The speaker (either male or female) intones the words of the hymn.  The prepared piano part, based on perfect intervals and tritones, uses registral and temporal space to highlight the spoken words.

 

 

Blue Ice

2 Flutes

Difficulty: Moderate (college/community level)

Duration: 7:00

 

 

Cyclopes

Brass Quintet

 

 

Entortilation

Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, 2 Percussionists

 

 

Humpty Dumpty

Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass), Toy Instrument Player

Language: English

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 25:00

 

Humpty Dumpty is a bizarre declamation of a series of nursery rhymes, with mainly humorous and a few serious settings, both sung and spoken.  The piece may be performed by any voice type.  It includes well-known poems (Jack Sprat, Georgie Porgie, Little Miss Muffet, etc.) as well as less-familiar ones (Tommy Snooks, Sally Go Round the Sun, Hector Protector, etc.).  The rhymes are often performed in voices of specific character types.  These may be relevant to the text, or may be ironic or even entirely unrelated to the nursery rhyme.  Various types of toy instruments of differing timbres appear throughout the piece, with one instrument per poem.

 

 

Huwuld Nyui

Medium-Low Voice (Mezzo-Soprano or Baritone), 2 Percussionists

Language: Pima (Native American), phonemes (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 12:00

Huwuld Nyui is a setting of a Pima poem by Ha-ata, a song to the wind.  Certain words of the poem are linked to particular percussion instruments.  The vocal part combines sung, spoken, and whispered sounds.  Text painting depicts especially picturesque words of the poem and phonemes derived from them.  The full poem appears in the middle of the piece; the opening and closing sections consist of highlighted words and their phonemes.

 

 

Île de Ré

4 Organists (1 Organ, 8 Hands)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 7:00

 

 

Impulse

3+ Performers (Leader and Audience)

Difficulty: Easy (within high school reach)

Duration: 30:00

Impulse is an interactive, audience-participation piece, which creates an atmosphere of percussive sounds.  Each person present selects a percussive sound to perform.  The leader opens the piece by producing his/her sound, at regular intervals.  After the leader has begun, the first audience member begins, then the second, and so on until everyone is performing.  Then, when signaled, everyone crescendos slowly, to as loud as possible.  This loud dynamic sustains for some time, and then, again when signaled, everyone cuts off simultaneously.

 

 

Kamu Balni

Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass) and Ethnic Drum

Language: Fulani/Peul (African) (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

 

Kamu Balni is based on a traditional West African poem, depicting twilight, from the Fulani (Peul) people of Upper Volta.  It may be performed by any voice type, with any type of ethnic drum.  Rhythm is the major focus of the piece.  The vocal and percussion parts are independent of each other, but both incorporate features of traditional West African rhythms (hemiola, bi-rhythms, etc.).  The vocal part contains various methods of producing sound: whispering, shouting, tongue rolls and clicks, etc., in addition to ordinario singing.

 

 

Kiji no

Low Voice (Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Baritone or Bass) and Cello

Language: Japanese (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

Kiji no is inspired by traditional Japanese music.  It may be performed by either male or female low voice.  The text consists of a series of seventeenth- through nineteenth-century haiku, each by a different poet, depicting various nature scenes.  The vocal music contains subtle text-painting of each poem.  The cello plays entirely harmonics, which are sometimes combined with effects such as sul ponticello, tremolo, or glissando.  Pitches in both the vocal and cello parts are based on approximations of pitches occurring in traditional Japanese modes.

 

 

Lattice

Flute/Alto Flute, Clarinet, Cello, Harp

 

 

Nunya

2 African Drums

Language: Akan (African)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 7:00

 

Nunya may be performed on any type(s) of African drums.  Both parts incorporate authentic African drumming patterns.  The performers occasionally shout Akan words, which, when taken together, form the proverb “Nunya, adidoe, asi metunee o [Knowledge, like the baobab tree, can be embraced by no individual].”

 

 

Poèmes d’Amour

Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass) and Piano

Language: French (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

Poèmes d’Amour consists of seven short songs, which may be sung by any voice type and may be performed in any order.  The songs are settings of works by the nineteenth-century French poet Paul Verlaine, and may be considered as modern lieder.  Each song has a distinct character, using various methods of vocal production: À Clymène features resonated vocalizing into the piano; A Poor Young Shepherd is a shepherd song, sung in a childlike voice; Clair de Lune is a Pierrot Lunaire-style song, with Sprechstimme; the chant En Sourdine is sung into a paper bag; Green is sung cabaret-style; Il Bacio is a spoken declamation of the text; and Mandoline is a serenade.  The pianist also produces sounds in various ways, including strumming, plucking, scraping, and striking the piano strings; playing wind chimes or cowbells; and rapping the closed keyboard lid.

 

Praesepe

String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola, Cello)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

 

 

Senet

Medium-Low or Low Voice (Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Baritone or Bass) and Piano

Language: Ancient Egyptian (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

 

Taken together, the texts of the three movements of Senet comprise an ancient Egyptian love poem written in Thebes during the reign of Ramses V.  The music in both the vocal and piano parts is transparent, and is based on a series of chords.  Each movement highlights a particular aspect of the chord series.  The piano music, covering the entire range of the instrument, plays closely- and widely-spaced chords, and also incorporates extended techniques.

 

 

Surge

3+ Performers (Leader and Audience) 

Difficulty: Easy (within high school reach)

Duration: 30:00

Surge is an interactive, audience-participation piece, which creates a rolling sweep of vocal sounds across the concert hall.  Each person present chooses a vocal sound to perform.  The leader conducts a series of passes over the audience, going slowly from one side of the hall to the other.  With each pass, the audience members repeat their sounds until the leader has passed them, beginning as soft as possible, with a crescendo to as loud as possible, and gradually returning to as soft as possible.

 

Tiramisù

Chef and Sous-Chef (Voice and Assistant)

Language: Italian

Difficulty: Easy (within high school reach)

Duration: 3:00

Inspired by the composer’s passion for pastry cooking, Tiramisù is a humorous look at a pastry chef in the kitchen, hard at work on a tiramisù, the Italian dessert comprised of layers of liqueur-soaked cake and mascarpone cream.  A semi-theatrical piece, it involves a speaker/singer dressed in chef’s garb who pantomimes the preparation of the dish from start to finish, meanwhile reading the recipe aloud and using actual working appliances and utensils.  In addition to its entertaining aspects, the piece is also a study of the music inherent in the inflections of the chef’s speech and in the sounds of various chef’s tools.

 

Witches' Harvest

Violin Ensemble

 

 

W Ursae Majoris

2 Violins

 

SOLO WORKS:

 

Baïlèro

Solo Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass)

Language: Occitan/Auvergnat (France), phonemes (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Virtuosic

Duration: 20:00

 

Baïlèro may be performed by any voice type.  The work is a setting of an Auvergne folksong, an exchange between two shepherds, quoted over the course of the piece.  Between phrases of the original song is newly-composed music, such as special effects, folk-like melodies, and ethereal passages.  The Occitan words appear unaltered during the folksong phrases, and provide phonemes that comprise the text elsewhere.  Some music, including the entire folksong, is sung into a megaphone to depict echoes across mountains.

 

Collage/Cast

Solo Contrabass

 

 

Genesis

Solo Cello

 

 

Grey Mist

Solo Cello

Difficulty: Moderate (college/community level)

Duration: 8:00

Counterpoint is the prominent feature of Grey Mist.  The piece contains a limited number of intervals, with many octave displacements.  These intervals combine into various pitch patterns, forming broad melodic lines, with rhythms designed to avoid metric implications.  The pitch patterns reappear throughout the work, transposed and with differing rhythms.  In particular, the opening long phrase develops into quasi-variations.

 

Pangram

Solo Clarinet

Difficulty: Moderate (college/community level)

Duration: 7:00

 

 

Pascha Nostrum

Solo Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass)

Language: Latin, phonemes

Difficulty: Virtuosic

Duration: 10:00

 

Pascha Nostrum is a modern rendering of a medieval chant, which is part of an Easter Day mass.  The notes of the chant provide the pitch and structural framework for the piece.  Phonemes occurring throughout the work are various combinations of vowels and consonants taken from the original text: “Alleluia—pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus [Alleluia—Christ our passover is sacrificed].”  The piece may be performed by any voice type.

 

Pyat’ Pesen

Solo Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass)

Language: Russian (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Virtuosic

Duration: 25:00

Pyat’ Pesen is a set of five songs, settings of works by the nineteenth-century Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov.  The songs may be performed in any order and by any voice type, and the music is designed for quasi-dramatic performance.  The piece includes Kogda (When), Ona (She), Sosed (The Neighbor), Vykhozhu (I Am Starting Out), and Morskaya Tsarevna (The Sea Princess) – one of the composer’s personal favorites.

 

Sikya

Solo Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass) with Shakers or Rattles

Language: Papago (Native American), vocables (click here for text/translation)

Difficulty: Moderate (college/community level)

Duration: 10:00

Sikya, a setting of a Papago poem depicting butterflies in flight, is inspired by traditional Native American music.  It may be performed by any voice type.  A rhythmic pulse drives the piece.  Lines of the poem alternate with vocables (nonsense syllables), in a combination of sung, spoken, whispered, and shouted sounds.  The singer also plays two shakers or rattles.

 

Slate

Solo Piano

 

 

Tesserae

Solo Voice (Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto or Tenor or Baritone or Bass)

Language: Phonemes

Difficulty: Virtuosic

Duration: 15:00

A pastiche of short musical events, Tesserae is the composite of many fragmentary motives.  It may be performed by any voice type.  Numerous vocal special effects occur throughout the piece, altering musical aspects such as timbre and pitch.  The vocal sound is further changed through external modifications (singing into a metal can, megaphone, etc.), and is augmented by percussive accents (foot stomps, finger snaps, etc.).  The text has no actual meaning, but rather consists of a variety of phonemes.

 

Water

Solo Cello

Difficulty: Virtuosic

Duration: 9:00

 

ORCHESTRAL WORKS:

 

Aurora Australis

Full Orchestra

Difficulty: Hard (professional)

Duration: 10:00

 

 

Deorsumversion

Full Orchestra

 

 

Eleison

Full Orchestra

 

 

ELECTRONIC WORKS:

 

Burst

Electronic

Duration: 1:00

Burst is a very brief electronic piece, consisting entirely of musique concrete.  Abrupt percussive strikes persistently interrupt longer waves of vocal clusters.

 

sWirLS...

Electronic

 

 

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