Now Blue October (text: Robert Nathan) for SSATTB choir; 4' (2000)
performed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Madrigal Singers, dir. Bruce Gladstone:
composer’s note: “Now Blue October” is one of the first pieces I ever wrote for mixed choir, and still remains a favorite among the members of the UW-Madison Madrigal Singers who premiered it (and who wound up premiering many of my other choral works). I wrote it as I was discovering the beauty of Renaissance choral music, and while its harmonic language is distinctly romantic, full of chromatic complexities and unexpected tonal shifts, it’s got a lot of the “text-painting” madrigalisms that I find so fascinating in the works of Monteverdi, Gesualdo, and other Italian Renaissance composers. In this way, “Now Blue October” is something like a modern American take on the Renaissance motet, following textural ideas (all springing from the poetry) into all kinds of unexpected places, but still maintaining an overall structure that feels dramatically complete and satisfying.