Abels: Always A Joy


Mark Russell Smith

“It is always a joy for me — and I use that word very deliberately — to collaborate with Michael Abels.” Mark Russell Smith, music director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, shares his enthusiasm about working with Abels again for the orchestra’s February 4 & 5 world premiere of Liquify. The 9-minute work was commissioned by the orchestra, and is featured on its “Masterworks” series as part of the ensemble’s centennial season.

Smith continues. “Abels’ music exudes positive energy and great joy, and is without exception a big hit with audiences. The Quad City Symphony and I are greatly looking forward to premiering Liquify as an important installment in our annual tradition of commissioning significant new works.  Abels has tremendous skill as an orchestrator and tone poet, and Liquify bears that out.  I always expect great things from him, and he has delivered yet again.”

Abels offers some insight into his new work. “Liquify is a tone poem, a collection of riverfront scenes. It begins with a waterfall, which cascades into an immense industrial river, the kind used for commerce. Here, the flow is deep and murky, and the waterway filled with large cargo ships and barges. There is another scene of brisk rapids, where the flow is quick and uneven, followed by a more romanticized scene of a serene pool or a gently burbling brook. Near the end, the water begins to rise joyously, and ends with a series of giant geysers or waterspouts.”