Frazelle: Through the Window Premieres

Watercolor cover art painted by
Kenneth Frazelle

“It’s wonderful to be able to present a virtual premiere.” — Kenneth Frazelle

On June 20, the Mallarme Chamber Players present the online world premiere of Kenneth Frazelle’s new song cycle Through the Window. Commissioned by the ensemble, the 11-movement, 46-minute work is scored for soprano, cello (or viola) and piano and features texts by the composer. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the performance will be live-streamed (from Manifold Studios in Durham, NC) as part its “Come Hear NC” program, which celebrates North Carolina Composers. Musicians include cellist Bonnie Thron, pianist David Heid, and soprano Andrea Edith Moore, who will be performing together in the same space and in real time. The event also includes a pre-concert composer chat with Frazelle offering insight into his new work.

Frazelle comments. “Soprano Andrea Moore and I first discussed this song cycle five years ago…Through the Window explores events in my mother’s earlier years in eastern North Carolina. She was born during the Great Depression, picked cotton, and worked in tobacco as a child, and eventually graduated from college. Like her own mother, she was widowed at a young age and sacrificed a great deal to provide for her three young children. These songs depict both the exuberance of childhood and life’s difficult times. In these challenging and isolating times, I think many people will resonate with the themes of survival, strength, and hope.”

Suzanne Rousso, Mallarmé’s artistic director, shares some thoughts about the ensemble’s commissioned-work. “I first met Ken in 2005 when he was commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony to write one of six “postcards,” or short pieces, to celebrate places in North Carolina as part of their 75th anniversary. At that time, I was the Director of Education for the orchestra, which was part of the artistic operations team that was managing the project…I remember Ken’s pre-concert talk when he spoke very eloquently about the commission – The Swans of Pongo Lake – before its premiere…The work was lovely, evocative, and I became a fan. [After arriving at] Mallarmé in 2008, I had been looking for an opportunity to commission a work by Ken…About two years ago Andrea Edith Moore approached me to consider supporting her in a commission by Ken. With the confluence of a grant opportunity, some fortuitous private funding and Ken’s enthusiasm, the commission was a go! From what I [heard] during a zoom rehearsal, Through The Window is dramatic while also being poignant and sweet.”

Learn more about Kenneth Frazelle.

Browse Kenneth Frazelle’s works here.