Lee: Lament.Sing.Arise

On June 4, 2022, the Ritz Chamber Players present the world premiere of James Lee III’s newest chamber work Lament.Sing.Arise in Washington, DC. Commissioned by the The McKim Fund of The Library of Congress, the nine-minute work will be performed by violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins and pianist Terrence Wilson. The concert takes place in Coolidge Auditorium at 8:00pm.

Kelly Hall-Thompkins

“The year 2020 was obviously a very challenging year for all of humanity,” Lee observers. “In the middle of the second quarter of [that] year, I received an invitation to be commissioned by the Library of Congress to compose a new work for violin and piano for Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Terrence Wilson. This new work would be planned to be premiered as part of a concert by the Ritz Chamber Players in March 2021. The resulting piece is a work in binary form with a coda entitled Lament.Sing.Arise. The violin begins the work with an extended unaccompanied lament, which includes a performance indication marked soulful. The entrance of the piano is deliberately in the lower ranges, [which is] intended to depict the sorrow and darkness that many of us experienced during 2020. As the lament continues, there are slight hints to what might be considered ‘the blues.’ As the violin continues to sing its lament, it tries to ascend with the hope of being victorious and changing its current extreme, insurmountable challenges. Finally, after a series of scalar passages in the violin, the music is decidedly brighter in its emotional expression. While there are some dance-like qualities of joy in the following passages, various harmonic constructs show that not all has been successfully resolved in the drama. Once the coda arrives, the aspect of ‘arise,’ and soaring, continue until the music ends with an explosion of delight.”

More Lee news: this month, James Lee has four (!) other performances: 1) On June 11, the Cincinnati Symphony performs the composer orchestral work Ameri’can; 2) on the 18th, the Calyx Trio performs the composer’s Piano Trio No. 3 “Tones of Clay” at the Missouri Chamber Music Festival; 3) on June 19, soprano Karen Slack and the Pacifica Quartet present Lee’s A Double Standard at Shriver Hall Concert Series in Baltimore, and finally on the 23rd, Lee’s orchestral work Chuphshah! Harriet’s Drive to Canaan will be performed by the National Orchestral Institute Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop.