Major Kenneth Frazelle Work to Receive North Carolina Premiere at UNCSA

The North Carolina Premiere of Kenneth Frazelle’s The Motion of Stone set for April 9

Kenneth Frazelle PremiereKenneth Frazelle’s The Motion of Stone for vocal soloist, chorus, and chamber orchestra, will receive its North Carolina premiere at UNCSA on Saturday, April 9, in Crawford Hall. James Allbritten will conduct the UNCSA Orchestra and Cantata Singers. Works by Mozart and Beethoven will also be performed.

Frazelle’s composition is based on the large-scale poem “Tombstones” by A.R. Ammons, one of America’s most noted poets. Ammons, who passed away in 2001, was originally born in North Carolina and had a longstanding relationship with Wake Forest University.

The Motion of Stone is in seven movements, and is a meditation on memorials and the impermanent universe. The work begins with the sound and image of chisels chipping into stone, finding names “the wind can’t blow away.”

One of Frazelle’s most ambitious works, it received its world premiere at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1998. The piece was also commissioned by the Gardner, in fulfillment of the composer’s month-long residency at the museum. Frazelle also worked on the project at the American Academy in Rome. A review in the Boston Globe stated “the final movement swelled to a great dance of enlightenment and bliss, causing the audience to rise in a standing ovation.” The American-Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters presented the composer with an award in 2000 and spoke of the composition as “sweeping and powerful, invoking the grandeur of the past.”

Kenneth Frazelle is a composer whose music, according to The San Francisco Examiner, “came straight from—and went straight to—the heart, an organ too seldom addressed by contemporary composers.” Frazelle’s distinctive voice blends structural and tonal sophistication with a lyrical clarity; he has been influenced not only by his study with the great modernist Roger Sessions, but also by the folk songs and fiddle tunes of his native North Carolina.

“The range of his (Kenneth Frazelle’s) invention and technical brilliance is apparently inexhaustible and is accompanied by a profound depth of song or feeling. The poise of that kind of forwarding can produce the highest sense of aesthetic completion.” – A.R. Ammons