Silverman: At the Colour Café

David Chamberlain

On November 4, Faye-Ellen Silverman’s chamber work At the Colour Café will be presented by the Hora Decima Brass Ensemble at New York City’s Christ and St. Stephen’s Church. Music director David Chamberlain conducts the piece as part of the ensemble’s 25th Anniversary concert. The four-movement, 10-minute work for large ensemble was written for the Monarch Brass, who premiered it in 1997 at the Second International Women’s Brass Conference.

“In writing a piece for the Monarch Brass,” Silverman shares “I wanted to create a work which was light and fun, and one which made use of the soloistic capabilities of the players. The title of the piece came to me as I started sketching. A friend remarked that it reminded him of a jazz club with a drum set, [and] from this image came the piece. While it is not a jazz work, it does rely on some jazz colorings such as the opening with its tritone and fourth, the snare drum accompanying the opening solo, and the use of jazz scales in one section. In addition to jazz shadings, various instrumental colorings are used, such as varied mutes and unconventional instrumental doublings. Throughout the work, there are solos which drift in and out, like bits of conversation overheard in a crowded room.”

Hora Decima Brass Ensemble

David Chamberlain opines about At the Colour Café. “I met Faye-Ellen socially several years ago, and my brass quintet met with her for a reading of her brass quintet piece. Later, she attended one of our Hora Decima concerts and mentioned that she had also written [a work] for a large brass ensemble. She sent me At the Colour Cafe, and after an initial reading, I have been interested in finding the right time perform it. Since the November 4 concert features works by several other New York-based composers, it was a natural fit. I particularly like the jazz references in her composition, her sparing use of percussion to augment the brass, and I especially admire her use of solo voices within the larger group format.”