I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Arranged by Kurt Erickson

Series Editor: San Fransisco Girl's Chorus, Susan McMane, Artistic Director
Voicing: SSA
Instrumentation: piano
Catalog number: AMP 0644
Price: $1.90

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

PROGRAM NOTES

‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’ was commissioned by and affectionately written for my dear friend Carole Thibodeaux. This piece is a joyous setting that has a kind of infectious rhythmic vitality throughout. At Carole's suggestion, I was able to incorporate two little known tunes into my composition that are occasionally associated with this Longfellow text – a melody by composer John Baptiste Calkin (1829-1905) and another one by Joseph Mainzer (1801-1851). While I confess that I knew next to nothing about these two composers when I started, I found that their melodies fit extremely well into the fabric of my piece. I like the idea of creating new things from old and believe this gesture fits well within the broader context of maintaining a sense of timelessness around the Christmas holidays.

Kurt Erickson

BIOGRAPHY
Kurt Erickson is an active composer whose music can be heard frequently throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Compositional highlights include a ballet commission from the Lawrence Pech Dance Company for chamber ensemble, adult chorus, and boy sopranos; a San Francisco Girls Chorus premiere; and an orchestral premiere with the Sacramento Philharmonic. In 2005, he took part in a composer residency at Randolph-Macon Woman's College and at the Napa Valley International Festival of Dance.

While in his twenties, Erickson served a unique Three Church Composer Residency at the Grace Cathedral, St. Mary the Virgin, and St. Mark's Episcopal churches in San Francisco. He served as composer-in-residence at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi from 2001 to 2003, writing sacred choral music for its professional ensemble, Schola Cantorum.

Born in Fresno, California, Kurt studied piano performance with pianist Philip Lorenz at California State University, Fresno. He continued his graduate studies with William Cerny at The University of Notre Dame and composition at Mills College with Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran.

Erickson's choral works have been recorded and released on a CD by the Schola Cantorum vocal ensemble entitled This Christmas Night. More information about Mr. Erickson may be found at www.kurterickson.com.

recording performed by The San Francisco Girls Chorus
San Francisco, California
Susan McMane, conductor

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