publishing and producing the music of William Grosvenor Neil

Chamber

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I. Canis Lupus-Nocturne (2020) Artaria String Quartet, Ray Shows, violin, Nancy Oliveros, violin, Analee Wolf, viola, and Patricia Ryan, violoncello

Sacrum Creaturae (2021)

for string quartet and digital acoustics      21 mins.

The Artaria String Quartet, August 18th at the Stringwood Chamber Music Festival in Lanesboro, MN

Read about the premiere

Commissioned by the Artaria String Quartet

Sacrum Creaturae (String Quartet No. 2) for string quartet and digital acoustic commissioned and premiered August 18th, 2021 at the Stringwood Chamber Music Festival by the Artaria String Quartet, profiles three endangered creatures:  wolves, dolphins, and birds in the three movements of this string quartet.  Each of the digital acoustics, the recorded and processed sounds of wolves, dolphins, and birds, explore the sounds of these creatures from three perspectives.   Canis Lupus-Nocturne developed through the exploration of wolf howls, growls, snarls, barks, and choruses.  My goal in integrating the sounds of wolves with the string quartet was to make them equally passionate and expressive driving the dynamic and emotional climaxes of the music with equal intensity.  Programatically, I have placed the wolves deep in the forest,  in an environment that allows the string quartet to evoke the mystery and primal energy associated with these animals. I make musical references to the controversy of re-introducing these animals in the wild and the history of violent annihilation by hunters.          Delphinus-Cradlesong comprises the slow, middle movement of this piece.  The cradlesong is literal and is inspired by the recent discovery by marine scientists that a mother dolphin will sing to its unborn calf so that it bonds with the mother and is familiar with her voice after birth.  I have essentially orchestrated my Cradlesong for solo piano for string quartet and the whistling sounds of a mother dolphin singing to its calf.  The final movement, 21 Birds, incorporates the bird calls of 21 birds in the Driftless region of the upper Mississippi, integrated with the thematic music of the string quartet. I treat the birds as 21 soloists and as an orchestra of birds accompanying the quartet. In the performance with the quartet, I have employed various special effects, such as reverberation, echo, and delay to blend the two acoustics.  The performance of the piece involves a very high-quality sound system that envelopes the audience in a three-dimensional sound environment.

Purchase per performance license and receive link to download files with performance instructions.  $50

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Objets Trouvés (2019) Jonathan Borja, flute, and Mary Ellen Haupert, piano.

Objets Trouvés (2019)

Flute and piano    7 mins.

Premiered February of 2019 at Viterbo University, Jonathan Borja, flute, and Mary Ellen Haupert, piano.

This piece for flute and piano is dedicated to the silenced artists that perished during WWII and is inspired by two fragments that I found in the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.:  an ink drawing entitled "A Brighter Future", by Bedrich Fritta, and a musical sketch of a twelve-tone row composed by the Moravian composer, Gideon Klein. I was captivated by the ink drawing with its clear expression of freedom and the still life that depicts a violin and musical manuscript containing a music motive in Ab major.  The construction of my composition is largely derived from the dual tonal-atonal nature of the two motives as it drives forward in thematic variations expressing the conflicting emotions of hope and despair.  WN

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Spiritual Adaptation to Higher Altitudes (2018) Corey Mackey, clarinet, and Keith Leinert, vibraphone

Spiritual Adaptation to Higher Altitudes (2018)

Bb Clarinet and Vibraphone    7 mins.

June 2018 at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Dr. Corey Mackey clarinet, Keith Leinert, vibraphone.

Commissioned by Dr. Corey Mackey

Spiritual Adaptation to Higher Altitudes is a beautiful work.  Bursts of excitement and moments of dialogue punctuate the long, seamless phrases, inviting the musicians to explore the remarkably rich palette of colors created by this pairing.  William Neil has created a truly unique, much-needed addition to the clarinet and percussion repertoire!- Dr. Corey Mackey

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Midi Audio of Three Tangos for Clarinet and Piano (2017)

Three Tangos for Clarinet and Piano (2016)

For piano and clarinet in Bb        10 mins

Tango No. 1 is dedicated to Malgosia and her newborn.  I imagined a mother, with a child in her arms, dancing to the rhythm of this tango.  Tango No. 2  is for  Diana, a  poet and a  believer in sci-art quantum physics of the everyday.  It is a slow and somber dance with the universe.  Tango No. 3 was inspired by  Amanda, the mother character in The Glass Menagerie.   The music, like her memory,  is surreal and fantastic.

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Tango for guitar and violoncello (2013) (midi audio)

Tango for Guitar and Violoncello (2013)

Guitar and violoncello    3 mins.

Premiere performance by Marco De Santi, guitar and  Frieder Berthold, 'cello in Gargnano, Italy June of 2013.

This tango is an arrangement of Tango No. 1 of Six Tangos for solo piano. Tango No. 1 is dedicated to Malgosia and her newborn.  I imagined a mother, with a child in her arms, dancing to the rhythm of this tango.  

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Piano Trio No. 1 “Notte dei Cristalli” (2012) Trio Malipiero: Giacomo Dalla Libera, piano, Tommaso Luison, violin, and Giancarlo Trimboli, violoncello.

Piano Trio No. 1 “Notte dei Cristalli” (2012)

Piano, violin, and violoncello   20 mins.

Premiere performance by Trio Malipero, Giacomo Dalla Libera, piano, Tommaso Luiso, violin, Giancarlo Trimboli, violoncello, June 18th, 2015 at Teatro alla Specola, Padova, Italy.

Commissioned by Trio Malipiero.

Piano Trio No. 1 (Night of Broken Glass) for the piano trio is a tribute to the children who are often the innocent victims of the tragic and violent actions of men. Although I have referenced the Kristallnacht attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938, I am, in my musical expression, alluding to all senseless demonstrations of violence that often reach catastrophic proportions as they shatter the lives of children. In these three movements, I juxtapose the intensely orchestrated sonorities with two Jewish traditional lullabies*. The themes, only briefly heard as lyric contrasts to the more aggressive music, interweave and develop their own narrative, gaining an increasing emotional weight as the episodes unfold. In addition, there are two “enigma” themes that I use to drive the transformation of the music to its emotional climax.

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Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden (2009) Wang Guowei, erhu, Yang Wei, pipa, Teresa Reilly, Bb Clarinet, John Bruce Yeh, Bb bass clarinet

Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden (2009)

Erhu, pipa, clarinet in Bb, bass clarinet in Bb        11 mins.

 

 

Premiered April 11th, 201o at  Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville, IL

Birds and Phoenix

Wang Guowei, erhu , Yang Wei, pipa
John Bruce Yeh and Teresa Reilly, clarinets.

Commissioned by Birds and Phoenix

I composed this piece imagining myself in a garden of images, sonorities, and aromas that all merge in an idyllic moment in time.  I have taken a line from one of T.S.Eliot’s poems in the Four Quartets, for my title, Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden. The poem, Burnt Norton, concludes with the poignant truth that “humankind cannot bear very much reality.”  I often wonder whether my work as a composer really has any significance or meaning beyond helping my listeners temporarily escape their personal realities.  In recalling Eliot’s line,  “What might have been and what has been/ point to one end, which is always present” I am reminded that a melody, a single line of lyric pitch flow evokes memory in the mind of the listener and that rhythm and accent often draws our attention to the present moving towards the future.  So, with these inherent powers

of music in mind, it was my goal to create a piece of vibrant and engaging music that relentlessly draws the listener into the present moment.  Eliot also alludes to a timeless merging of present and past in this poem. His line, “then a cloud passed and the pool was empty” brought back memories of being a child watching clouds almost unnoticeably move across the sky.  I was similarly inspired to conclude Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden with music that evokes an ecstatic stillness tempered with a longing for the past.  WGN

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Nightmantra (2006) Erica Ward, violin

Nightmantra (2006)

For solo violin and digital acoustics.

Duration:  8 mins.

Premiere performance by Noah Geller, violin at the Julliard School of Music, March 25th, 2006.

The work is inspired by an entry in the Diary of Anne Frank where she daringly leaves the safety of the annex one night to view the night sky-a sky she had not seen for many years.  That night she wrote in her diary:   "It’s not just my imagination on my part that to look up at the sky, the clouds, the moon and the stars, makes me calm and patient."   Incredibly, during this same period of time, Anne Frank was seeking refuge from the Nazis in the secret annex in Holland, the controversial conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler was conducting Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in a series of concerts in Berlin.  The concerts were to provide an escape and sanctuary for the German audience during one of the darkest periods of the war.   Indeed, shortly after the last concert, the concert hall was bombed.  I have extracted a digital sample from  an archive recording of the concert in 1944 of Furtwangler conducting a performance of Bruckner’s 5th Symphony.  I have created a sound mantra from the dark "shadow" of this audio excerpt. As the piece unfolds, the  violin leads us away from the mantra’s  dark grasp and directs us to look up at the night sky full of stars.

 

Purchase score and receive link to download digital acoustic file with performance instructions.  $30

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Fantasia for Guitar, Flute, & ‘Cello (1979) (excerpt of score) Michael Lorimer, guitar, Ellen Kahne, flute, and Bob Weber, violoncello

Fantasia for guitar, flute, and violoncello (1979)

For guitar, flute, and violoncello    10 mins.

Premiered at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington July 1984, Michael Lorimer, guitar, Ellen Kahne, flute, and Bob Weber, violoncello

“I composed Fantasia reminiscing on a year I lived in Cologne, Germany. I remembered my disgust with the noise and with the architectural ugliness of a city hastily rebuilt after the war, and, at the same time, I recalled the beauty and the peace of the city’s small, secretive, walled gardens.” William Neil

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