New Music America
David Byrne
The Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
Program Notes


Paris had its world premiere in Paris, 1982 in a concert sponsored by Radio France. The piece, full of 'Can Can spirit,' was received by the Parisians rapturously.
It consists of a 32-bar chorus repeated four times with new counterpoints added. On the last repeat the bass saxophone is featured. The piccolo has a flourish in the coda. The tune was written in the upstate N.Y., a year before Louis Hardin (Moondog) came to Europe.
Good For Goodie is a ground of eight bars, repeated over and over. Every eight bars a new counterpoint is superimposed, repeated over and over, until there are sixteen counterpoints over the ground.
The seventeen tier layer cake effect was termed "stunning" by Downbeat. It was written in honor of Benny Goodman. The first counterpoint, bar nine, is given to the clarinet, representing Benny himself. In a magazine article in 1951 he was quoted as saying, "I find Moondog's music arresting."
Bird's Lament was written in memory of Charlie Parker, on hearing of his sudden demise. Not long before his death he and Louis Hardin talked about doing a record together, a record which never materialized. Though jazz in feeling, Bird's Lament is written in the form of a chaconne, a four-bar harmonized figure, repeated many times, over which is a free-flowing part played on the alto sax, his instrument, with a baritone sax obbligato.
Present for the Prez was written with Lester Young in mind, a walking-tall tenor saxophonist Hardin never had the pleasure to meet.
The form is also that of the chaconne, the ground is in the double bass, pizzicato, with the orchestra breaking in twice for four bars at a time, commenting on what the tenor is doing, culminating in the coda.
Stamping Ground. The title is a play on words. It means the bit of ground a stag defends by stamping his feet to ward off rivals. It also means the corner, 53rd and 6th, where Columbia welcomed Moondog to stand in the sixties. The piece is a two-part canon over a four-note ground, the four notes featured on four timpani.
Passion Flower is for strings alone, a two-part canon for violas and violins, with a tonic pedal point in the cellos: it is a lament for all flowers that are cut and carried off to market, to be sold, wilting on the way. Only one of many ways which flowers have to suffer, drooping in pain as they lean on the Latin meaning of the word.
Dark Eyes is a czardas, part of the third movement of Hardin's Symphony no. 50, The Rodzinski. This symphony, written in fond memory of Artur Rodzinski who, while conductor of the New York Philharmonic during the forties, let Louis Hardin attend the rehearsals of the orchestra. His wife, Halina, was an inspiration also. This czardas was written with her in mind. The eight-part counterpoint consists of a double two-part canon in the strings, joined by another double two-part canon in woodwinds, the piece starting slow and ending at a break-neck speed.
New Amsterdam is a piece about Old New York when it was under Dutch control. The thirty-two-bar theme was worked into a four-part canon with another canon, a two-part, superimposed with the orchestra coming in little by little until all culminate in the coda. It is the second movement of Tout Suite no. 21.
New York was written in New York in 1958, having its world premiere in Paris in 1976 at Salle Gaveau, the hall where Liszt and Chopin played.
After a four-bar intro the thirty-two-bar chorus is heard, followed by a ten-bar release. On the first repeat new counterpoints appear, giving all, as in Paris, plenty to do. In the last repeat the piccolo steals the show ... But we forgive him.
Louis said: "When I wrote the words I didn't know they would come true - I ran away from all the noise I so abhor. Before I left they told me I'd be back for more ... etc. SO right they were!"