For our first post of 2008, we’d like to welcome Jerry Ulrich to our roster of incredible choral composers!
Jerry is an ASCAP award-winning arranger/composer, originally from Illinois. He’s currently Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he directs two mixed choirs and the all-male Georgia Tech Glee Club. His numerous compositions and arrangements in the catalogs of several publishers in the US and abroad have sold over 80,000 copies. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, throughout New York City and on national radio and television, as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Yelton Rhodes is pleased to offer three of Jerry’s choral compositions: I Know a Garden (text by Robert William Service), Music, when Soft Voices die (text by Percy Bysshe Shelley) and When You Are Old and Gray (text by William Butler Yeats). All three pieces are deeply romantic, with a twinge of melancholy. Ulrich’s choral writing is robust and colorful, featuring elegant melodic exchange between the parts, and a lush tonal harmonic language. His music has a very madrigal-esque quality.
The composer himself offers the following insights to his compositions (click on the titles to download and view partial score PDFs):
I Know a Garden (SATB and piano)
Robert William Service was born on January 16, 1874 to a Scottish bank clerk and the daughter of an English factory owner. At the age of 15 he followed his father into the banking business, but in 1896 he immigrated to Canada. He spent several years in the Yukon, and the austere landscape is infused into many of his poems. During his life, he traveled extensively in North America and Europe and died in 1958. This setting was composed in October 2002 for the Southeast Alaska Music Festival Honors Chorus.
Music, when Soft Voices die (SSAA and violoncello)
[This] is a setting of the familiar Percy Bysshe Shelley poem. Its somewhat haunting and incomplete melodic character is intended to reflect the melancholy nature of the text. It was composed in April 2004, and is dedicated to the composer’s Hofstra University Music Department colleagues with appreciation.
When You Are Old And Gray (SAB and piano)
[This] is a setting of a pensive poem written from the perspective of an older person reflecting on a missed opportunity for love at an earlier age. The Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. Yeats’ years of unrequited love to Maud Gonne (including four unsuccessful marriage proposals) is reflected in the poem. The composition is dedicated to the composer’s mother and in honor of his father, who were married for 57 years.