Commissioned by Music at the Anthology (MATA) for their 2011 Festival of New Music
for flute, alto saxophone, trumpet, 2 percussionists, piano, accordion, 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass
“Of Trees & Fields & Men" (2011), by Christopher Mayo, a Canadian, was inspired by a verse in the poet Kenneth Patchen's "Wonderings" that begins with an odd simile: "O 'listen' is like an elephant/ Who stalks the woods at night." The elephant's weight and gait are captured in the rhythm, texture and vaguely South Asian spirit of this mildly exotic work for large ensemble. Hints of trumpeting and steady, muted cymbal crashes reinforce the image. But Mr. Mayo moves on: toward the end of the work the steady stomp gives way to a lovely, Neo-Romantic violin solo that morphs slowly into a chordal, rhythmic ensemble exploration."
- Alan Kozinn, The New York Times (May 11, 2011)
Of Trees & Fields & Men was commissioned by Music at the Anthology (MATA) for their 2011 Festival of New Music. It was first performed May 10, 2011 at Le Poisson Rouge by ACME and L’arsenale conducted by Filippo Perocco.
The title is drawn from a poem by Kenneth Patchen from his 1971 collection Wonderings.
O "listen" is like an elephant
Who stalks the woods at night
& with his mole-soft & curling trunk
Touches all the stars with light
& written on his nobly gentle sides
Are the names of trees & fields & men
Of where we shall got tomorrow
And of what it will be like then
- Kenneth Patchen, Wonderings (1971)
May 10, 2011 - ACME and L’Arsenale, Filippo Perocco, conductor, MATA Festival, Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY, USA
2011, WQXR, Q2, Cued Up