William Kentner Anderson: Der Weg Ins Freie

, composer


Guitarist/composer William Kentner Anderson releases a collection of works ... music is not like anything else, often engaging with simple musical materials-pop songs, folksongs and folk lyrics. He breaks barriers-asking his guitarists to sing backup vocals, incorporating Tibetan overtone singing in his setting of Djuna Barnes' "Paradise", integrating an uillean piper into the Cygnus Ensemble.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Performer(s) Time
Total Time 61:23

J'entends le moulin

011. J'entends le moulin
1. J'entends le moulin
The Bowers Fader Duo2:02
022. Malbrough
2. Malbrough
The Bowers Fader Duo2:29
033. Ziguezon
3. Ziguezon
The Bowers Fader Duo3:48
04Grüne Heinrich
Grüne Heinrich
William Kentner Anderson, guitar2:23

Djuna Barnes Settings

Vox n Plux
051. Seen From the "L"/Rite of Spring
1. Seen From the "L"/Rite of Spring
Vox n Plux1:53
062. She Passed This Way
2. She Passed This Way
Vox n Plux1:34
073. Crystals
3. Crystals
Vox n Plux3:14
084. The Child Would Be Older
4. The Child Would Be Older
Vox n Plux1:08
095. Paradise/When the Kissing Flesh is Gone
5. Paradise/When the Kissing Flesh is Gone
Vox n Plux1:58
106. Pastoral
6. Pastoral
Vox n Plux4:04
11Poema armónico
Poema armónico
William Kentner Anderson, guitar3:05
12Les Fraises et les framboises
Les Fraises et les framboises
The Bowers Fader Duo5:04
13Afterlight (for Dottie)
Afterlight (for Dottie)
William Kentner Anderson, guitar, Elizabeth Farnum, soprano2:12
14Of Course
Of Course
William Kentner Anderson, guitar2:39
15The Job of Journeywork
The Job of Journeywork
Cygnus Ensemble, Isaac Alderson, uilleann pipes7:24
16Quant L'herba fresq
Quant L'herba fresq
Haleh Abghari, soprano, William Kentner Anderson, guitar, Oren Fader, guitar2:16
17My Morphine
My Morphine
Haleh Abghari, William Kentner Anderson, guitar, Oren Fader, guitar3:26
18Various Roses
Various Roses
David Fulmer, violin, William Kentner Anderson, guitar3:22
Cygnus Ensemble, Mark Shapiro, conductor7:22

(excerpted from the program notes):

In the 20th Century so many new ideas came onto the table, and in the process, as much was taken off. I am working vast tracts of fenced-off land, long fallow and now rich and fertile. This territory was proscribed, for example, by Boulez, brandishing the Leibowitz Diktat: "equal weight". In other words, everything had to float, untethered. There were good reasons, poignant reasons for this. It had to do with moving forward after WW II. Boulez excoriated Schoenberg for sustaining First Viennese School habits, particularly matters of phraseology and symmetry, into Second Viennese School practice, elevating Webern as the leading light. It made sense at the time, and later led to bad habits. I will tell the story of how I fell in with Schoenbergians, allying myself with those who ignored Boulez.

  • In the early 90's I was studying the cultural backgrounds of the big composers. I came up with this list of themes:
  • What is perceptible to the senses is a reflection of what is intelligible to the mind. (Plato)
  • Per visibilia ad invisibilia (Romans i, 20)
  • What is below is like what is above; what is above is like what is below (Tabula Smaragdina)
  • What is within is also without (Goethe)

Around that time, a man from the NSA came to my Washington Heights apartment. He wanted me to vouch for one of my composer friends, a Princeton guy who studied with Milton Babbitt (who called himself a Schoenbergian). Frank Brickle became a spy, and my composition teacher. We spent a great deal of time mulling over this list of themes. I brought up the real similarities between the Gnostic Christian Jacob Boehme’s proto-naturalism and the full-blooded naturalism of Goethe. Boehme, through his influence on the Pietists, certainly influenced Bach, while Goethe had a huge influence on the first and second Viennese schools, and certainly on Schenker. The idea of "organic" music comes from Goethe's Urpflanze, his study of the metamorphosis of plants. Regarding Gnosticism, Brickle offered that he regularly reviewed the opening of Thomas Mann’s Joseph and his Brothers for its brilliant and concise outline of the Gnostic worldview. He added that Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen was Goethe's Urpflanze sprouting upon the grave of German culture.

It was reassuring to check in with someone who understood the musical resonances of such things and could take my line of thought and extend it in fruitful directions. He usually didn't fail to surprise me. Composition lessons involved Brickle making comments that were steps ahead of my evolving conceptual framework. I found it endearing, taking it to be some kind of Princetonian hazing.

Complete program notes available with purchase of download.

Grateful thanks to all the artists; to Marc Wolf and Jeremy Tressler at Furious Artisans
to Zaidee Parkinson and Alanna Stone; to Robert Pollock and Ebb & Flow Arts, Joan Forsyth, Richard Anderson, Dr. William Anderson, Dottie Anderson, Oren Fader, Melinda Newman, Tara Helen O’Connor, and John Whitfield of Cygnus, Frank Brickle, David Starobin, Christoph Harlan, Allen Kranz and Trumann Bullard.

All works © William Kentner Anderson*
*except track 17 (My Morphine) © 1998 David Rawlings & Gillian Welch published by Irving Music Inc.

Recorded at Dreamflower Acoustic, Bronxville, NY dreamflower.us
Sound Engineer: Jeremy Tressler
Editing, mix and mastering: Jeremy Tressler

Track 11, Engineered by John Messersmith, edited by Da-Hong Seetoo
Track 14 Recorded at Eonta Sound
Tracks 15 & 19 Live archival concert recording

℗ & © 2019 William Kentner Anderson
Publisher: Marsyas Productions, BMI

Liner notes: William Kentner Anderson
Graphic design: Marc Wolf, marcjwolf.com
Illustrations: Edmund Dulac, Stealers of Light, Hodder and Stoughton, 1916

This CD was privately funded, and with the cooperation of Cygnus Ensemble, Inc., Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music, Ebb & Flow Arts, and the Maui Institute for Modern Music.

William Kentner Anderson

Composer, guitarist William Anderson began playing chamber music at the Tanglewood Festival at age 19. He later performed with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, NY Philharmonic, and many other NYC-based ensembles and organizations. He was a member of the Theater Chamber Players, the resident ensemble at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Anderson founded the Cygnus Ensemble in 1986. Cygnus is based in New York and has toured in Europe and Asia. Cygnus was in residence at the Library of Congress in 2012. Anderson has been Artistic Director of the Roger Sh apiro Fund and Marysas Productions since 2011. His compositions have been presented in guitar festivals and new music festivals in the US, Asia, and Europe. Recently, his T-räume, in collaboration with poet Katharina Johanna Ferner was performed by the Gunnar Berg Ensemble at the Mozarteum in Salzburg for their annual Bloomsday celebration. Many of his works are recorded and can be found on Furious Artisans, Marsyas Productions, and Bridge Records. Anderson teaches classical guitar at Sarah Lawrence College and Queens College.