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Louis Rosen

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"It Is Still Dark: Three Suites is a wide-ranging affair... As opposed to most modern pens, Rosen’s is clear, lyrical and melodically applied. Charts worth navigating." (George Harris, Jazz Weekly, November 2022)

CLICK HERE to read the full reviews.





by Louis Rosen 


Three Suites – two instrumental pieces and one song-suite. The instrumental works are newly imagined pieces from 2019 and 2020 based on music that has its origins in music I composed in the 1980’s and ‘90’s. The song suite dates from two joyously intense weeks in 2003. Despite this broad time span, all are connected by what seems to be an essential characteristic of my work, the crossing or juxtaposition of aspects of popular and classical musical styles, often with a theatrical slant, sometimes emphasizing one stylistic tilt for a given piece, sometimes another, sometimes knitting the styles together; and as in these three suites, often inspired by extra-musical material – here poetry and theater. 

I. WINTER CAROLS: MUSIC FOR A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2020) is a thorough reimagining of the music composed for a production of A Christmas Carol that played annually at the McCarter Theater in Princeton from 1991 to 1999, as adapted by David Thompson, directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Rob Marshall. The main themes of the score are direct quotations or melodic variations of traditional Christmas and Advent carols, the melodies ranging from the well-known to the more obscure. Each movement is based on a particular moment or character in the play, but the suite expands, transforms and combines 

Winter Carols is written for piano, four hands. The suite was completed in Brooklyn, five days after Christmas in 2020. This premiere recording was made in July 2021 by two of my favorite, long-standing colleagues, KIMBERLY GRIGSBY and CHARITY WICKS

1. Streets of London, Christmas Eve: Based on the German hymn, “Wachet Auf,” originally composed by Philipp Nicolai, 1556-1608. 

2. Portrait: Ebenezer Scrooge: A dark, gruff, minor version of the XIX century carol, “Christmas Brings Joy,” originally composed by the Dutch composer, Christoph E. F. Weyse. 

3. Christmas Past: The main theme comes from the XIII century plainsong, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” with occasional added quotes from “London Bridge.” 

4. Christmas Future: The primary melodic material is a transformation of the XIII century plainsong, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The middle interlude/funeral march is based on an obscure Galician carol that served as the basis of the modern carol, “Torches,” composed by the British composer, John Joubert. 

5. Winter Solstice Dance: The main tune of this gigue is based on a XVII century English carol, “Sussex Carol,” as notated and published by Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1919. The XVII century Provencal carol, “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella,” appears as the main strain of the middle interlude, and is woven as a counter-melody into the first part and the return. 

*  *  *  

II. SUITE FOR CLARINET AND PIANO (2019) is an example of music reimagined and transformed into an instrumental concert piece for specific instruments and players, in this case pianist KIMBERLY GRIGSBY and yet another dear, long-standing colleague, clarinetist ANDREW STERMAN. 

The suite is bookended by two movements based on music composed for plays by William Shakespeare: “A Miniature Overture” from the 1991 Seattle Repertory Theater production of Twelfth Night, and “Dance ’92”, from the 1992 production of The Winter’s Tale at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. (Both productions were directed by Doug Hughes.) The four inner movements are songs without words, each an instrumental impression of a specific poem: “Red and White” and “Lost” by Carl Sandburg, “Round” by Layle Silbert and “To Olga” by Alena Synkova. This premiere recording was made by Andrew and Kim in November 2019. 

6. A Miniature Overture · 7. Red and White · 8. Round · 9. To Olga · 10. Lost · 11. Dance '92  

*  *  *  

III. IT IS STILL DARK: SONGS FOR SONDRA – SONGS OF EXILE (2003) on poems by Celso Gonzalez-Falla  

The “Sondra” of the title was the remarkable Sondra Gilman, who passed away in 2021 but will be long remembered by all who love art, music and theater for her extraordinary philanthropy, and by me as one of the loveliest, most supportive people I’ve ever known. It was my good fortune to meet Sondra and her equally remarkable husband and partner in love, business and philanthropy, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, in 1992 as the recipient of their foundation’s 2nd Annual Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater Award, which came with a gala celebration in the lobby of Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, a hefty check, and their deeply committed, indispensible support for many projects to come. 

One afternoon in the summer of 2003, Celso unexpectedly called and asked if I would consider setting to music a poem or two that he had written, with the idea of presenting the songs as a special “special” birthday gift for Sondra. Upon reading the poems, I was delighted to feel both moved by them and hear music in the lines. Two qualities in particular drew me in: the direct expression of Celso’s love for Sondra, and his feeling of loss for his Cuban homeland. The result: a two-week writing spree that produced this five-song suite, sung beautifully in this premiere recording by one of my favorite vocalists, DARIUS de HAAS. Our recording, as well as the presenting of these songs to Sondra a few months later on that “special” birthday remain very happy musical memories… 

12. I Live in My Own World · 13. It Is Still Dark · 14. Emergency · 15. It Was Jazz Music · 16. What Will We Tell? 

DARIUS DE HAAS – Vocals. JOSEPH THALKEN – Piano. ROLANDO MORALES – Congas, Bongos, Timbales, Guiro, Cymbals, Triangle. ERIK CHARLSTON –Vibraphone, Marimba, Timbales, Claves, Cabasa, Cowbells, Shakers, Triangle, Wind Chimes, Cymbals. MICHAEL GOETZ – Bass. LOUIS ROSEN – Music, Orchestration and Conducting. 


Darius de Haas (Vocals – It Is Still Dark) is an award winning singer, actor, concert and recording artist whose career has spanned from Broadway to TV/Film and concert stages around the world. His theater credits include BROADWAY: Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Carousel, Rent, The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm, Marie Christine, and Shuffle Along. Other notable shows include Running Man (Obie Award) The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and Children of Eden. Recent TV CREDITS: the singing voice of "Shy Baldwin" on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Dietland, The Waves in Quarantine. CONCERTS include The Lincoln Center American Songbook, Duke Ellington Sacred Concert w Los Angeles Master Chorale, Carnegie Hall and many orchestras including the National Symphony, Cincinnati Pops and Boston Pops. RECORDINGS: Day Dream: Variations on Strayhorn, Quiet Please (w/Steven Blier), and many Original Cast Recordings. Please visit www.dariusdehaas.com 



Kimberly Grigsby (Piano – Winter  Carols; Suite for Clarinet and Piano) has been collaborating with composer Louis Rosen, recording and performing his work with Capathia Jenkins, since 2005, including the albums One Ounce of Truth: The Nikki Giovanni Songs and Phenomenal Woman: The Maya Angelou Songs and Songs Without Words. She has recorded Mr. Rosen’s Act One Suite for solo piano and Kim D. Sherman’s solo piano album, Unfathomable Things. As a music director and conductor for New York City theater, her credits include the original productions of Flying Over Sunset; To Kill a Mockingbird; Spring Awakening; Caroline, or Change; The Light in the Piazza; The Full Monty; Head Over Heels; Amelie; Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark; Here Lies Love; The Lucky Ones; The Fortress of Solitude; and Songs From an Unmade Bed. 




Andrew Sterman (Clarinet – Suite for Clarinet and Piano) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer committed to crossing boundaries of jazz, pop, and classical music.  His performances have been praised in the press: (NYTimes: "beautiful, sensitive, and high-energy playing", Wall Street Journal: "Powerful, standout moment", London Observer: "Virtuosic").  He has been an active member of the Philip Glass Ensemble since 1992, touring and recording with that group extensively.  His compositions combine the spirit of improvisation with the form and precision of chamber music. Of his The Path to Peace, All About Jazz New York called it, "A major conceptual work, whose exquisite ebb and flow merits listening by a worldwide audience".  Of his Wet Paint CD: "Questing, devoid of self-indulgence, emotionally flexible..." (Jazz Times), "...emotive lyricism, inventively architected, superb compositional pen..." (Jazz Review.com).    



Charity Wicks (Piano – Winter Carols) is a sought-after pianist whose work crosses all musical genres. She has an active career on Broadway as a Music Director/Conductor/Pianist with such shows as the Broadway-bound Lempicka, as well as current and past shows including Come From Away, Girl From the North Country, Tootsie, Frozen, Spring Awakening (original production), and many others. She often collaborates in the development of new works (both musical theatre and opera) with such organizations as The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, La Jolla Playhouse, The Public Theatre, and The American Opera Project. She maintains an active recital career, playing vocal recitals and chamber music throughout the metropolitan area, and is the Director of Music Ministries at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ. She holds a BM and MM from Temple University, and a DMA from The Manhattan School of Music in Piano Accompanying. 



THANKS… to Darius de Haas, Kim Grigsby, Charity Wicks, Andrew Sterman and all of the terrific players for their inspired performances; Celso Gonzalez-Falla for making that phone call; Celso and Sondra Gilman for more than I can say; Doug Hughes, Scott Ellis and Tom Thompson for the enjoyable theater collaborations; Scott Lehrer for thirty-three years of great recording collaboration and counting; and once again, the extraordinarily generous Joan McKay. 



Recording and Mixing Engineer: SCOTT LEHRER 

Mastering Engineer: OSCAR ZAMBRANO 

Art Direction & Design: DEREK BISHOP 

Cover Photo: LOUIS ROSEN 

All compositions © 2022 by Louis Rosen/Lullwater Music, ASCAP, except It Is Still Dark songs, © 2004 by Louis Rosen & Celso Gonzalez Falla, Published by Lullwater Music, ASCAP. All rights reserved. 

DT-250  ℗ & © 2022 by Louis Rosen. Distributed by Di-tone Records. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized Duplication is a violation of applicable law.