A memorial to our co-founder, Jeff Quartets is a concert-length set of fifteen new works for four voices, presented as a journey over an evening. Unlike many of the works we sing, with divisi ranging from 8 to 24 voices, the quartets are for 4 parts only; a simple tribute to a musical form Jeff loved.
The composers of Jeff Quartets have generously allowed for the sale of the quartets in a single, omnibus edition. All proceeds will benefit The Jeffrey Dinsmore Memorial Fund @ The Crossing.
Learn more about each Jeff Quartet
A Jeff Quartet for 4 Voices - Bo Holten
Back in 2008, when preparing our first Month of Moderns, we decided to try a "season-featured composer" as a kind of experiment. Donald had discovered Bo's work through his residency at the BBC Singers and felt it a composing voice curiously absent from the scene in the U.S. We presented four of his works and he came to visit us that summer--our first visiting artist from Europe!--to hear his marvelous 24-voice motet "In nomine" and the kooky, virtuosic "Rain and Rush and Rosebush".
Among the most endearing aspects of Bo Holten's successful Jeff Quartet (beloved by both audience and singers alike), is its manner of delivery. In a time when we receive all our new works typeset in Finale or similar software, Bo wrote his Quartet by hand and then sent us photos of it laid out on his dining room table! The red-striped table cloth screams Scandinavia. Take a look by clicking here.
Aptly titled, a JEFF QUARTET is a bittersweet madrigal that, for us, captures a very personal history, yet, with its roots melding Lutheran Chorales and Elizabethan counterpoint, is a universal outpouring of joy and sorrow.
David Shapiro has been a kind of resident composer for The Crossing all along His It is Time is the title track of our first CD in 2010, for which he also composed The Years from You to Me (on a Celan translation by his wife Ulrike). David composed Et incarnatus est for Christmas 2007 and his A Century of Aprils was featured in our Month of Moderns 2015. That work was written for The Bridge Ensemble in 1997; so, that's twenty years of collaborations that also includes a huge orchestra/chorus work, On the meeting of Garcia Lorca and Hart Crane, written for the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia in 2001.
David knew Jeff well and knew that he was a great fan of Richard Dawkins and his progressive mixture of science, wonder, spirituality, and atheism. For his Jeff Quartet, David set a classic quote of the famed evolutionary biologist in a brief work that moves effortlessly from mystery to exuberance to wonder.
Sumptuous Planet - David Shapiro
Yes, I Am Your Angel - Gabriel Jackson
At first it may seem an odd choice for a memorial piece - a poem from a Latvian poet that answers a poem by Beat poet Alan Ginsberg, which itself addresses Walt Whitman and Garcia Lorca. But the poem is immensely literary, like Jeff, and, Ieva Lešinska's translation brilliantly captures poet Kārlis Vērdinš reverence of those artists who came before him. In fact, the supermarket boy immortalized by Ginberg in his famed poem "A Supermarket in California," in his observations of the commercialized world in which he lives, ramps up Ginsberg's dismay to a cultured - and at times comic - cynicism. Jeff would have approved and related.
Of course, Gabriel's unique compositional voice tightens the screws on this already taut and compact poem, and the result is a work that is clearly written for our singers - full of joy and pain, hope and pessimism.