PASSION FOR BACH AND COLTRANE
composed by Jeff Scott
Co-Commissioned by Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS and The Festival of Art and Ideas, New Haven, CT
"PASSION" is a work for wind quintet, string quartet, piano, double bass, percussion and orator. It was inspired by the poetry of A. B. Spellman, from his book of poems “Things I Must Have Known”, (c) 2008 Coffee House Press. The poetry speaks to the musical mastery of J.S. Bach, John Coltrane and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, as well as religion and mortality.
I have long desired to set poetry to music and was particularly drawn to that of A.B. Spellman because of his strong references to both jazz and classical music as well as the question of faith. The tradition of Passions or musical settings of the Gospel narratives dates to the 4th Century. Bach wrote several though only two have survived. Here the premise of the Passion is explored rather than the actual Biblical accounts. Orated poems in lieu of the intoned Gospel. Bach, Coltrane, Rubalcaba and Spellman in lieu of the traditional Biblical characters.
Though the work is original, it is anchored by this poetry with reference to two significant works by Bach and Coltrane, The Goldberg Variations and A Love Supreme, works written at the pinnacle of their maturation. “Passion” explores the influence of spirituality on the art of these masters and asks the inevitable question, what if JS Bach and John Coltrane might chance to meet? It challenges the performer and listener to be comfortable with the seemingly polar opposites of the musical spectrum presented as equals.
“Passion” is a 7 movement work at minimum 60 minutes in length and maximum 75 minutes.
Notes by the composer, Jeff Scott