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Alex Freeman
1972 -
Finland | United States of America
A. Freeman
Alex Freeman (28/04/1972), a Finnish-American composer. He grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Around the age of 13 he became interested in composing. As his trombone teacher in those years, Bruce Reinoso, was also a composer and student of the renowned American composer Robert Ward, who was then teaching at Duke University, his trombone lessons slowly became composition lessons. He left North Carolina in 1990 to study at the Eastman School of music, where his teachers included Samuel Adler, Warren Benson, Joseph Schwantner, and David Liptak. There, in addition to his studies as a composer, he was an avid conductor of the music of his fellow composers. He then went to Boston to study with Lukas Foss and got his Master's at Boston University, spending two summers teaching young composers at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute with Charles Fussell and Richard Cornell, with whom he also studied during those years. In 1998 he moved to New York to begin his Doctoral studies at the Juilliard School, studying with Christopher Rouse. The focus of his doctoral document, The First Movement of Sibelius's Fourth Symphony: Sketch Study and Style Analysis, led him to Finland. The recipient of a Fulbright Full Fellowship, he moved to Helsinki in 2001 to research Sibelius's sketches and study composition with Eero Hämeenniemi at the Sibelius Academy. He was also a student of Jouni Kaipainen and Magnus Lindberg. He taught at Carleton College from 2007 to 2014. Dr. Freeman is currently composing full-time and lives with his wife and children in Finland.
The Finnish-American composer Alex Freeman has been described as being ‘as comfortable in the realm of the pop ballad as in that of the concert hall’ and yet his songs ‘are imbued with the craftsmanship and care one would expect of a composer of his formidable academic training, just as his concert works carry the emotional immediacy of popular music.’ Himself a choral singer, Alex Freeman has written a number of works for choir: music that aims to be sonorous and melodic, but is carefully crafted to avoid the clichés that can burden conventional tonality.
Under the Arching Heavens - a Requiem
Period:21st century
Composed in:2018
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Latin mass and Finnish and English texts by Viljo Kajava, Aleksis Kivi, Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Sodergran, Walt Whitman
In memory of:/ to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Finnish civil war
Label(s):BIS-2592 SACD
Under the Arching Heavens: A Requiem (2018) contains:
01. I. Sydämeni laulu 7'41
02. II. Requiem æternam 4'59
03. III. Sequence - Dies irae 6'36
04. Sequence cont. Thrushes 3'53
05. Sequence cont. 3'51
06. Sequence cont. Fientliga stjärnor 5'31
07. Sequence cont. 8'55
08. IV. Sanctus 5'22
09. V. Mikä lienee se lintu ollut? 4'37
10. VI. Agnus Dei 4'20
11. VII. O Years and Graves! 10'55
Source:booklet of cd BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 01. I. Sydämeni laulu
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 02. II. Requiem æternam
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 03. III. Sequence - Dies irae
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 04. Sequence cont. Thrushes
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 05. Sequence cont.
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 06. Sequence cont. Fientliga stjärnor
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 07. Sequence cont.
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 08. IV. Sanctus
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 09. V. Mikä lienee se lintu ollut?
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 10. VI. Agnus Dei
© BIS Records BIS-2592

♫ 11. VII. O Years and Graves!
© BIS Records BIS-2592
Freeman’s requiem Under the arching heavens was commissioned by Nils Schweckendiek and the Helsinki Chamber Choir to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Finnish civil war. Structured around the Latin liturgy of the mass for the dead, the work has a duration of more than an hour and also incorporates poems in Finnish, Swedish and English, reflecting both the specific reason for the commission and the universality of human suffering caused by war. In the non-liturgical texts chosen by Freeman, birds are a recurring image, as is that of a mother and child. The work ends with lines by Walt Whitman from a poem written in the aftermath of the American Civil War; lines described by the composer as ‘some of the most comforting poetry in the English language.’ Also included on the disc is A Wilderness of Sea, another recent choral piece which draws on works by Shakespeare, and the poet’s images of the sea, and of mankind’s relationship with it.
Contributor:Arye Kendi