Composers Datebook®

"Haunted Blue" by Jeremy Walker

Jeremy Walker "Alma Gentil" and "The Rainy Day," from "Haunted Blue" Clara Osowski, ms; Tefsa Wondemagegnehu, t.; Jeremy Walker, piano "Haunted Blue" CD 93428 00177

Composers Datebook for October 28, 2019


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October 28, 2019


In 2016, the Minneapolis-based jazz composer and pianist Jeremy Walker collaborated with Consortium Carissimi, a Twin Cities early music vocal ensemble in the creation of some brand-new music in the style of the ensemble’s namesake, the 17th-century Italian composer Giacomo Carissimi.

One of the pieces Walker composed was a duet for tenor and mezzo-soprano. The mezzo for the premiere performance was Clara Osowski, a singer with a special passion for art songs, past and present.

Now since Osowski was as impressed with Walker’s music as he with her voice, after that concert they decided to embark on a project to infuse the modern jazz harmonies of, say, Bill Evans, into the Romantic art song genre of Schubert and Brahms.

They chose texts by Whitman, Longfellow, and Minnesota lyricist Greg Foley, for a song cycle Walker titled “Haunted Blue.” “The ‘blue’ in the title refers to the overall mood of the music,” Walker explained. “But it also refers to the type of harmonies I’m using. The ‘haunted’ part is like when you’re half asleep and half awake at night, and dreams combine with reality.”

A studio recording and even some music videos were made, and on today’s date in 2018, “Haunted Blue” received its premiere pubic performance at a CD release concert in Minneapolis.

Music Played in Today's Program

Jeremy Walker "Alma Gentil" and "The Rainy Day," from "Haunted Blue" Clara Osowski, ms; Tefsa Wondemagegnehu, t.; Jeremy Walker, piano "Haunted Blue" CD 93428 00177

On This Day


  • 1896 - American conductor, composer and Eastman School of Music director, Howard Hanson, in Wahoo, Nebraska;


  • 1755 - French composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, age 65, in Roissy-en-Brie;


  • 1893 - Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique"), at the Hall of Nobles in St. Petersburg, with Tchaikovsky conducting (Julian date: Oct. 16);

  • 1915 - R. Strauss: "An Alpine Symphony," in Berlin, with the composer conducting;

  • 1925 - Loeffler: "The Canticle of the Sun," for voice and chamber orchestra, at the Library of Congress Festival of Chamber Music in Washington, D.C.;

  • 1931 - William Grant Still: Symphony No. 1 ("Afro-American"), by the Rochester (N.Y.) Philharmonic, Howard Hanson conducting;

  • 1932 - Stravinsky: "Duo Concertante" for Violin and Piano, in Berlin at the Funkhaus, with violinist Samuel Dushkin and the composer at the piano;

  • 1935 - Miaskovsky: Symphony No. 15, in Moscow;

  • 1942 - R. Strauss: opera "Capriccio," in Munich at the Bavarian State Opera, conducted by Clemens Krauss, with vocal soloists Viorica Ursuleac (The Countess), Horst Taubmann (Flamand), Hans Hotter (Olivier), and Georg Hann (La Roche);

  • 1943 - Martinu: "Memorial to Lidice," in New York City;

  • 1952 - Elliott Carter: Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for flute,oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, in New York, by members of the New York Woodwind Quintet;

  • 1955 - Bernstein: incidental music for "The Lark" (play by Jean Anoilh adapted by Lillian Hellman) at trial run in Boston at the Plymouth Theater; The show opened in New York City at the Longacre Theater on November 17, 1955;

  • 1965 - Ned Rorem: "Lions" for orchestra and jazz combo, by the Detroit Symphony, Sixten Ehrling conducting;

  • 1972 - Morton Feldman: "Pianos and Voices," in Buffalo, N.Y.;

  • 2001 - Kamran Ince: "Flight Box," at the Milwaukee Art Museum, by the ensemble Present Music.