top of page

Peter's Blog

Notes, announcements, scraps of thought, photos and music

Subscribe to the Peter Dayton Music Mailing List!

Never miss an update

  • Writer's picturePeter Dayton

4.25.2022 - THIS WEEK: Live Concert (& Bergamot Quartet colleague spotlight)



Desiderata Concert Reminder! - 4/30/22, 5:30pm EDT, Baltimore, MD

It’s here!! This coming Saturday is the concert I’ve been waiting for and that Katie, Amanda, Eric, Erin, and Kyle have been preparing so much for! “Desiderata” will take place on Saturday, April 30 at 5:30pm EDT. I am so excited for this concert’s world premiere performance of two pieces I’m proudest of from 2020 and early 2021, never before heard live by an audience! While seating is limited, there are still seats remaining! Tickets must be purchased ahead of time so I can enforce our limited capacity, and all ticket sales go straight to the performers!


Stories Out of Cherry Stems Virtual Release Event! - 5/13/22, 7pm EDT

If you’d like to hear some of this music but are too far away to come to the concert, you’re in luck! Most of the concert program is music from an upcoming album of mine: Stories Out of Cherry Stems: Katie Procell sings Works by Peter Dayton. Two weeks after this concert, on Friday, May 13, 2022, at 7pm EDT, I will be hosting virtual album release event on YouTube.

The experience will include teaser tracks from the album (available for digital purchase or streaming that same day), excerpts from an interview with me and Katie about the music, and the gorgeous artwork that my husband Douglas Johnson created during the rehearsal and recording process of this album. The video will be available beyond the YouTube premiere date and time, but I will be live-chatting throughout the video premiere, and I hope you will come, view and listen, and have a virtual conversation with me from the comfort of your own home!

Even as we're beginning to see another rise in COVID numbers, we're being told by power-holders and decision-makers that we're moving past this pandemic. I hope you continue to do what our country fails to and consider the safety of your neighbors and communities. Viruses don't disappear because that would be better for business. I realize that, in the next breath from my saying that, I am inviting you to an in-person event. We'll continue to monitor the situation, but if we deem it safe, I hope to see you at this chance to share, live, some of the music that Katie Procell, an elite corps of Baltimore musicians, and I all worked on this past summer. This concert will feature amazing performances by soprano Katie Procell, saxophonist Kyle Blake Jones, flautist Amanda Dame, violist Eric D'Alessandro, and harpist Erin Baker, performing pieces by me and composer Lori Laitman.

In acknowledgment of the continuing risks that we face (especially by premature removal of safeguards):

  • all attendees will be required to be masked during the event

  • all attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination

  • total space occupancy is limited to 50 people (including performers and me)

Because of the occupancy-limit of this event, we won't be selling tickets onsite, tickets must be purchased in advance to ensure an accurate maximum headcount. All ticket sales will go to the performers!

I hope you'll join us for this lovely event, set in Baltimore's historic Cli Mansion.


Colleague Spotlight: Bergamot Quartet - Debut Album Release: In the Brink (5/6/22)

While my own album release is taking place two weeks after the desiderata concert, there's another album release coming up in the week in between. On May 6th the brilliant Bergamot Quartet will release their debut album: In the Brink. The album is available for pre-order now and I suggest you get yourself a copy of this powerful testament to the musicality and olympic ensemble skills of this superstar team.

As a supporter of the Bergamot Quartet's kickstarter project, I got early access to the album through a digital download, but I can't wait to get my own physical CD copy - the album artwork and design is superb, matching both the tone of the album and the quirky personalities of the ensemble members. But, of course, the music is the main attraction, and this approximately 50-minute release showcases the full technical and expressive range of the quartet.

What impresses me most about the album, I think is the expressive style of playing that the Bergamot players, Ledah Finck, Sarah Thomas (violins), Amy Tan (viola), and Irene Han (cello), all bring to their performance of all the works on this album. There is a richness of tone, an attention to dynamic contrast, and warm application of vibrato, which I confess I don't often hear in performances of works from my own lifetime. These pieces have been lovingly learned, rehearsed, and lived with and it shows. Right from the first notes this richness carries the listener through Paul Wiancko's Ode on a Broken Loom: a series of fragmentary passages of dense, Darius Milhaud-like string writing. The harmonies are lush, as is the Bergamot Quartet's tone in playing them. For me the coherence of this self-admittedly strung-together piece is the quartet's sensitive and deliberate contrasts, pointing the listener towards similarities in the dense texture through their precise shifts in articulation. The piece ends, with mysterious humor, with a triumphant F major chord.

My own personal favorite of the album is Tania León's Esencia. A three-movement quartet, this piece explores a wonderful range of contrasts for the ensemble to show off their playing, both with each other in unison and interweaving with each other contrapuntally. This piece has a number of standout moments, especially in the second movement, where a series of singing melodies supported by luminous harmonies and intimate textures spoke to me profoundly. Though it has exciting, driving passages, I am grateful for the repose and lyricism of Esencia, which allows this ensemble to show its most delicate sensitivity as much as its athleticism.

Suzanne Farin's Undecim takes me vividly back to working with Bergamot on a concert where we presented Alberto Ginastera's String Quartet No. 3. A work of sustained intensity, lush harmonies, and sighing slides in the strings, this work presents an apt midpoint between Wiancko's driving momentum and the alternations between fast and slow in León's quartet. This is a syrupy tour de force that the quartet leads the listener through with the clarity of their performance. The piece pulls upwards from the ground towards the skies, with the whole ensemble ending in a celestial shimmer of harmonics and high, clear notes.

The album ends with the eponymous work: In the Brink, another triumph of a piece by Bergamot Quartet violinist and exciting composer Ledah Finck. Writing with assurance for her own ensemble, as well as an impressive firsthand knowledge of the breadth of the string quartet repertoire, Finck pulls out all the stops in this piece that feels right at home among the recent stars of pushing the limits of Classical performance: George Crumb, Caroline Shaw, Amy Beth Kirsten. The quartet declaims! The quartet sings (beautifully)! there's a drum kit! The piece, in four mysterious movements, takes the listener through an intense journey. Though the piece was composed in 2019, its relevance has only increased in the years between its composition and release on this album, taking the listener through a cataclysm, verbally and musically. The words of the final movement -"We hold each other in the brink of all our questions"- come back to me in summing up the experience of the whole album, as well as the question asked by its title piece. The Bergamot Quartet answers these questions through their example: by working together in dialogue and close coordination, we can created things that are truly beautiful.

Congratulations to the whole team involved in the project! An enormous success from an ensemble you will want to keep watching on their stratospheric journey!


Lots of exciting music and excellent performances are coming out in the next few weeks! I hope you'll have a chance to listen to all of it, but at least some of it! Stay safe!


22 views0 comments


bottom of page