Charles Shadle (b. 1960) — Red Cloud (2011) for organ
Charles Shadle (b. 1960) is Senior Lecturer in Music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he teaches composition, music theory, and history. Numerous institutions, including SUNY Buffalo, Longwood Opera, the Lake George Opera Festival, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Newton Choral Society, and the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, have commissioned his work. He has served as composer in residence for the choral ensemble Ecclesia Consort and the opera company Intermezzo. Shadle is a member of the Chotaw Nation of Oklahoma.
The composer provides the following notes about this work:
“Red Cloud is a small town in south central Nebraska and is representative of many farming communities in the American Midwest. The town is named for the important Ogallala warrior and statesman Red Cloud (Mahpiya-Luta). Emblematic of America’s deeply conflicted relationship to indigenous people is the tendency to memorialize them in the names of places from which they were disposed. I have often traveled throughout the Great Plans, but I have never visited Red Cloud. However, like so many others, I feel as if I know it well throughout the vivid and compelling descriptions found in the works of its most distinguished inhabitant, novelist Willa Cather (1873–1947). In my short organ piece, I have sought to evoke the Plains landscape. On initial impression this landscape may appear disconcertingly featureless. However, closer inspection reveals an environment both varied and rich in incident. Some elements of the piece suggest 19th century hymnody, but the tunes are my own. ‘Red Cloud’ was commissioned by the distinguished organist Leonardo Ciampa and was composed in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the first week of October 2011.”