Notes

Ovidiu Marinescu

Rorrim no. 1. A Short Essay

After hearing pianist Anna Kislitsyna play Bach Prelude BWV 855 as arranged by Alexander Siloti, I was drawn to the piece, both in its original form and the arrangement. While Bach wrote the quasi-perpetual sixteenth note motion in the left hand Siloti brought it to the right hand. I went a step further, somewhat freely inverting the text, on top of which I composed a cello cantilena of a distant, melancholic, perhaps angular character, with a burst of passion in the middle and a short cadenza. One of my goals was to avoid another a Prelude of some kind or an “Ave Maria” (as Gounod wrote on top of Bach’s Prelude in C Major). The working title of this piece was Mirror, which eventually became Rorrim (Mirror spelled backwards).  “A Short Essay” hints at Samuel Barber’s Essays for Orchestra.

 

I had the opportunity to premiere the piece with pianist Carl Cranmer in Philips Autograph Library on April 25, 2019 for the Tom Smith Cello Scholarship Benefit Concert.  The piece was recorded on June 1, 2019 in Boston with Anna Kislitsyna at Futura Productions for PARMA Recordings, with John Weston as engineer, and Brad Michel producer.

— Ovidiu Marinescu, May 28, 2019

 

 

Bruce Babcock

Alternative Facts

 

"I loved the piece when I first heard it, and I love the piece with the fabulous video. Just perfect, all around." Alex Shapiro, composer, Symphonic & Concert writer member on the Board of Directors of ASCAP

 

"Great Piece! Great Performance! Riveting video! Congratulations! Really special!" Mike Lang, jazz pianist and composer and legendary Hollywood session musician

 

"Very nice combo or off-kilter rhythms and imaginative poly tonality." Todd Mason, Juilliard grad, Los Angeles-based composer

 

"Stunning performance of a gripping piece." Paul Gibson, Los Angeles-based composer

 

"Seriously, inventive, inspiring composition, and Gloria played the hell out of it." Bruce Miller, veteran Hollywood composer & arranger

 

Alternative Facts was composed as a reaction to the 2016 presidential campaign, election, and subsequent inauguration of our current president. Ever since he announced his candidacy we have, as a nation, endured a profound attack on reality, not to mention democracy, diplomacy, civility, and honesty. We now know first-hand the experience of passing "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There," Lewis Carroll's 1871 novel. We are also living in George Orwell's "1984" and the 1944 MGM film "Gaslight." This is now our exhausting "alternative facts" daily life.

 

Composed for my long-time friend and colleague, the brilliant Emmy and GRAMMY-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, Alternative Facts was recorded at the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center Recording Studio, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music by multiple GRAMMY-winning engineer Rich Breen.

 

This short single-movement piece reflects the times we are living in. It is discombobulating, annoying, often loud, repetitive, confounding, crazy-making, tiresome, frenetic, all of the above. Fast (MM=280), with frequent meter changes, both serial and tonal elements, and alternating loud and quiet sections, the piece is a tour-de-force for the piano and requires a virtuoso pianist. Thankfully, we had one in Gloria Cheng. For more on Gloria Cheng. For more on Rich Breen. Bruce Babcock

 

 

I’lana Cotton

The Return

The title for The Return comes from the Tao Te Ching #25, by Lao Tzu, which says that the Tao is called great and that it flows far away, and then returns. This passage gives me an image of the universe and its energy in a ceaseless cycle of expansion and contraction. This work is a single movement, with four sections titled:

 

The Out-Going
Homage á Messiaen
The In-Going begins
The Out-Going begins

 

It is written in a beautiful dark mode (m2, m3, M3, P5, m6, m7). I'lana Cotton

 

 

Alla Elana Cohen

Three Film Noir Pieces

These pieces were written in connection with the concerts, which were organized at New England Conservatory (NEC) by my friend, great musician Ran Blake, the Chair of Contemporary Improvisation Department of NEC. At these concerts there was an actual movie demonstrated on the screen at Jordan Hall of NEC, and each of the participants of the concert — professors and students — received from Ran a fragment of the movie, to which he or she had to play the music at the concert during the demonstration of the movie. Three Film Noir Pieces were written in connection with the movies Cat People and The Curse of the Cat People, demonstrated at one of such concerts at NEC. In these pieces I sought to convey the crazy, sick, oppressive, and sinister atmosphere of both movies. — Alla Cohen

 

 

Curt Cacioppo

Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (to Francesco D’Orazio and David Wetherill)

The material of this new Horn Trio derives entirely from alphabetic/solfège spellings of the names of the three players. Each person initially states his own theme, and from there the themes trade back and forth, transpose, permutate, transfigure, form chords and progressions. The counterpoint is sometimes delicate, sometimes militant. The last movement is not the only example of lopsided tango (in triple meter) produced by the composer. With reference to an episode in Argentina a decade earlier, it ultimately denounces political leadership that does violence to art. — Curt Cacioppo

 

 

L Peter Deutsch

De Profundis Clamavi

This 7-voice fugue draws its strength from the wide range and varying sonorities of the piano trio. The two strings each carry two voices (in different registers), and the piano carries four. The fugue subject is a 12-note (not 12-tone!) melody with the text underlay “De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine” (“from the depths I have cried to you, Lord”), a statement of a universal experience of suffering that transcends its origins in Christian religion. The style is similar to Renaissance polyphony, which inspires much of my music, but with more modern freedom of key and mode. — L Peter Deutsch

 

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