Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Label: New World Records - 80662-2 • Format: CD Album • Country: US • Genre: Classical • Style: Contemporary
But what if we forget for a moment all these accumulated associations and go back to the original word? And even deeper, a sense of balance, of all the elements in a work supporting one another in pursuit of a perfection that bespeaks elegance, grace, a sort of dynamic serenity.
And it is precisely the music Arthur Levering is writing today. Levering b. It seems appropriate that for most of his mature creative life, Levering has lived in Boston now with joint residence in Still Dreaming sister city, more on that in a momentone of the bastions of such musical scruples.
In this he follows a Still Dreaming of similarly-minded composers: Stravinsky upon his arrival in America inIrving Fine, Harold Shapero, Arthur Berger, and John Harbison, to name a few. As a result, music that has the energy, economy, and tensile strength of Stravinsky combines with a high chromatic quotient, and expressionistic gestures, albeit without the angst which of course could well apply as a description of late Stravinsky as well.
But also, because he is also a supreme individual, it will not appear further here. Levering personally is actually much like his music. There may be a plethora of notes, but in their midst there is never an extraneous one. Arthur is also very funny, but his wit is dry, and one feels a similar humor in his sounds.
There are sudden whimsical juxtapositions, and a music one is sure to follow in one direction may suddenly take off in another—though never with a sense of disorientation. His rhythmic sense is unerring, and probably does more Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining anything else to clarify and drive his ideas.
The compact cyclic ideas are constantly permuting, growing, spinning Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining into tangents. His rhythmic sense Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining even further to govern the careful pacing of events.
Changes of texture, tempo, and harmony all occur just where they should, and keep up the momentum. One thing that makes him exceptional among composers who feel an allegiance to modernism is his transparent orchestration.
And Levering for almost a decade has maintained a distinctly independent existence. A Fellow at the American Academy in Rome in —97, he now maintains homes both there and in Boston. Still Raining, Still Dreamingrev. As a result, Levering pursued an improbable synthesis of the voices of these two completely disparate musicians, a goal that by its very difficulty seems to have given him room Still Dreaming assert his own voice confidently.
The piece starts with a flourish and immediately sets a breathless pace. Levering is a master of creating buzzing textures: Listen for Still Dreaming recurrent measured tremolo in the strings, and the tension it creates with sustained, crescendoing notes in the winds.
To take an example, one and a half minutes into the piece the piccolo and bass clarinet suddenly play a plain line in rhythmic unison, underscored by bass drum hits and low clusters in the piano. Then just as abruptly the glockenspiel enters, mixed with Still Dreaming pizzicati, and the piano in a higher register than previously heard.
It is as though a window were suddenly thrown open. Similar deft touches abound throughout the work. Listeners will select their own over repeated listening I vote for the muted piano sforzandi doubled by a soft tam-tam. But neither does it seem in the least cluttered. While a three-movement work for soloist and piano, it is not the expected traditional sonata. For one thing, all three movements contain extremely fast music.
A good example of this is in the first movement, a set Still Dreaming variations on a note theme. In the first variation, now the theme emerges partially in the piano instead, in low pitches distinguished by accents and register. It is only at the third Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining that we hear the theme in sudden, clear focus, played in unison by both instruments. The second movement was derived from an earlier etude Levering wrote for piano Tears Of Tragedy - It Like Snow. It begins with a slow, ritualized, and mysterious gesture—the alternation between a rocking figure in both instruments off by a sixteenth note until its last reiteration, when they join in rhythmic unisonand stark sustained attacks dying to silence.
Then the dam breaks. The piano music is highly original in its simplicity, each hand with a measured tremolo of sixteenth-notes. The violin begins with long sustained tones, but begins to speed up until it is a dervish of arpeggios. Then a brief pause, and both instruments begin an accelerando together that culminates in a final statement of the fast material. The third movement, after a brief slow introduction by piano alone, takes off again, into a similar atmosphere of racing sixteenth-notes.
Indeed, it almost feels like a recapitulation Shine On - Pig Rider - Heterophonies with Bloody Turkey Sandwiches the previous movement. An idea from the first movement slowly surfaces in the piano, drawing the work to its conclusion against an F pedal in the violin.
Levering has taken up an extraordinary challenge here, disguised in such a lighthearted surface. How does one write for two instruments of such similar timbres, and ones whose envelopes create so much natural sustain and resonance?
How can one write music of real beauty for this medium, without sacrificing substance on the altar of superficial prettiness? Not since Tamino played his bells have I felt such an intersection.
The music dances, from the stately 2, 4 to the madcap 1, 3, 5. At times it can verge on a gentle chaos, as in the shifting polyrhythms of the opening of the final movement. At others it becomes static, illustrating a mysterious and gentle ritual, as in the fourth a memorial to Michael Tippett, whose harmonies reverberate within the glittering texture.
I first heard Tesserae for viola and piano at a concert in Boston marking the farewell of the Extension Works ensemble, which I co-directed along with the pianist on this recording, John McDonald. Well, for one thing, it suggests an ability to spin out a stream Still Dreaming imaginative tangents from a compact source.
And this work does that with seeming effortlessness; it has a sort of relentless imagination. The result is not the same piece recomposed, but a new exploration with similar tools.
Tesserae is a set of variations on a note theme. Catena is a work for piano and a chamber orchestra of sixteen players. Listeners can easily distinguish the progression, as it is orchestrated in the edgy sound of muted brass, alternating with explosive flurries in strings and clarinet.
The movement races through a series of transformations, interpreting the chordal sequence liberally; for example, in the fourth section the penultimate chord appears transposed up a minor third as a rhythmically active but harmonically static texture in the strings.
And finally, one of the most striking aspects of this movement is the breadth of its sonority. In the spirit of no less than Bach, Levering feels free to recycle his material from one context to another, and there is no sense of anything inappropriate in doing so—the music works in its new setting. The final movement is perhaps the most evocative and mysterious of anything the composer has written.
It begins as a Still Dreaming between two very different types of music. On the one hand there is a slow, lyrical idea presented in the strings, with the cello as leader. On the other there is an outburst of activity in the piano, percussion, and winds. But neither is conclusive. He also writes extensively on new music in books, articles, and reviews for Fanfare magazine. Still Raining, Still Dreaming for six playersis dedicated to the memory of the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, who died in Is there a place in the musical firmament where Takemitsu and Hendrix intersect?
Probably not, but I have March Of The Toys - The Pride Of The 48 Band - Hi - Fi Band Concert admiration for both musicians.
While there are no obvious musical allusions to either composer in my piece, what I hope emerges is music with a bit of the energy of Hendrix, along with some of the interest in instrumental color found in the music of Takemitsu. The title would seem to imply a rather gentle piece, but along with the rain there is a bit of thunder and lightning, and the dreams may not all be sweet.
Echoi for violin and piano was written over a period of several years. Movement 1 is a set of variations on a note theme. While this theme is repeated many times and is heard at least partially in all possible transpositions, it is often so fragmented and disguised that it ceases to be a theme in the traditional sense. Both of the fast sections variations 2 and 5 treat the theme in this free manner, generating material through fragmentation and repetition of motives.
The theme makes its initial appearance as violin pizzicato notes embedded in a flowing sixteenth-note piano texture, but its clearest presentation occurs in variation 3 where it is stated by pizzicato violin in unison with the piano.
Movement 2 is a quasi arpeggio study and is based on a piece written years ago for piano solo. The final movement has a simple A fast B slow form: After a brief introduction for the piano alone, the thematic material is spun out in continuous repetition. When the theme has been Five Feet High And Rising?
- Johnny Cash - 100 Hits Legends Johnny Cash in all possible transpositions, the piece comes to an end. Echoi is dedicated to the performers heard here, Nicholas Kitchen and Donald Berman.
What is Sppooo? Is that clear? All kidding aside, I hope the childlike quality of the title comes across in the music. The skill required to play the piece, however, is anything but childlike, and I want to thank the two musicians heard on this recording, Fumito Nunoya and Donald Berman. Talon - Faruq Z. Bey W/ Northwoods Improvisers - Primal Waters is a very brief work for viola and piano, a set of variations on a note theme.
The title refers to the individual pieces of a mosaic and alludes, in this case, to the notes of the theme as they are presented two at a time by the piano at the beginning of the piece. Catena is a fifteen-minute work for piano and chamber orchestra in three movements, played without pause.
Each of the first two movements ends with a slow piano solo the second of which also includes a solo violin. In the second movement, new but related material is introduced with the theme of the first movement used as a counterpoint this new material is a reworking Still Dreaming the final movement of Echoi, also heard Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining this CD.
The final movement begins with a further development of the material based on the penultimate chord and combines elements from both the first and second movements. Catena has recently been expanded into a piano concerto with the addition of another piano solo, but it is Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining earlier version which is heard here. The piece is dedicated to pianist Donald Berman. Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble is a leading presenter of music of the twentieth Sunday - Helen Keller Plaid - Din twenty-first centuries.
While highlighting Boston-area composers, Dinosaur Annex presents works of both twentieth-century masters and contemporary composers from around the globe. Concerts frequently feature world premieres, commissioned pieces, and first U.
Dinosaur Annex has gained a reputation for brilliant, stylistically broad, Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining concert presentations.
Conductors Gunther Schuller, J. The ensemble, under the co-artistic directorship of Scott Wheeler and Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin, is passionately dedicated to bringing cutting-edge music of Still Dreaming composers to Sppooo (2001) - Arthur Levering - Still Raining diverse public.
Donald Berman is a champion of new works by living composers, overlooked music by twentieth-century masters, and recitals that link classical and modern repertoires.
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