Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble

Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble

EMPAC Concert Hall

November 17, 2010 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Presented by Rensselaer Union Classical Concert Series

Steve Reich
Music for Pieces of Wood (1973)
Eric Amoroso, Sam Clapp, Garrett Smelcer, Michael Century, Max Katz

Maurice Ravel
String Quartet in F major (1903)
1. Allegro moderato - Tres doux
2. Assez vif - Tres rythme
Ori Berger violin, Rosa Tung Violin, Fabian Hough cello, Peter Raggio viola

George Crumb
Dream Sequence (1976)
Max Katz, percussion; Sam Clapp, cello; Jonathan Chen, violin; Michael Century, piano; Crystal Glasses, Kristin Lamore, Joe Hetko

Michael Nyman
The Heart Asks Pleasure First (1993)
Lina Bagepalli, piano

Philip Glass
Metamorphoses #2, Mad Rush (1988, 1979)
Krista Parran, piano

John Adams
China Gates (1977)
Angelina Lou, piano

Missy Mazzoli
Magic With Everyday Objects (2007)
Eric Amoroso guitar, Andrea Nordberg bass, Deanna Schwarz flute, Franklin Wu clarinet, Michael Century piano

Guy Klucevsek
Satango, Don't Let the Boogie Man Get You (2005)
Michael Century, accordion

Astor Piazzolla
Milonga del Angel, Fracanapa
Garrett Smelcer, piano, Ori Berger, violin

About the music -- notes by Michael Century

The concert begins with Music for Pieces of Wood written for five pairs of tuned claves.  The specific pitches played by the claves create swirling melodic patterns that animate Reich's trademark shifting syncopations and polyrhythm.  ~~~ The String Quartet by Maurice Ravel is the composer's only work in the genre, and, astonishing to our ears, was failed by the judges of the Prix de Rome competition in 1903 when submitted as a graduating piece at the Paris Conservatory. One of Ravel's most popular works, it has forever more been a lesson to composition students to ignore the criticism of competition judges. ~~~ George Crumb described the mood of his Dream Sequence as "poised, timeless, breathing, as an afternoon in late summer."  David Burge has noted that the work "evokes in its psychological effect something akin to an actual dream. Fugitive, wispy images seem to drift in and out of the consciousness, assuming subtly varied shapes with each recurrence. At one, and only one moment in the 'sequence' of images does the sleeper seem roused to semi-wakefulness (announced by sudden, sharp forte passages in the piano); the music then relapses gradually to deep somnolence with the concluding 'cicada-drone' music." ~~~ John Adams is one of America's best loved composers, and both a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner – a distinction shared by both Reich and Crumb.  China Gates is among the earliest of Adams' mature works, introducing the composer's signature concern for harmonic development that moves beyond the austere reduction of early Minimalism. ~~~ Philip Glass's two piano solos, Metamorphosis 2 and Mad Rush were written respectively for a theatrical adaptation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and a dance production by choreographer Lucinda Childs. ~~~ Popular film composer Michael Nyman wrote The Heart Asks Pleasure First as the main theme for Jane Campion's The Piano.  It is based on the melody of the Scottish folk song "Gloomy Winter's Noo Awa". ~~~ Missy Mazzoli, a leader of the young generation of American composers equally at home in rock and concert music, has been called "Brooklyn's post-millennial Mozart". Magic with Everyday Objects features a gritty electric guitar part and driving rhythmic beat; it was commissioned by the NOW Ensemble and premiered at the Bang-on-a-Can Marathon in 2007. ~~~ The two duets for accordion and piano, Satango and Don't Let the Boogie Man Get You, are consummate character pieces, evoking composer Guy Klucevsek's inimitable wit and elegance. They were released in 2006 on Klucevsek's duet album with Alan Bern, Notefalls. ~~~ The concert concludes with the emotional depth and vigor of Astor Piazzolla's tango nuevo, in two skillful duet arrangements for violin and piano.

The Performers

Eric Amoroso, Freshman, Mathematics

Garrett Smelcer, Senior, Biochemistry and Biophysics

Jonathan Chen, Graduate Student,  Electronic Arts

Sam Clapp, Graduate Student, Architectural Acoustics

Michael Century, Professor, Arts Department, Faculty Advisor

Max Katz,  Graduate Student, Physics

Devin Glen, Freshman, Biomedical Engineering

Ori Berger, Senior, Aeronautical Engineering

Peter Raggio, Senior, Aeronautical Engineering

Fabian Hough, Freshman, Computer Science

Lina Bagepalli, Sophomore, Biology

Krista Parran, Junior, Biomedical Engineering

Angelina Lou, Junior, Industrial and Management Engineering

Andrea Nordberg, Senior, Biomedical Engineering

Deanna Schwarz, Freshman, Science, Technology and Society

Franklin Wu, Freshman, Mechanical Engineering

Joe Hetko and Kristin Lamore, Doane Stuart School

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