|Neil Rolnick — Gardening at Gropius House (2013)|
Neil Rolnick — Gardening at Gropius House
◊ No place like home for family, faith, and frailty
Born: October 22, 1947 in Dallas, TX
Genre: Avant-Garde, Classical
Styles: Avant-Garde Music, Computer Music, Mixed Media, Modern Composition
Location: New York City/San Francisco, California
Album release: October 29, 2013
Record Label: Innova
1. Gardening at Gropius House 30:02
2. Anosmia 29:24
Track 1: Todd Reynolds, Alarm Will Sound, Alan Pierson, Neil Rolnick
Track 2: Maya Kherani, Carrie Zhang, Daniel Cilli, The New Music Ensemble of SFCoM, Nicole Paiement
◊ Alarm Will Sound*/Alan Pierson
◊ Todd Reynolds (violin)
◊ SFCM New Music Ensemble**/Nicole Paiement
◊ Nicole Paiement (soprano)
◊ Daniel Cilli (baritone )
◊ Neil Rolnick (laptop, computer)
◊ rec. Recital Hall of the National Opera Center, New York City, 13-14 June 2013 (Gardening At Gropius House);
◊ Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 4 March 2012 (Anosmia).
◊ Rolnick‘s music is quite clearly anti-modernist in the sense that it avoids the stereotypical gestures of avant-garde atonality. Anything goes these days, and the moments of jazz or salon-music sweetness in this work are by no means revolutionary. ◊ Superbly crafted, this piece is great fun, and holds enough contrast to maintain interest for its substantial thirty minute duration. There are lyrically expressive passages, darker harmonic moments and some subtle electronic extras which keep the ear wide awake, even if the drums tend to go on a bit.
◊ Both of these works are expertly performed and very well recorded, and repeated listening will yield rewards and surprises. Anosmia is one of a series of Rolnick’s pieces which examine the loss of various senses — in this case that of smell. The work shares a sense of exploratory genre hopping, with vocal doowahs, integrated narration and vocal lines which link to restlessly inventive instrumental parts which seem in a permanent state of homage. The nose associations call up reminders of Michael Nyman’s Nose List Songs, particularly with some of thoseharmonies around “What if I burn up the kitchen?” or perhaps even the pointillism of parts of Shostakovich’s satirical opera The Nose. The music doesn’t sound particularly derivative, but does set itself up for a myriad comparisons.
◊ You will have to decide for yourself if Neil Rolnick’s idiom inspires you to dance around the room or drives you up the wall in short order. These aren’t the kinds of pieces you can listen to casually since there is always too much going on for the attention to be allowed to wander far. With intriguing electronic effects which aren’t always directly apparent, there is a frequent feel of “what you see isn’t necessarily what you get”, the musical stage leaping on occasion from sparing chamber-music to more cinematic perspectives. Anosmia builds into something akin to a chamber opera, a “love song [which] describes how loss can lead to a deepening and strengthening of the bonds between two people” with a Kurt Weill kind of vibe but without any big tunes.
◊ Rolnick was born in Dallas, Texas, and studied English literature at Harvard University where he received a BA in 1969. He then turned to music, studying composition first at the San Francisco Conservatory in 1973–74), then with Richard Felciano, and finally with Andrew Imbrie and Olly Wilson at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received an MA in 1976 and a PhD in 1980. Concurrently he also studied computer music with John Chowning at Stanford University and was a visiting researcher at IRCAM in Paris from 1977 to 1979 (Marshall 2001). Rolnick also studied composition with Darius Milhaud (Oteri and Rolmick 2013) and John Coolidge Adams, and computer music with James A. Moorer.
Artist Biography by Joslyn Layne
◊ Composer and performer Neil B. Rolnick has been working in the field of computer music since the late '70s. He has written works for theater and for multi-media presentation, and has worked as an educator for many years. The Fulbright grant recipient was composer-in-residence at a number of institutions, and later became the director of the iEAR Studio ("integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer") and a teacher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has performed all over North America and Europe, and collaborated with ensembles including Gamelan Son of Lion (on the 1992 album Macedonian Air Drumming), Relache (on 1987's A La Mode & Real Time), and the California E.A.R. Unit. While recordings generally feature Rolnick on keyboards and synthesizers, he operates a MIDI performance system for some works, including "Balkanization" (1988). His mid-'90s multi-media tour, "Requiem: Songs for the Victims of Nationalism," was also performed before the U.S. House of Representatives.
Nicole Paiement: http://nicolepaiement.com/
Nicole FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Paiement/209261770184 © Neil Rolnick vs. Matt Marks at Galapagos — Feast of Music
◊ Nicole Paiement has gained an international reputation as a conductor and specialist of contemporary opera and contemporary music. She is the founder and artistic director for Opera Parallèle, a professional company dedicated to contemporary opera. With Opera Parallèle, Paiement has recorded many world premiere performances, commissioned many new works from composers of various countries, and toured in various countries. The company’s more recent productions have included the world premiere of Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar; the West Coast premiere of John Rea’s re-orchestration of Berg’s Wozzeck; the San Francisco premiere of Philip Glass’ opera Orphée; the world-premiere performance of the commissioned re-orchestration of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby; the San Francisco premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar; Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti; Barber’s A Hand of Bridge; the world premiere of Luciano Chessa’s A Heavenly Act; Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts; and the workshop reading of a commissioned opera by Dante De Silva, Gesualdo, Prince of Madness. This season Opera Parallèle will present Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel; Francis Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias; and the American Premiere of Adam Gorb’s Anya 17.
◊ Paiement is an active guest conductor and has premiered and recorded numerous works from composers around the world. For Dallas Opera she recently conducted a new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ opera The Lighthouse. She will return to Dallas both in January 2014 to conduct Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers and in January 2015 to conduct the world premiere of Joby Talbot’s new commissioned opera Everett. Paiement will also appear at the Washington National Opera in Fall 2014 and at the Broad Theater in March 2015. Paiement is the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project — a new music series sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. ◊ With this music series, she has commissioned, premiered and recorded works from many living American composers. Paiement is also on faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she conducts the orchestra and opera productions.
|Neil Rolnick — Gardening at Gropius House (2013)|