Program and program Notes

New Music at The Pozen Center
with Musical Hors d'Oeuvres, Spoken Text, and Refreshments

1.  John Holland  Love and Death  (A Cross-cultural Mix-up)  (2010)  (18:59)
The music contains original electronic sounds, along with samples including Richard Wagner’s Prelude and Libestod from his opera Tristan und Isolde, performed by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York conducted by James Levine, Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, with Claudio Abbado conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, and Luciano Berio’s Visage containing electronic sounds, and vocal sounds performed by Cathy Berberian.

2.   Spoken text: John Holland, Traditional and Non-traditional Music

      Arnold Schoenberg  Two Works  for Violin  and Piano 

1.    Piece  for Violin and Piano in d minor  (1893/94)  (1:25)

2.   Fragment  for Violin and Piano  (1927)  (4:23)
      Marla Rathbun – Violin
      Maria Rivera White – Piano


3.   Spoken text: John Holland, The Asymmetry of Addiction

      John Holland  The Moby Dick in All of Us  for Digitally Modified Piano
                                     and Electronic Sounds  (2009)  (9:36)

1.    Ishmael
2.    Queequeg
3.    Captain Ahab
4.    The Pequod
5.    Starbuck
6.    Stubb
7.    Flask
8.    Tashtego
9.    Pip   
10.  Moby Dick

        John Holland – Piano, Electronic Sounds
        Stephanie Cardon – Video Projection

---- Intermission ----

4.    Enrique Granados  Valses Poeticos  for Piano Solo  (1887)  (13:00)
       Maria Rivera White – Piano

5.    Spoken text: John Holland, Symmetry and Asymmetry

       John Holland  Sonata  for Violin and Piano  (2010)  (25:00)
1.    Scale Model No. 1
2.    Chromatic Intervals in Two Dimensions
3.    Incrementa No. 1
4.    The Clock
5.    Incrementa No. 2
6.    12 Haiku  (from texts based on themes of science and nature by the
7.    Scale Model No. 2
8.    Passing By  (inspired by the story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
                              by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
9.    Sands of a Distant Shore  (based on a poetic fragment from the journal
                                                    Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau)
10.  Incrementa No. 3

       Marla Rathbun – Violin
       Maria Rivera White – Piano
Max Azanow – Production Manager
Zayde Buti – Stage Manager
(copies of the spoken texts are available at


John Holland – Love and Death (A Cross-cultural Mix-up)
A blend of ultra-romantic sensuality, sexual tension, and impending death. The music is reproduced in 5.1 surround.

Arnold Schoenberg – Piece (1893/94) and Fragment (1927) for Violin and Piano

Arnold Schoenberg was a self-taught composer as well as a visual artist. He also invented card games, and a chess game for four players he called ‘Coalition Chess’.

The short, romantic, Piece was written in the late nineteenth century when Schoenberg was employed in a Viennese bank. Fragment was composed at a time when Schoenberg had fully developed his 12-tone system, although the music shows more experimentation than is normally confined within the strict 12-tone method. Schoenberg never finished the Fragment, and it ends abruptly with no real conclusion.

I reluctantly agreed to compose a short ending for Fragment in which I applied a 12-tone classic retrograde device to the first seven measures. This allows the music to maintain its general tone and it also has the advantage of preserving Schoenberg’s original intervalic structure.

To view Arnold Schoenberg’s paintings, drawings, and games online, go to

John Holland – The Moby Dick in All of Us

The piano score is divided into 10 movements, each containing a series of integers, and the name of one of the characters in Herman Melville’s epic novel Moby Dick. The integers used in the score were drawn from the names of the 10 different characters, ranging from Ishmael and Queequeg to Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.

The integers in each movement are determined by the letters in the alphabet that spell-out the name of each character. The letter 'a' corresponds to the number 1, the letter 'b' to 2, and so on. The integers correspond to the number of sounds played within each sound group.

After making a recording of the piano music from the score, I digitally modified the recorded piano music, then added the electronic sounds. The music is reproduced in 5.1 surround.

Stephanie Cardon's video was edited to Holland's musical score, using footage shot at the Moby Dick Marathon, held annually at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Present at the cover to cover, twenty-five hour reading of Melville’s masterpiece was the author's great-great-grandson Peter Whittemore, and many others eager to join in this madcap relay for the White Whale.

Enrique Granados – Valses Poeticos

Rarely performed and little known, this is a sparkling gem of 19th century romantic piano music, infused with sublime melody, perhaps nostalgic to a fault.

John Holland – Sonata for Violin and Piano

The Sonata, written for the Rathbun-Rivera Duo, was composed last spring specifically for this evening’s program.

Each movement of the Sonata incorporates a unique rhythmic or melodic structure. Each of the 12 Haiku, for example, is based on a different melodic interval. And all contain a pattern of 5 – 7 – 5 sounds distributed across 3 measures.

There are three movements that take the form of an Incrementa. Incrementa is my term for a rhythmic or melodic aspect of the music that forms an increasing or decreasing incremental pattern. Movement four, The Clock, is another example of an incrementa that slows down over time. Scale Model 1 and Scale Model 2 employ a variety of melodic patterns arranged in different symmetrical configurations. Incrementa No. 2 is suggestive of American fiddle music. In Passing By, you experience the passage of time. In Sands of a Distant Shore, you feel the motions of the sea.

John Holland is a composer, performer, author and digital recording artist. He is a Professor Emeritus in the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. His work emphasizes the integration of science and art, incorporating structures and ideas that reference a variety of natural phenomena. He has produced a number of recordings of electronic and digital music, and has published scores for most solo instruments (with and without electronics), piano music, chamber music, orchestra, concertos, opera. John Schaefer, host of New Sounds on WNYC Radio in New York cited Holland's Natural Phenomena as "one of the notable CD's of 2005." Most recently Holland’s music has been performed at the Yamaha Piano Salon (NYC), in Jordan Hall (New England Conservatory), Pickman Hall (Longy School of Music), Bartos Theatre (Media Lab, MIT), University Gallery (Tufts University), Harvard University, IBM (Yorktown). See and hear more at and

Marla Rathbun performs contemporary music in recitals with Maria Rivera, pianist. She is violinist with the Rathbun/Newton/Alpher Piano Trio, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Hanover Chamber Orchestra, the Aurora Quintet and free-lances in the greater New York area. She was first violin with the Taghkanic String Quartet, and has been Principal Second with the Connecticut Grand Opera for 20 years. She teaches a large private studio, including coaching of small ensembles, in Poughkeepsie, NY. See and hear the Rathbun-Rivera Duo at
Maria Rivera White has recently performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and in Merkin, Steinway, and Alice Tully Halls at Lincoln Center. She began her study of the piano at the age of five. She won numerous competitions, and by the age of thirteen had given her first solo performance with orchestra.  She studied four years in Naples, Italy, with Nunzio Zappulla, professor at the Naples Conservatory of Music; and attended the Eastman School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music. She completed a Masters degree at The Juilliard School, and was invited to perform at an international music festival in Kyoto, Japan. See and hear the Rathbun-Rivera Duo at
Stephanie Cardon is a Franco-American artist and MFA graduate of MassArt's Studio for Interrelated Media. Her work is concerned with image/text/sound combinations. She attended Oxford University for History and Modern Languages and ICP in New York for Photography. Her work has been published and exhibited in Europe and the United States and she is the recipient of several fellowships and awards including the NEA's John Renna Scholarship and Cultures France's Villa Médicis Hors-les-Murs. Stephanie is currently teaching in the Boston area.