New Music 09 Program and Notes
New Music at the Pozen Center

PROGRAM

             New Music at The Pozen Center

    with Musical Hors d'Oeuvres, Spoken Text, and Refreshments


1.  Spoken text: John Holland, The Art of Invention

 John Holland  The Capacity for Resistance  for Digitally Modified Piano and ‘Live’ Electronic Sounds  (2009)

      John Holland - Digitally Modified Piano
      Marc McNulty - Electronic Sounds
      Shawn Moore - Original Electronic Instruments

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2.  Spoken text: John Holland, The Verification of Truth in Art and Science

     Jean Philippe Rameau  Allemande (from New Suites of Harpsichord Pieces (ca. 1728)

      Maria Rivera White - Piano

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3.    Spoken text: John Holland, Cultural Symbiosis

       John Holland  Chic et Musicale for Digitally Modified Piano (Four Hands) with Original Fashion Designs  (2009)
        
      Frank Floyd, John Holland - Digitally Modified Piano

      GeorgAnnette Chatterly (Revinalized), Karisa Gagnon (The Bird’s Nest),
      Melissa Lawson (3D Revolution), Marcel Plante (Femme de Film), Shalyn
      Webber (Wired) - Original (non-textile) Fashion Designs

      Bianca Costanzo, Rajuli Khetarpal, Veronika Kruta, Julia Seeholzer – Models
      Stephanie Cardon - Stage Direction


---- Intermission ----
    

4.    Carl Ruggles  Mood  for Violin and Piano  (1918) [ed. John Kirkpatrick, 1975]
        
         Marla Rathbun - Violin
         Maria Rivera White - Piano
      
         Stephanie Cardon - Photographs

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5.    Lou Harrison  Grand Duo  for Violin and Piano  (1988)

1.    Prelude
2.    Stampede
3.    A Round
4.    Air
5.    Polka

        Marla Rathbun - Violin
        Maria Rivera White - Piano

               
Glenna Van Nostrand - Lighting
Lenka Chludova - Production Manager


        Saturday  November 7th  2009  5:00 PM
    Pozen Center  Massachusetts College of Art and Design

PROGRAM NOTES

John Holland - The Capacity for Resistance and Chic et Musicale

 
My music often includes the use of integers to represent the number of sounds to be played, as is the case with the piano and electronics pieces presented on this program. The musical score is divided into sections or movements each containing a set of integers and the name of a particular thing that relates to the subject of the score.

Integers displayed in the score of Chic et Musicale, for example, represent the names of fashion designers who have made significant contributions to the history of fashion, from Luis Vuitton and Charles Worth to Gianni Versace and Donna Karan. The original, non-textile, fashions that accompany the music were designed by award-winning senior fashion designers from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. They will be available for closer inspection during the Intermission.
In The Capacity for Resistance, integers were drawn from the names of 12 different electronic musical instruments, or inventors, who are pioneers of electronic music, ranging from Thaddeus Cahill and his Telharmonium (1901) to the Radio Baton of Max Matthews (1992).

The integers are derived from the names in the score (A=1, Z=26), and are read and interpreted freely by the player(s). The player then has the option of inserting, or not, short silences between musical segments. The various sound groups based on the integers and separated by silences determine the overall continuity and structure of the music.

This music is not improvisational, but collaborative. Strict constraints are built into the structure of the music, while at the same time the player is invited to explore the broadest possible freedom based on his or her conceptual instincts, expressive vocabulary, and level of technical experience.


Jean Philippe Rameau – Allemande from New Suites of Harpsichord Pieces

“My idea is that the Rameau should be played softly (pp - p) and slowly (Adagio) throughout, with a fair amount of rubato - sometimes slowing, other times moving ahead where the music calls for it. The Allemande is romantic music at heart. I chose it for this reason, and mean to present it to the audience as piano music composed ‘ahead of its time’, rather than music to be performed in the standard pre- Baroque manner.” – note from J.H. to Maria Rivera White.


Carl Ruggles – Mood

Carl Ruggles was a friend and contemporary of Charles Ives, something of a recluse, a painter, poet and an inveterate New Englander. Ruggles composed a comparatively small amount of music, and precious little chamber music. He was a violinist, and yet Mood is his only piece for violin and piano. Originally, the piece was sketched for voice and piano, with the poetic text by the composer titled ‘Prelude to an Imaginary Tragedy’. Later he abandoned the song, composed the piano and violin version and then left it largely unedited and nearly undecipherable. Yale musicologist John Kirkpatrick, famous for his work in editing the complete music of Charles Ives, painstakingly reconstructed the manuscript in the early nineteen-seventies. The piece remains in manuscript form; it has rarely been performed or recorded, and it is possible that this is the first Boston performance.

The large photographs by artist Stephanie Cardon, located at the back of the Pozen Center, were selected to accompany the Ruggles music on this evening’s program. Both the music and the photographs embody the spirit and tone of New England’s landscape and cultural history.


Lou Harrison – Grand Duo

While researching west coast composer Lou Harrison’s Grand Duo, I discovered to my delight that the work had been written for the innovative American conductor/pianist Dennis Davies, a childhood friend of mine. Dennis’s sister Elaine and tonight’s violinist Marla Rathbun also grew up together and remain friends.

Dennis Davies, who lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and Lou Harrison, who died in 2003, first collaborated at the Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, Ca. where Davies has been conducting summers for nearly twenty years. Here is a description of the Grand Duo in the form of a reminiscence by Lou Harrison:
 
In a fine Japanese restaurant in Philadelphia one day in 1988 I told Dennis Russell Davies that I was going to compose for him and his friend Romuald Tecco a polka. We had been talking for a while about my composing for the two of them a largish concert piece. The polka turned out to be the finale. In Portland Oregon I began a richly rhapsodic section that became Movement IV, and that consciously, though quite naturally, contains an Ivesian hymn-tune like section which is repeated. I say "consciously", because when the part appeared out of my material I thought "oh, this is very Ivesian" but saw no reason to abjure it, any more than I have abjured passages that remind of other composers. Since I was writing for Dennis, it occurred to me to include, as movement three, a developed version of a "round" that I had composed in his home in Stuttgart for his two daughters to play on violins. Then I thought to ask Romuald whether he had a tune or melody that he liked that I could also weave into this composition for two good friends. He suggested the barcarolle from Tales from Hoffman. This will be found, just the beginning of it, in the opening bass of the first movement. In two movements the pianist needs to play with a padded bar which exactly depresses all the keys of an octave. It makes for brilliance and gives two tone-colors; both the white-key set, and the black-key set, thus enriching the texture. Naturally Dennis immediately christened the bar a "piano-banger". The original artists have recorded the work, many others have played it, and I am happy that the choreographer Mark Morris has created a massively powerful ballet for it.