Archive for October, 2011


The Ravens (2002) CD

compact disc cover for The Ravens by Robert Rollin

This recording is part of the Dana Recording Project and is sponsored by the New Music Society with additional support from the Dana School of Music, The Youngstown State University College of Fine and Performing Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. Proceeds benefit the New Music Society Guest Artist and Young Composers Scholarship Funds. All music licensed by ASCAP

Track Listing / Program Notes by Walter Mony

  1. American Variations for violin and Guitar (Walter Mony, violin / Michal George, guitar) • The genesis of American Variations resulted from a charitable project in Youngstown, Ohio. A local radio station with an urgent request… more
  2. Klezmer Dance (Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • Klezmer Dance is a lively theme and variations on the Russian/Jewish Chassidic folk song, Hulyet, Hulet Kinderlach! (Play Children, Play!)… more
  3. Roman Castillo (Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • Roman Castillo is a corrido, a ballad which originally came from the Spanish Romance poetic form; it is a much beloved lyric througout Mexico… more
  4. Three Spanish Sound Images (Michal George, guitar) • The Three Spanish Sound Images for solo guitar were derived from the three cadenzas of Rollin’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. In the first, original material… more
  5. Suite Concertant (Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • The Suite Concertant is a transcription by the composer of his Violin Concerto, which was premiered by Gwyneth Rollin and the State of Jalisco Philharmonic under its conductor Jose Guadaloupe Flores… more
  6. The Ravens: The Keeper in Summer (John Wilcox, violin / Walter Mony, viola) • These two pieces are part of a set of three violin/viola duos commissioned by Walter Mony. Greensleeves Variations, the first piece of the set was written for Susan Rollin… more
Advertisements
compact disc cover for The Wandering Bird by Robert Rollin

About the Performers:

This recording is part of the Dana Recording Project and is sponsored by the New Music Society with additional support from the Dana School of Music, The Youngstown State University College of Fine and Performing Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. Proceeds benefit the New Music Society Guest Artist and Young Composers Scholarship Funds. All music licensed by ASCAP

Track Listing / Program Notes by Walter Mony

Movement in Rupak Tal (Walter Mony, Calvin Lewis, violins) • The source of inspiration for this piece was the seminars led by the great Ravi Shankar in which Robert Rollin was a participant. The term Rupak Tal in North Indian Music refers to… more

Lyric Counterpoint on a Theme by Warshawsky (Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • This thematic paraphrase is based on Eyfin Pripitchok by Mark Warshawsky (1845-1907), born in Kiev, lawyer by profession but with a consuming vocational passion for folk singing… more

Two Ladino Songs (Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • The Ladino Spanish Jews were sustained by a remarkable heritage of folk songs during their dispersal across Europe and North and South America after their exile from Spain… more

The Wandering Bird (Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • This setting of the Puerto Rican folk song, El Pájaro Errante, has an inherent, narrative feel throughout its basic structure of 29 bars and ranges through the high… more

Variations and Interludes on an Old Polish Carol (Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • The thematic core of this piece is the renowned Polish carol Lulajze Jezuniu (Sleep Little Jesus), a gentle pulsating lullaby. The 17-measure tune… more

Variations (Walter Mony, viola) • This work is cast in the venerable form of a passacaglia. The realization of the compositional processes in the variations pose prodigious technical problems for the viola: complex fingerings, multiple stoppings… more

Greensleeves Variations (John Wilcox, violin / Walter Mony, viola) • Rollin transforms this perennial favorite into a Kaleidoscopic salmagundi of contrapuntal effects, witticisms, innovative technical gestures, and quasi-baroque phrases… more

Trio on a Poem of D.H. Lawrence (Joseph Edwards, clarinet / Walter Mony, viola / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • Each movement of this opus relates to the corresponding stanza of the Lawrence poem. The viola haunts the first movement, hinting at a remote song… more

08: TRIO ON A POEM OF D.H. LAWRENCE

(Joseph Edwards, clarinet / Walter Mony, viola / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • Each movement of this opus relates to the corresponding stanza of the Lawrence poem. The viola haunts the first movement, hinting at a remote song by William Byrd (1543-1623) in which a mother sings to her child, “my sweet darling, my comfort and joy.”



Softly in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;

Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see

A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, pointed feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

The mellifluous voice of the clarinet dominates the mysterious second movement, in which the composer draws upon thematic material from his Concerto for Woodwind Quintet and Orchestra.



In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.

In the third movement the piano becomes prominent by its dramatic rumbling gestures, reminiscent of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.



So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor

With the great black piano appassionato. The glamor
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

As the work draws to a close the ensemble texture is characterized by complex interplay and overlapping phrases, posing a supreme test of ensemble skills.

07: GREENSLEEVES VARIATIONS

(John Wilcox, violin / Walter Mony, viola) • Rollin transforms this perennial favorite into a kaleidoscopic salmagundi of contrapuntal effects, witticisms, innovative technical gestures and quasi baroque phrases, which are transmutated into rare elements by chromaticisms and weird and wonderful harmonies. The time weaves in and out between the two instruments and provides a stimulating challenge of identification for the listener amidst the camouflage.

06: VARIATIONS

(Walter Mony, violin) • This work is cast in the venerable form of a passacaglia. The realization of the compositional processes in the variations pose prodigious technical problems for the viola: complex fingerings, multiple stoppings, athletic stretches, ventures into high registers, and convoluted string crossings. The harmonic context is Rollin’s unique blend of extended tonality and coruscating chromaticism. A 29-measure theme sets a scene of solemnity and sense of immanence. The variations which follow project a variety of moods – graceful legato, military echoes, playful frolics in 7/8, volatile leaps into the stratosphere or “mosquito” register of the viola, a coquettish caprice in 5/8, theatrical affectation, and back to graceful lyricism. The final 4 measures close the proceedings with haunting harmonies leaving the fragrance of numinousness.

05: VARIATIONS AND INTERLUDES ON AN OLD POLISH CAROL

(Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • The thematic core of this piece is the renowned Polish carol Lulajze Jezuniu (Sleep Little Jesus), a gentle pulsating lullaby. The 17-measure tune makes three appearances. The two instruments share and switch the variety of the roles of contrasting registers, interweaving commentary, delicate plucked accompaniment, or the distant subdued reminiscence of the lullaby. The three interludes which follow are based on monophonic folk material from the mountain region of Silesia in Southern Poland. These range through a multiplicity of meters — at once gracious and florid — and then close in an ebullient joyous dance.

04: THE WANDERING BIRD

(Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • This setting of the Puerto Rican folk song, El Pájaro Errante, has an inherent narrative feel throughout its basic structure of 29 bars and ranges through high, middle and low registers. However, the haunting lamentation of the melody is heightened by the accompaniment of original invertible counterpoint, which elevates its innocent simplicity to rarefied spiritual levels.

03: TWO LADINO SONGS

(Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • The Ladino Spanish Jews were sustained by a remarkable heritage of folk songs daring their dispersal across Europe and North and South America after their exile from Spain in 1492. The first song is Cuando El Rey Nimrod (When King Nimrod went out to the field, he looked at the sky and the stars. He saw a holy star over the Jewish quarter). A rhetorical 3 bar introduction sets the piece in motion. As the violin intones the eloquent melody with its distinctive Eastern augmented intervals enriched by double stops, the piano weaves a syncopated bass line with hints of Spanish rhythms. The music then shifts to a higher key; the bass line of the piano now carries the melody while the right hand plays the syncopated accompaniment in the high register and the violin weaves evanescent arabesque passages. The violin returns with an impassioned declaration of the latter portion of the tune. The second song which forms part of this piece, is the Los Bilbilicos (The nightingales are singing in the flowering tree. Those who sit under it are suffering from love.) The violin and piano take turns with the eloquent quasi parlando melody – and then suddenly we are back to the Cuando El Rey Nimrod; this time the violin provides an extensive pizzicato version of the syncopated bass line while the piano rambles on with the tune, now enriching it with complex chords and discreet dissonance. After an impassioned statement of the latter portion of the melody in a higher key and register, the violin closes the proceedings chanting a fervent cadenza-like declamation.

02: LYRIC COUNTERPOINT ON A THEME BY WARSHAWSKY

(Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • This thematic paraphrase is based on Eyfin Pripitchok, by Mark Warshawsky (1845-1907), born in Kiev, lawyer by profession but with a consuming vocational passion for folk singing. This song from one of his published collections at the turn of the century became so imbedded in the cultural psyche of the people, it achieved folk song status. Rollin has enhanced the traditional natural minor mode of the Ashkenazism with its flattened seventh degree of the scale by daring ventures into extreme registers, poignant harmonic sprinklings and cunning invertible counterpoint. This captures the sweet nostalgic childhood reminiscence of the glow of fireplace embers as the Rabbi inducts the children into the mysteries and magic of the alphabet.

01: MOVEMENT IN RUPAK TAL

(Walter Mony, Calvin Lewis, violins) • The source of inspiration for this piece was the seminars led by the great Ravi Shankar in which Robert Rollin was a participant. The term Rupak Tal in North Indian music refers to the temporal and rhythmic organization. Here it is based on the Indian rhythmic syllables, Tin Tin Na / Dhi Na / Dhi Na, which transliterates in Western notation to 1-2-3 / 4-5 / 6-7, and which translates in this work to 7 / 8 time. The various strands of thematic lines seem to pass through a magic lantern as they are buffeted about, fragmented, inverted, augmented or compressed, all in a rambunctious tempo with the limping gait of 7 / 8. Melodic strands and rhythmic complexities take precedence over harmonic content. As in Indian Classical music, hemiola-like patterns periodically cloud the sense of meter which is reasserted when the two players reconverge on the downbeat. The ensemble intricacies evoke a heady and visceral experience for players and listeners alike.