Category: 2008 CD Legends, Ceremonials, and Prayer


compact disc cover for Legends, Ceremonials, and Prayer

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

About the Performers:

Track listing

  1. Canto in Memoriam for solo violin • This work was composed for Gwyneth Rollin, the composer’s wife. It is in four continuous sections and was written in reaction to the World Trade Center tragedy of 9/11/01… more
  2. Legends Trio for flute, viola, and harp • Rollin visited the Allegheny Reserve and its Seneca Indian Museum on a trip to Western New York State. A young Seneca woman, a musician working in the museum store, helped him choose recordings and books on tribal legends. The Legends trio, largely, is Rollin’s own style… more
  3. Hebraic PrayerHebraic Prayer for violin and piano was inspired by the Canto in Memoriam for violin solo, a piece dedicated to the heroic firemen lost… more
  4. Passover Songs for violin and pianoPassover Songs was composed at the request of Father Joseph Rudjak of Ss. Peter and Paul Church in North Canton, Ohio. Created for a fundraiser undertaken jointly with the North Canton Jewish community to help defray hospital costs for a young girl with… more
  5. Sonata on Zuni Ceremonials and Dances for solo violin • This sonata has structural kinship to the slow-fast-slow-fast order present in some Baroque church sonatas. Two Zuni Corn Dance melodies, originally… more

  6. The Three Ravens for solo guitarThe Three Ravens is an ancient English folksong. It was included in English Renaissance composer Thomas Ravenscroft’s Melismata, published in 1611. The dark, sad text speaks of three black ravens observing a “slain knight under his shield… in a green field,” who is lifted by a fallow doe on to her back and carried to a lake and buried there… more
  7. Celtic Duo for violin and viola • This piece was composed for John Wilcox and Walter Mony and is based on two sad Celtic love songs about unrequited love. The first, “Somebody” is sung from the … more

  8. Yo Quisiera Quererte (If You Were only mine) for violin and piano • This haunting Chilean song about unrequited love is a Tonada, a melody and refrain combination derived from old Spanish jongleur ballads of the Castilian court of Alfonso the Tenth. It shares with the Chilean dance, the Zamacueca, a medium tempo, a four bar repeated verse, and four bar repeated refrain. The juxtaposed six-eight melodic pattern… more
  9. Images of Africa for violin and pianoImages of Africa is an original work referring obliquely and interrmittently to an old Zulu melody without ever really quoting it. A stately original theme… more

  10. Lyric CapricesLyric Caprices for string bass and electronic tape… more

Producer: Dr. Robert Rollin
Audio Engineer: Dr. Robert Brooks
Premastering Engineer: Johnterryl Plumeri
Mastering Engineer: Arnie Acosta
Cover Art: Susan Dunn
Mastered at the Mastering Lab — Ojal, California
Nemus Records, 330-941-3645.

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10: Lyric Caprices

Lyric Caprices for string bass and electronic tape was inspired by three locales in western Pennsylvania. The imagery of these places triggered musical correspondences and ideas in the composers mind:

  1. “Falling Water” — In designing this house in the mountain forests of Western Pennsylvania, Frank Lloyd Wright set his structure atop a waterfall and integrated his design with the locale’s natural beauty.
  2. Mt. Davis” — Mt. Davis’ summit, the highest point in Pennsylvania, overlooks serene mountain forests.
  3. “Laurel Hollow” — Adjoining the entrance to Laurel Caverns and sloping downwards from the top of Summit Mountain, the hollow teems with wildlife in its stagnant pools and dense thickets.

09: Images of Africa for violin and piano

Images of Africa is an original work referring obliquely and intermittently to an old Zulu melody without ever really quoting it. A stately original theme is followed by a lighter, more dance-like one with repeating rhythmic patterns. An even greater contrast occurs when fragments of the aforementioned Zulu theme are presented at several different speeds simultaneously, a technique drawn from traditional African music. The entire process is repeated in compressed and truncated form to increase tension. A final release occurs in the short, slower and more sonorous codetta.

08: Yo Quisiera Quererte (if You Were Only Mine) for violin and piano

This haunting Chilean song about unrequited love is a Tonada, a melody and refrain combination derived from the old Spanish jongleur ballads of the Castilian court of Alfonso the Tenth. It shares with the Chilean dance, the Zamacueca, a medium tempo, a four-bar introduction, a four-bar repeated verse, and four-bar repeated refrain. The juxtaposed six-eight melodic pattern and three-four accompaniment give the music a special lilting quality. A long introduction containing the three-four figures leads to the tune, appearing in several different tonal centers. The introductory material returns in a varied postlude.

07: Celtic Duo for violin and viola

This piece was composed for John Wilcox and Walter Mony, and is based on two sad Celtic love songs about unrequited love. The first, “Somebody,” is sung from the soulful viewpoint of a woman deserted by her lover, It begins with an original moving and syncopated obligato that soon supports the slower-moving melody. The melody and the obligato are inverted. The second song, “Caitlin Triall” (Caitlin of the Tresses), is sung by a man who has seen his lover with another, and who threatens to leave, never to return. The constant obligato accompaniment moves in continuous rapid eighths against a slower tune with a periodic Scottish snap. The rhythmic grouping constantly changes between six-eight and three-four to create an unusually rapid but halting motion. Again melody and obligato are inverted.

06: The Three Ravens for solo guitar

The Three Ravens is an ancient English folksong. It was included in English Renaissance composer Thomas Ravenscroft’s Melismata, published 1611. The dark, sad text speaks of three black ravens observing a “slain knight under his shield … in a green field,” who is lifted by a fallow doe on to her back and carried to a lake and buried there. The doe is a courtly reference to his lady, and the text ends with “God send every gentleman such leman.” Leman is an archaic word for sweetheart or lover. The current piece is a transcription of the composer’s version for violin and viola (on Dana Recording Project Nemus Records CD 2002). It is a set of variations with extensive original invertible counterpoint.

05: Sonata on Zuni Ceremonials and Dances for solo violin

This Sonata has structural kinship to the slow-fast-slow-fast order present in some Baroque church sonatas. Two Zuni Corn Dance melodies, originally transcribed by ethnomusicologist Natalie Curbs in her pioneering work The Indians’ Book, published in the early 1900s, are paraphrased in the fast movements (2 and 4). Rollin visited the Zuni Pueblo during one of his many trips to New Mexico. The Corn Ceremony and Dances are important features of the Zuni celebratory year, and function as prayers of thanksgiving. The phrases are quite long, especially in the original contrasting material of the slow movements. The fast movements have complex mixtures of two and three eighth-note patterns to create an asymmetry inspired by both Native American and Eastern European folk music.

04: Passover Songs for violin and piano

Passover Songs was composed at the request of Father Joseph Rudjak of Ss. Peter and Paul Church in North Canton, Ohio. Created for a fundraiser undertaken jointly with the North Canton Jewish Community to help defray hospital costs for a young girl with a life-threatening illness, it received premieres in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in North Canton. Two traditional Jewish folk songs, both used to describe the sections of the Passover seder, are alternated with original material also employed as counterpoint with the slower first song. The second song is fast and lively, and reflects the joy of the Passover holiday. The piece is dedicated to Father Joseph Rudjak.

03: Hebraic Prayer

Hebraic Prayer for violin and piano was inspired by the Canto in Memoriam for violin solo, a piece dedicated to the heroic firemen lost in the World Trade Center tragedy. It is introduced with original material for solo violin similar to the Canto’s opening section. The rest is a setting of the Hebrew folk song “Shalom Aleychem,” used in the weekly Jewish Saturday morning-prayer service and known the world over. The song is a prayer for peace in the world. The highly-polyphonic
setting employs original invertible counterpoints.

02: Legends Trio for flute, viola, and harp

Rollin visited the Allegheny Reserve and its Seneca Indian Museum on a trip to Western New York State. A young Seneca woman, a musician working in the museum store, helped him choose recordings and books on tribal legends. The Legends Trio, largely, is in Rollin’s own style. There is a short reference to a Seneca Round Dance in the “Intrada.” The second and fourth movement titles amount to a friendly nod to the composer Robert Schumann. The interesting folklore helped generate formal plans and moods of the five movements:

  1. Intrada — “He Who Sets Forests on High Hills and He Who Gnarls the Trees” — based upon the Seneca creation myth of two original conflicting deities
  2. Arabesque — “Spirit of the Wind” a wind spirit appearing to tribal founders
  3. Grave — “The Peace Tree” The Iroquois Tribal Confederation is symbolized by The Peace Tree. The registral motion reflects this visual symbol. Benjamin Franklin visited the Iroquois to study their Confederation which, in turn, influenced the framers of the United States Constitution.
  4. Fantasia-Scherzo — “The Little People Who Move Underground” — depicts a legendary race of small but benevolent pranksters.
  5. Processional and Presto — “Masks that Cure the Sick and Wind Spirit Magic” — Part One symbolizes the annual masked “False Face Ceremony,” in which both spiritual and physical cleansing takes place. Part Two returns to the second movements rapid and intense wind spirit, symbolizing the turbulence of earthly experience.