Category: The Ravens


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

The Ravens: The Keeper in Summer

06: 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 the composer’s daughter, and is recorded by the Mony/Wilcox Duo on Dana Recording Project/Nemus Records CD 2001.

The Ravens, second in the set, is a theme and five variations on the sad and courtly love song, The Three Ravens, composed in the early 1600’s by Thomas Ravenscroft.

The Keeper in Summer employs two early English pieces, the folk song The Keeper and Sumer is Icumen In, a Thirteenth Century English Round. The setting consists of the following quodlibet form:
Keeper theme + var. 1; Sumer theme + var. 1; Keeper variations 2 & 3; Sumer variations 2 & 3; 2 bar interjected Schumann paraphrase; Keeper and Sumer in simultaneous counterpoint; 2 bar interjected Schumann paraphrase; Keeper and Sumer in simultaneous inverted counterpoint.

05: 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 in the beautiful Degollado Theater in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Suite Concertant was premiered in Youngstown, Ohio by Gwyneth Rollin with the composer at the piano. It is in three contrasting movements, each with its own solo violin cadenza. The first movement, Blues, incorporates original themes with two old American folk songs, Every Night When the Sun Goes Down and Careless Love. The second, Barcarolle, a Venetian boat song, employs original themes and an old Sicilian lullaby with counterpoints and harmonization by Rollin. It has the unusual feature of ending with a solo violin cadenza fading into silence. The third movement, Rhapsody, beginning with original themes, leads into paraphrases of two Russian/Jewish folk songs (Margaritkes and Die Mezinke Oysgegeben), one very sad and wistful about a young maiden deserted by her lover, and the other, a rousing dance by a proud father as he gives away his daughter in marriage and celebrates with abandon in a large catered party. There follows a cyclical return to original opening material of the first movement interspersed with fragments of the two folk songs. A virtuoso solo violin cadenza ensues, followed by an exciting closing tutti suddenly cut off by six powerful syncopated chords for full orchestra.

04: 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 is followed by a haunting ancient Ladmo melody (Cuando El Rey Nimrod) presented with the composer’s harmonization. The second employs original themes. The third hints at a corrido theme from the Texas-Mexico border region, but never quotes it directly. The pieces close with a delicately transformed Phrygian cadence associated with Spanish music.

Roman Castillo

03: 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 throughout Mexico. The modern Mexican Corrido may take the form of a singer/guitarist wandering from table to table in a quiet, walled, outdoor restaurant, or a lively mariachi ensemble filling a town square with its exuberant sounds. Rollin encountered the melody during his several composer residencies in Guadalajara, Mexico. The strophic setting joins the traditional melody with attractive invertible counterpoints.

Klezmer Dance

02: KLEZMER DANCE

(Walter Mony, violin / Tomoko Long, piano) • Klezmer Dance is a lively theme and variations on the Russian/Jewish Chassidic folk song, Hulyet, Hulyet Kinderlach! (Play Children, Play!). In the song an old woman is watching a group of young children at play and exhorts them to enjoy themselves while they can because the time “from spring to winter passes by as quickly as the jump of a cat.” Invertible counterpoint, asymmetrical phrase extensions, and some interesting modulations are present.

01: AMERICAN VARIATIONS

(Walter Mony, violin / Michal George, guitar) • The genesis of American Variations resulted from a charitable project in Youngstown, Ohio. A local radio station contacted Rollin with an urgent request for a popular song to be used for the noble purpose of raising relief funds for devastated Ohio and Pennsylvania tornado victims. Rollin composed the tune in a few hours; and with the help of a local recording studio and professional musician volunteers, the song was quickly recorded and sang by a chorus of 38 local radio and television personalities. The resulting public service spot was aired many times and raised over $15,000 for community assistance.

The tune became source material for a theme and variations for harpsichord played on tour by American virtuoso Elaine Comparone under the title, Variations and Interludes on an Original American Theme, and was later transcribed in the present form at the request of Rollin’s publisher for extensive Canadian and American tour performances by the Gwyneth Rollin/Lynn Harting-Ware Violin and Guitar Duo.

Instead of the usual location, the theme, subtitled Rock, is placed as the third movement of a five-movement work. The first and last movements, true variations, are subtitled Blues and Bebop respectively. The contrasting second and fourth movements are lyrical sound studies with intermittent references to two Zuni Indian melodies connected with the Corn Harvest Ceremony. Rollin encountered Zuni music during a visit to Native American areas near the border between Arizona and New Mexico.

The hybrid mixture of variation and alternating form is a recurring feature in Rollin’s works. The Native American melodies were used with reverence and respect in line with the concepts of relief and renewal, which generated the original theme.

Tomoko Long

TOMOKO LONG was born in Hiroshima, Japan and matriculated from the Tokyo Conservatory. She holds a Masters Degree in piano from the Dana School of Music under Dr. Caroline Oltmanns. Ms. Long is active as a soloist and accompanist, and has taught at Youngstown State University.

Michal George

MICHAL GEORGE was born in Cape Town, South Africa and began his classical guitar studies with Ganiefa van der Schyff at the University of Cape Town. He holds degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has won numerous prizes, most notably the 1994 First Prize of the National Classical Guitar Competition of South Africa, the Rosilia Alban Prize in Guitar, and the Alumni Association Valedictorian Award — the latter two at the Cleveland Institute. He is active as a soloist, chamber and concerto performer, and teaches in the Preparatory Division of the Cleveland Institute.

John Wilcox

JOHN WILCOX, a Louisiana native, trained at Florida State University under Richard Bergen, and is currently Associate Professor of Violin studies and Director of the Dana Chamber Orchestra at Youngstown State University. He is a past member of the first violin section of the National Symphony in Washington D.C., Concertmaster of the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, and former Concertmaster of the Youngstown Symphony. He has also served as Primarius of the Youngstown Symphony String Quartet.