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MORPHIC RESONANCE

 

STEVE ROUSE

 

OVERVIEW

 

Composer Steve Rouse constructs unique and indelible sound worlds on his album MORPHIC RESONANCE, his first release with PARMA Recordings. The album is a revue of Rouse’s chamber music from the last two decades and beyond, and the works featured on MORPHIC RESONANCE demonstrate Rouse’s powerful gifts to create compelling and idiosyncratic musical statements.

 

This quality is most prominent in the work Ten Little Things, a set of short movements for clarinet and percussion. More appropriately, Rouse uses the work to pair solo clarinet with different pitched and unpitched percussion instruments, and he succeeds brilliantly in blending the clarinet’s sound with unlikely partners, such as the tambourine and snare drum, among others. Ten Little Things is endlessly impressive, as each movement sounds like a new world, thanks to Rouse’s willingness to explore the full color palette of the clarinet, namely through microtones, and his disciplined construction of melodic and rhythmic material. Across MORPHIC RESONANCE, Rouse displays the highest level of compositional ability, particularly in the unexpected ways he bases seemingly complex passages on repeated melodic and rhythmic ideas. This technique is critical to the success of Ten Little Things as it further links the clarinet and percussion in the common purpose of the movement, underscoring their total partnership in the music.

 

In Form Fades, for flute, clarinet, cello, violin, piano, and percussion, Rouse demonstrates a winning approach to ensemble writing. Scored for a notably disparate group of instruments, Rouse unites them, at first with a shared melody, throughout with brilliant orchestration. Rouse’s treatment of the ensemble not only connects its components, but also energizes and brings unexpected earthiness to the whole ensemble, which, in the history of twentieth and twenty-first century music, is most commonly associated with intricate, delicate, and erudite compositions.

 

A hidden gem on MORPHIC RESONANCE is Nevolution, Rouse’s duo for corno da caccia – a historical brass instrument dating back to the Baroque period – and piano. Once again, Rouse succeeds in transcending the difficulties of unusual instrumentation and creates an entirely unique, entirely personal, and entirely compelling composition. Most stunning is Nevolution’s middle movement, which is slow and lyrical, showing  the tenderness that is also part of Rouse’s musical language.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

This album is replete with unusual combinations of instruments, particularly in Ten Little Things and Nevolution. Consider how Rouse is able to exploit these pairings and ‘normalize’ them, as it were, into his regular musical language

 

Although Rouse’s music tends towards intricate and complex ideas, he often employs repetition to make his works more straightforward. Listen for this and consider how this disciplined approach helps to make his music more compelling

 

Credits

 

Sonata for Violin and Piano (1-4)

Recorded May 28, 2016 at Comstock Hall, University of Louisville School of Music in Louisville KY

Engineer Adam Copelin, TNT Music

Session Producer and Editor Steve Rouse

 

Form Fades (5-9)

Recorded February 9, 2015 at Auer Hall, Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington IN

Recording engineers Jonathan Bruns, Veronica Simonetti

Editors Jonathan Bruns, Konrad Strauss

Executive Editor Steve Rouse

Session Producers Konrad Strauss, Steve Rouse

 

Nevolution (10-12)

Recorded June 4, 2012 at Falk Recording Studio in Louisville KY

Engineer Tim Haertel

Session Producer and Editor Steve Rouse

 

Ten Little Things (13-22)

Recorded May 19-20, 2015 at Comstock Hall, University of Louisville School of Music in Louisville KY

Engineer Tim Haertel

Session Producer and Editor Steve Rouse

 

King Tango (23)

Recorded May 21, 2015 at Falk Recording Studio in Louisville KY

Engineer Tim Haertel

Session Producer and Editor Steve Rouse

 

Photography Amy Shepherd

 

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff leRoy

Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette

Mastering Shaun Michaud, Joe Dobrowolski

Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell

Design Emily Roulo

 

Release Date: September 8, 2017

Catalog #: RR7973

 

 

TRACK LISTING

 

Sonata for Violin and Piano

Ben Sung violin    Jihye Chang-Sung piano

 

01 I. ♩ = 186 aggressive

02 II. ♩ = 54 The Bell, steady but supple and expressive

03 III. . = 56, ♩. = 112, ♩ = 168 crisp, tight, dancing

04 IV. ♩ = 168 aggressive, intense

 

Form Fades

David Dzubay conductor & director

Indiana University New Music Ensemble: Elspeth Hayden flute & piccolo 

Nick Morandi clarinet & bass clarinet  Nidhal Jebali violin    Will Rowe cello 

James Cromer percussion    Andreas Apostolou piano

 

05 I. Ritual Fills

06 II. Pulse Frees

07 III. Memory Feels

08 IV. Petal Floats

09 V. Hammer Falls

 

Nevolution

Michael Tunnell corno da caccia    Meme Tunnell piano

 

10 I. Echo Migration

11 II. Star Quiet

12 III. Morphic Resonance

 

Ten Little Things

Matthew Nelson clarinet    Greg Byrne percussion

 

13 I. The Sight

14 II. The Nature

15 III. The Charm

16 IV. The Wall

17 V. The Wheel

18 VI. The Sense

19 VII. The Heaven

20 VIII. The Ball

21 IX. The Cloud

22 X. The Fantasy

 

23 King Tango

Evelyn Loehrlein flute    Sidney King double bass

 

 

ALSO ON RAVELLO RECORDS

 

CHIAROSCURO (RR7881)

Richard Lavenda

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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

 

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