Friday, August 10, 2012

Composer Scott Wollschleger; some notes about Respighi

I learned of another young American composer, Scott Wollschleger, 32, and explored a few of his piano pieces at his main site (music link), (website url) here

His music link offers scores and mp3 files for a lot of his piano pieces.  Some are published through Project Schott.  At least one was handwritten.

I tried the MP3 files of three compositions.  The largest was the four movement suite “In Search of Lost Color”, each piece about 3 minutes, with a fast-slow-fast-slow pattern.  I also tried “Secret Machines No. 6” and “Blue Inscription”, for which he provides some notes.  The writing seems impressionistic, and a bit episodic, rather than developmental, with sounds accumulating and then dissipating, like rain showers.
I also wanted to make a comment about Ottorino Respighi and his “Roman Trilogy”, particularly the notorious piece “Roman Festivals” (or “Feste Tomane”).  Composer Timo Andres made some interesting observations about it recently here
Back round 1962, I used to visit the home and enormous stereo and open reel tape collection of Chip Hailey (who passed away suddenly in late 2011) in Falls Church VA, in the days when a Girard Changer was almost state of the art.  He had an Everest recording (performed by Goosens and the London Symphony) of the Festivals, which took a whole two sides, but this was a show piece, in the days when Everest and Command promoted their “35 mm direct tape to record” vinyl recordings.  The “Roman Festivals” was one of Chip’s favorite pieces, maybe because it was one of the loudest.  My current CD of the Trilogy is Mariner on Phillips.

That’s far from all.  In our Wednesday afternoon classes when I took piano lessons in the 50s, “The Fountains of Rome” ( a tamer piece) was one of the ear training samples.

And, during my senior year of high school, a friend in the Science Honor Society promoted the ascetic virtues of Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances for the Lute”, particularly during that wonderful Memorial Day weekend sojourn to Mt. Washington. 

And, oh yes, Eduard Tubin did compose a concerto for balalaika (available on BIS). 

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