Passage Through a Dream
Passage Through a Dream
Passage Through a Dream offers five premiere recordings of new music by composer Phillip Schroeder—remarkably beautiful and vibrant tracks that feature lyric melodies and lush, intricate textures.
Passage Through a Dream expands and develops musical ideas found in Schroeder’s critically acclaimed 2006 CD Move in the Changing Light (Innova 655), about which Ron Schepper wrote in textura, “Schroeder generates dense masses of sparkling trills and cascades….The sound that results verges on the paradisaical … Schroeder’s glistening pieces are full of elegant nuances,” and Frank J. Oteri wrote in the American Music Center’s NewMusicBox, “You’ll keep hitting repeat on your CD player.”
Passage’s performers include Schroeder on piano and electric bass, soprano Erin Bridgeman, the multi-talented Rick Dimond on accordion and vibraphone, clarinetist/composer Michael Henson, harpist Jane Grothe, flutist Jennifer Amox, and new music clarinetist Marty Walker.
Born in 1956 in Rancho Cordova, California, Phillip Schroeder’s musical life began early and paralleled the diversity of his surroundings—living in twelve states—playing trumpet in concert bands and electric bass in rock and jazz bands, singing in choirs, conducting orchestral and chamber groups, improvising with a variety of ensembles, and concertizing as a pianist. His music for soloists, chamber ensembles, live electronics, orchestra, and choir, has been described by critics as “wonderfully evocative,” “ethereal,” and “rich in subtle detail.”
Top 20 of 2011, #16: "[E]uphonious music of crystalline beauty … [Michael] Henson's extended clarinet notes stretch languorously across shimmering piano clusters, which Schroeder builds up using multi-tracking and digital delay. The effect is like that of cumulus clouds drifting across the sky, their movements so slow as to be almost imperceptible … Processing the instruments' sounds using delay results in lush fields of sound, and the resultant music assumes a dream-like, slightly out-of-focus character when the echo of its elements continues to resonate after they're played." [FULL ARTICLE]
"Life—and nearly everything else—seems to be getting more torturously annoying every day. So, there must be legal and nondestructive ways to relieve the angst n’ nausea, and I’ve one here: Passage Through a Dream by mod-classical composer Phillip Schroeder (b. 1956), one of the newer generation of composers brazenly embracing beauty. While Passage has affinities with the minimalism of Glass and Riley, it’s subtler, closer to the post-minimalists Harold Budd and John Adams. This is mostly about low-volume sustained, stretched tones and motifs performed by an ensemble of wind instruments, accordion, harp, keys, and female voice. The overall effect is like watching the sun rise and evocative of nature documentaries where flower petals do a slow motion embrace of a new day. This set is calm(ing) without being sappy, meditative without being morose …it’s SO recommended." (5 of 5 stars)
"[M]elodic, emotional and often contemplative … Passage Through a Dream (Innova, rated A), opens with the upbeat title work … It is introspective with repeated chords, minimal and melodic. Michael Henson’s clarinet releases elongated passages that drift effortlessly as layers of Schroeder’s piano shimmer and cascade. The mood shifts to the melancholy with 'A Necessary Autumn,' a quality that seems to echo in the sense of loss or sadness that imbues the playing of clarinetist Marty Walker. One senses this works seeks to capture the reality and, perhaps, regret that come with recognition of growing older and life’s inevitable conclusion. Whether personal or observational, the piece has an undeniable impact. 'Sky Blue Dreams' has a gauzy, almost otherworldly--perhaps folkloric--aura about it. Soprano Erin Bridgeman sings with a pristine purity, her voice a comforting balm that floats in, above and through this lush music. The sweet melody benefits from a most harmonic ensemble … This particularly mystical-sounding piece is stunning and, like the rest of this excellent album, played with beauty and heart."
UNI (Czech Republic)
"Pětice kompozic Phillipa Schroedera na CD Passage Through A Dream pochází z let 2007 až 2010 (závěrečná Sky Blue Dreams sice vznikla už v roce 1985, prošla však dvěma revizemi) a je do určité míry opakem i obdobou opusu Gaberova. Opakem: všechny kompozice jsou tu v souladu s názvem snové a snivé, až zasněné, prochvívá je jakási melancholická konejšivost, truchlivá hloubavost. Obdobou: celé album si podržuje značnou jednotu stylovou, zvukovou, náladovou a z této roviny nevybočuje. Přitom ovšem je dvojdomé. Kaskádovitý, zvonivý ústřední klavír, u něhož sedí sám skladatel (původně rocker a jazzman), je hravý, ale k jeho znění se přidávají další ingredience, táhlejší, povlovnější, vážnější, vzlínavější, a tento protiklad slyšíme většinou souběžně, ať jde o klarinet Michaela Hensona či Martyho Walkera a přídavné nástroje, jako je eufonium Jamieho Liptona či akordeon a vibrafon Ricka Dimonda. Závěr pojednou zmohutní, k dosavadnímu minimálnímu obsazení přibývá ﬂ étna Jennifer Amox a harfa Jane Grothe, Henson si přibírá basový klarinet a čistý a svěží vokál byl svěřen sopranistce Erin Bridgeman. Toto vyznění působí až dojmem chrámové exhibice a nevadí ani ohlas Glasse, který tu můžeme zaznamenat. Přitom je pozoruhodné, že celé toto nikoli nestřídmé, spíše uvážlivé a nevzrušené album působí značně osvobodivě, ba vzrušivě. Paradox? Proč? Jsou přece nehalasní umělci, kteří ve svém díle mají větší náboj nežli křiklouni."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
"Phillip Schroeder’s identifying characteristic in his release is digital delay … creating kaleidoscopic soundscapes that mesh the past and present … with lovely melodies submitted to varying lengths of delay."
"[Passage Through A Dream] is well worth listening to several times to absorb the layers and nuances of the various instruments and voices as well as the ethereal quality produced with the extensive use of digital delays … [The album] sustain[s] a dreamy, floating feeling from beginning to end … highly recommended to more adventurous listeners who enjoy experimental music with substance and style." [FULL ARTICLE]
"Phillip Schroeder’s release could be of interest to people loving the sparseness of some post-minimalist albums. This album remains within the contemporary/new music field, sounds a bit improvised in its nature, mood provoking with slowly evolving melodies led by clarinet mostly. On the first track the piano, with minimalist flavour, hangs around the area the whole time like circles of water. On the second tracks it more appears as afterthoughts, colouring the scene, describing it with it. By the fourth track accordion describes the chords and keyboards with electric piano this time, still with the clarinet leading the themes. The last track enhances the mood with additional harp and flute passages to the melodically descriptive piano with a lead soprano voice singing a contemporary song with similar slow evolution to the previous clarinet’s evolution on the previous tracks."
MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL
"I like to listen to this disc before I go to sleep. Not to get drowsy – the opposite, I never fall asleep listening to it. In this state of balancing between reality and dream, with eyes closed, this music brings forth colorful visions and stirs strange memories…This is really beautiful music… I feel profound musicality here, which can affect the listener’s mood, and operates at a deeper level than that of melody or even harmony… I wouldn’t mind passing through this dream over and over again." [FULL ARTICLE]