Music of the Next Moment
Cellist Craig Hultgren studied at the University of Iowa and indiana University. All of the compositions on this recording were written for him and, with the exception of the duos, were recorded in complete, unedited takes and also performs his own spontaneous, free-style improvisations. He presents programs of new music throughout the country and abroad. Of a concert at the ‘95 Spoleto Festival, the Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier said, “Hultgren has sure-fire technique and a keen sense of timing...a sort of avant-garde, one-man band.”
Recently, Hultgren has served as principal cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Panamá. The recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He is also a member of Thámyris, a contemporary chamber music ensemble in Atlanta. He has served as president of the Birmingham Art Association, that city’s oldest arts organization, and founded Birmingham Improv, a festival of improvisatory arts.
Charles Norman Mason is chairman of the Performing Arts Division at Birmingham-Southern College and editor of Living Music, an international journal for contemporary composers. The Artist and His Model plays with images perceived and interpreted between live and recorded sounds. The mirroring of identical material between the cello and tape becomes so intense that the two become blurred.
A native of Iowa, Matthew Burrier is a keyboardist, improviser, writer, and youthful iconoclast. The second in a trilogy of cello pieces, II is a through-composed fantasy of unchaperoned solo music. Aesthetically, it is more sensitive to instrumental timbral harmony than to pitched harmony.
Recorded live, Craig Hultgren’s two amplified improvisations are unscored, intuitive works featuring nontraditional and “wrong” playing. The Double Bow Improvisation starts with two bows exciting the same string, processed through an old spring-reverb unit. In The Chained Cello Improvisation a chain was wrapped around the strings, producing strongly distorted vibrations. The piece comments metaphorically on a colleague’s arrest while working as a volunteer at a concert.
Besides composing music and writing poetry, Matthew Marth also teaches and studies Russian. They’re Still Running to the West, Rex is an expression of fear and disgust. The work is a mural: part graffiti, part portrait of everyday America. Rex is an omniscient, third-person character who hears a plea–he too wishes people would think for themselves and stop waiting for someone to come and clean up their messes for them.
They’re still running to the west, Rex
every torrential fundamental funnel riding hi-ho on his street-cleaner feet
every cinched buttock bundle of noisy sweeper heels
is cascading over the coast all those hating lemmings
to their ocean of consensus home
in their frothing ivory cresting foam religious tome so
where are you, oh rex tremendae, with your long flowing
white billfold on a chain linked near and dear to your
hearty belt and hand to the hand of the confederate jack and
even the key chain to Elvis’ hearty heart?
Did you even see them running, Rex?
The big benevolent ballot is your name it is claimed
but I saw the itty bitty box, so itty bitty it could
be the brunt of jokes I know there were more mere folks
that could fit into that slot than were hosts or
even holy ghosts or even single ballots hallowed most
Where were you to make the toast?
I think you were home with your bacchanal grail
not calling off your occidentally destined dogs those
vicious little pups manifest knowing everything is best in the west
and doggy doo doo at best in the newspaper is the rest
all those stinking editorials from the less saying Dukes and other
overlings are festering westerlings
Oh God, you were off in a commune or motel
with a flower child while Lenin and Stalin fell
and now the dukes of hazard and cancer and sales
are thinking more than ever they should dehood your ever clever
glacier plan from east to west with brooms in hand and their
bulldozer boats with white sails upset like all those church spires
to come, believe me, go-ba, or should I say, Rex,
all the spires and sails will be your bed-ridden ails
all your John F. Kennedy dreams will lay with you at night on a bed of nails
So rescind all that outmoded oration that told them to snow
right to left on their nation and creation, call them away from their station
in life their steadfast rifle-full strife cast of fools mast and tell them
to pull the main sail down that trapped the wind to smother the ground
and tell them to make that itty bitty box bigger and fill it themselves
because it’s not true that you’re always around -- M. Marth
Lewis Nielson is chairman of music theory and composition at the University of Georgia ,where he directs the nationally recognized University of Georgia Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. He has earned numerous awards for his works, including honors from the NEA, the Delius Foundation, and the Groupe de Musique experimentale de Bourges in France. The demeanor of Valentine Mechanique is elusive. It contains humor with darkness, gaiety with sadness, and playfulness with violence, especially in the Habañera quotes from Bizet’s Carmen. The uneasy partnership of cello and percussion achieves some final resolution, based not on melody or motive but in the realm of pure sound.
Robert Paredes is a composer, clarinet/sax player, visual artist and writer. Small Writing is music-cum-theater about the act of composing, in which a cellist writes/speaks a letter to a friend in words, parts of words, and gestures in sound.
I hope that you may find me in these fragments, bits, and pieces....splinters, shards, and perturbations....remonstrations, admonitions, and delectations....buzzes....rasps....of sounding life....weighted to no going together, save through close-on speaking in a tangle of behaving things. Although I could tell you how I am in other ways, I prefer this one. No particulars here, only the scratch and curl of living movement. mark on and after living mark, taking an energy to the possibility of ear. Now’s the time for this, I think, as reflection unfolds too clear a place wherein no sound can live, and yet, I hope you may still find me....even there.
-- R. Paredes
John C. Ross studied music at Covenant College, Florida State University, the University of Iowa, and the American Conservatory in Fontainbleau, France. Encore, with its short length and generally upbeat nature, is meant to fill the niche indicated by its title. After everything else, the piece is offered as a kind of dessert.
Percussionist Michael Geary has been a member of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra and has long been involved with the University of Iowa’s Center for New Music. He has achieved distinction as an interpreter of contemporary music, both as a solo and as an ensemble percussionist. A much–recorded player, he has concertized throughout the U.S.
A native of Birmingham, Keith Collins is an improviser equally gifted on the electric guitar, the drum set, and a multiple set of found percussion objects. He performs regularly at Birmingham Improv and around the Southeast. Currently he plays in a trio, Palm Tree the Group.
Pianist Réne Lecuona teaches at the University of Iowa. She has played solo and chamber music recitals throughout the U.S. and abroad. Recently she was selected as an Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. for concerts and master classes in Latin America.
dedicated to leisha
Produced by Amion Projects
1508 13th Pl. S.
Birmingham, AL 35205
Recording/mastering engineer: John Metro/Cinema Solutions
Additional recording: Peter Nothnagle, University of Iowa Recording Services
Cover art: Eric Wendt