A Waltz Through the Vapor

A Waltz Through the Vapor

Hi Def chamber music
Justin Rubin
Matthew McCright
Jefferson Campbell
Alexander Chernyshev
Betsy Husby
Gene Koshinski
Tracy Lipke-Perry
Lorie Scott
Catalog Number: 
new classical

Duluth, MN

Release Date: 
Feb 26, 2013
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Overlooking Lake Superior, Sacred Heart cathedral in Duluth, Minnesota, is where the performances on composer Justin Rubin’s latest album, A Waltz Through The Vapor, were captured. The building’s hundred-year-old bricks and sandstone work their way into the compositions, imbuing the record with a timeless quality in an age that seems ever eager for the next technological innovation.

Instead of mooring them in the world of click tracks and drum machines, Rubin’s compositions find their heartbeats in the undulating rhythm of autumn water, in the cadence of a waltz from a faded photograph. Unbound by systems but always restlessly searching for the edges of tonal music, they are built out of past forms viewed through the prism of modernity. The results are uniquely Rubin’s own.

With pianist Matthew McCright at the forefront, the album collects chamber works by Rubin, building them out around the title track, “A Waltz Through The Vapor.” As the key composition that set Rubin on the path to a densely-textured style that remains both complex and approachable, it resides at the heart of this collection of rich, exquisitely-wrought works.

“Shortly after arriving in Duluth to take up my teaching position at the University,” writes Rubin, “I walked the halls and imagined all of the bodies that had come and gone over the years. Even before teaching a single class I contemplated that one day, as an older man, I too would walk out one of the doors and disappear.  A Waltz through the Vapor began that summer (1998).”

Justin Rubin is Professor of Music and Chair of the Composition and Theory Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth and Artistic Director of the UMD New Music Festival. Rubin released his first solo CD, Nostalgia (innova 738), in 2009 that included his chamber works featuring bassoon.

Minnesota-based pianist Matthew McCright has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific as soloist and chamber musician.


"[Justin Rubin's] music inhabits an expressive territory of his own. [E]ach of the tracks, some more and some less, unfold from a central core theme, which eventually joined by subsidiary themes, cross harmonic territories - sometimes consonant, other times ambiguous and uncertain. … All this contributes to the pieces a continuing ephemeral life, as though not-well defined contours and figures discreetly appear on the scene, only to disappear with equal grace, leaving behind indelible marks of their passage. The music is filled with nostalgic memories, but also memories imagined, an intimate dialogue with one's self but open to the unexpected." [FULL ARTICLE]
Filippo Focosi

"Accessible without being predictable, warmly expressive, and generally lyrical. ... [T]hese works are played by McRight with élan and affection."
Ronald E. Grames

"The performances are uniformly excellent."
Raymond Tuttle

“[Matthew McCright] gives dramatic, poetic life to the … piano solo pieces included. The performances … are warm, impassioned but also precise and detailed. [A] program of well-paced chamber music that has density and drama, that has memorable content.” [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards