Music of the Next Moment

Innova 502



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.

Dear Friend,

            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

            Tel. (205)933-2082


Recording/mastering engineer: John Metro/Cinema Solutions


Additional recording: Peter Nothnagle, University of Iowa Recording Services


Cover art: Eric Wendt