Paul Elwood

Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home

Innova 786


1.    Old Joe Clark                                       6:51

Hank Roberts, cello, vocals

Paul Elwood, banjo


2.    In the Zone                                         11:24

The Callithumpian Consort

Conductor: Stephen Drury

Five-string banjo soloist:  Paul Elwood


3.    Cluck Old Hen                                     2:13

John Hartford, banjo

Matthew Combs, fiddle


4.    Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home            26:18

Ilana Davidson, soprano

Matthew Combs, fiddle and mandolin

Paul Elwood, banjo and vocals

and the Callithumpian Consort,

Stephen Drury, artistic director


5.    The Cuckoo’s Nest                         2:19

John Hartford, fiddle

Paul Elwood, five-string banjo


6.    The Golden Road                         15:05

Min Xiao-Fen, pipa

Paul Elwood, five-string banjo

Stephen Drury, piano


Hank Roberts is a cellist that I admired from the time that I heard him in the Bill Frisell Band.  I was lucky to play a number of gigs with Hank.  We got together late one night in Ithaca, New York, to record the old American folk tune “Old Joe Clark.”  I had wanted to do a wild free-improvisational interplay around the tune and we did a several takes in this manner.  Each version fell apart at some point.  I had taught Hank the melody and words that evening and, when all else failed, I began to play two chords without picks on the banjo in a quiet, slow manner.  Hank began playing over that and did an amazing vocal rendition of the tune.  I couldn’t have been happier.


In the Zone, is based on “Old Joe Clark” and was commissioned for the Brevard (North Carolina) Chamber Orchestra by director/conductor Virginia Tillotson, who premiered it on November 10, 1996.  There is a programmatic depiction of a scene from Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow,” from the section in the book titled “In the Zone,” referring to the American Zone of Occupation after World War II.  The scene occurs in a bombed out, roofless house in which a main character of the book, Tyrone Slothrop, dances to the sound of a music box with a young girl in the light of a camp fire. 


A number of years ago I dreamed that I was hiking in the mountains above Brevard, North Carolina. I crested the ridge of a valley on a warm summer morning, and saw a dilapidated cabin with a collapsed roof.  ‘Hmm,’ I thought, ‘that’s Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home’ — Kubrick, of course, being the iconic American film director.  I was instantly inspired to write a chamber composition structured on a Kubrick film that would utilize folk music of the Appalachians.  After watching all of his films, I selected 2001: a Space Odyssey for the structure of the piece, timing scenes and dividing them proportionally to fit within the context of a 25-minute composition.  


Source material came from everywhere.  A strong influence in my life is legendary fiddler/banjoist/songwriter John Hartford with whom I became acquainted in 1999.  I asked him to record a number of fiddle tunes with me, fiddler Matt Combs, and Mike Guggino, presently with the Steep Canyon Rangers, and I transcribed these tunes for use in Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home.


“Cluck Old Hen,” with Hartford on banjo and Combs on fiddle, is used as primary melodic material in “Kubrick.”  My mother described telescopic observations of the moon in astronomy class notes on my birthday in 1982; I found these texts after she died and they are read by the soprano soloist in a proportional location in the composition similar to that of the moon scenes in the film.  Hartford gave me a tune titled “The Rooms They Are Not Even Ready” that I placed in the middle of the piece and it fittingly foreshadows the room that the wandering astronaut of the film finds himself in during the last scenes.   The chamber music sections juxtaposed with the fiddle tunes represent the two overriding musical worlds in which I live.  Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home is dedicated to John Hartford who passed in 2001. 


The Golden Road was composed for pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, whom I heard performing in Rome on a Tan Dun opera a number of years ago, and for pianist Stephen Drury, a close friend since 1990.  Not knowing much about the pipa, a sort of Chinese lute, I fitted my banjo with heavy guitar strings and tuned the instrument like a pipa.  As the piece evolved, I ended up writing for the banjo in the pipa tuning.  Therefore, the banjo carries with it a tuning of ADEA for the lower strings and I left the fifth string tuned in G.  The source material for the composition is the Cuckoo’s Nest, my favorite Irish/American folk tune.  Throughout, the banjo is bowed, picked, and played clawhammer style.










Thanks to the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Grant, Stephen Drury, Matthew Combs, Hank Roberts, Ilana Davidson, Min Xiao-Fen, my mother, Mary Elwood (1914-1989), John Hartford (1937-2001), Tony Trischka, the Callithumpian Consort, Innova Recordings, Larry Helmeczy, Virginia Tillotson, and Karen and J.C. Combs. 

Mixed by Larry Helmeczy, Ithaca, New York, 2003, except for Track 4.

Mastered by Silas Brown at Legacy Sound.


1. OLD JOE CLARK (traditional)

Hank Roberts, cello, vocals

Paul Elwood, banjo

Recorded in Ithaca, New York, July 10, 2003

Recording engineer: Larry Helmeczy


2. IN THE ZONE (1996)

The Callithumpian Consort

Conductor: Stephen Drury

Five-string banjo soloist:  Paul Elwood



Paola Caballero

Mona Rashad

Gabriela Diaz

Hilary Zipper

Betsy Hinckle

Hyo-Jeon Jang

Monica Pegis

Gabriel Schlaffer

Elizabeth Robinson



Illana Schroeder

Amanda Wilson

Ethan Pernela

April Rumsey

Frederic Viger



Stacy Frierson

Laura Jensen

Dale Henderson

Courtenay Vandiver



Matthew Heller

Jeffrey Kipperman


Piano:  Timothy Bozarth



Thomas Gulborg

Barbara Lieurance

Akemi Fujita


Recorded February 15, 2000, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, Mass.

Recording Engineers:  Cameron Wiley and

Todd Goetz



3.  CLUCK OLD HEN (traditional)

John Hartford, banjo

Matthew Combs, fiddle

Produced by Paul Elwood

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, June 5, 2000



Ilana Davidson, soprano

Matthew Combs, fiddle and mandolin

Paul Elwood, banjo and vocals

and the Callithumpian Consort, Stephen Drury, artistic director:

Jessi Rosinski, flute

Christopher Bush, clarinet

Gabriela Diaz, violin

Benjamin Schwartz, ‘cello

Stephen Drury, piano


Recording Engineer:  Cameron Wiley

Edited and mixed by Stephen Drury

Recorded in Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, Massachusetts, November 23, 2005



Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home


Exchanging light, a room above,

a blue-gray fog upon the river.

Horseshoe rim beneath the sun,

a cabin roof collapsed with snow.


Above the blue, below the black,

eternal peace upon the valley floor.


The wild curve, the grid of space,

a lunar void translucent evening.

Matter of the labyrinth sky,

eternal peace beneath the morning valley clouds.


Above the blue, below the black,

concave gravity.

Ocean sky of vessel Earth,

the center defined by mass and weight.


Horseshoe rim Vesuvius,

remnant of the Vulcan pool.

Sinkhole valley down below,

a cabin roof collapsed with snow.




Heaven’s despair the screaming rage,

wind in counterclockwise gales.

Wraps the moon in formless veils

High above Etruscan plains.


1Lab for September 21, 1982 - Lunar Observation:  The moon was observed between nine and ten p.m. on September 21st. The weather was cool and the sky was clear with good “seeing” conditions. The moon was in the first quarter—four or five days after the date of the new moon. It was in the southwest and western portion of the sky. It seemed to me that the view with the lowest magnification was the best and most beautiful and everything seemed to stand out better than with the higher magnification.  The crater floors must be below the surface of the moon for they appeared darker. The surface of the seas seemed smooth and bright.


3Horseshoe rim Vesuvius,

remnant of the Vulcan pool.

Sinkhole valley down below

a cabin roof collapsed with snow.




2The rooms they are not even ready.

They don’t give me a chance to fill ‘em right out

and they move ‘em right in.


3Not ready now, the rooms above,

the mist has settled in the nascent bowl.

A hazy sky, cathedral space,

tall trees uphold the vault of heaven.


Above the blue, eternal light

a cup inverse - horizon’s end.


Morning sun of ten o’clock,

the mists have lifted from the ground.

Midsummer warmth, rainforest green,

a little boy ran out the door.




The wild curve, the grid of space,

a lunar void of vacuum veils.


Cresting the ridge in the warm humid air.

Walking down the valley rim.

Roof caving in on the cabin floor,

languid clouds cross to afternoon.




High upon the crater rim,

the rooms aren’t even ready.

Thunder from beneath the ground,

Blueridge Mountain cabin home


Morning sun of ten o’clock,

humid air rainforest green.

Above the sky, eternal blue,

A labyrinth cycle turns.


Concave heaven, inverse bowl,

the roof collapsed on Stanley’s mountain home.


1. Text by my mother, Mary Elwood

2. Lines and melody courtesy of John Hartford

3. All text for Stanley Kubrick’s Mountain Home, Copyright  © 2011 by Paul Elwood.





5. THE CUCKOO’S NEST (traditional)

John Hartford, fiddle

Paul Elwood, five-string banjo

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, June 5, 2000



Min Xiao-Fen, pipa

Paul Elwood, five-string banjo

Stephen Drury, piano


Recorded February 15, 2000, Jordan Hall,

New England Conservatory, Boston, Mass.

Recording Engineers:  Cameron Wiley and

Todd Goetz


All compositions by Paul Elwood are published by Western Wear Music Publishing, Inc., ASCAP, copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.



The music of Paul Elwood often incorporates his background as a folk musician and experimentalist on the five-string banjo with that of his voice as a composer who loves the processes and syntax of contemporary writing. He is the recipient of a Composers Assistance Grant from the American Music Center (2010) and an Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Grant. In 2000 he was awarded the Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies Inter-American Music Award for Vigils for solo piano, and he has been featured as a composer and performer at festivals in Moscow, Sofia (Bulgaria), Mexico City, Marseille (France), Wollongong (Australia), Edinburgh (Scotland), Darmstadt (Germany), and all over the U.S.  His music has been performed by the symphonies of North Carolina, Charleston, and Wichita, Zeitgeist, Dinosaur Annex, and Tambuco (the Mexican Percussion Quartet), among others. 


As a performer he won the Kansas State Banjo Championship, worked with guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, cellist Hank Roberts, percussionist Lukas Ligeti, French saxophonist Raphael Imbert, bassist Bertram Turetzky, Andrew Bishop’s Hank Williams Project, drummer Matt Wilson, Electric Cowboy Cacophony (Edinburgh and Marseille), played live on MTV Europe, and played percussion in a number of orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic and Wichita Symphony.  Elwood studied percussion with J.C. Combs and composition with Donald Erb, David Felder, Walter Mays, Arthur S. Wolff, Charles Wuorinen, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Gunther Schuller.   His music is published by C.F. Peters, Smith Publications, and Western Wear Music Publishing.


Residencies he has received include the American Academy in Rome as Southern Regional Visiting Composer, the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico, the Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, the Frank Waters Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Artists Residence Program, Ucross Foundation, Camargo Foundation (France), and Fundaćion Valparaiso (Spain). 


The Callithumpian Consort is dedicated to the proposition that music is an experience.  The Consort consists of a senior band of soloists, but is flexible in size and makeup, enabling the group to tackle unusual repertoire and experimental projects. Their repertoire ranges from classics of the past 50 years to the newest works of the avant-garde. Active commissioning and recording of new works is crucial to their mission. The Callithumpian Consort has worked with composers John Cage, Lee Hyla, John Zorn, Michael Finnissy, Steve Reich, Helmut Lachenmann, John Luther Adams, Christian Wolff and many others in regular concerts at New England Conservatory. Recordings are available on Tzadik, New World and Mode records.

Primarily known for his fiddling, Matthew Combs has worked with some of the best names in country, bluegrass, and old-time music—including John Hartford, Jerry Douglas, Patty Loveless, Suzy Bogguss, Maura O’Connell, John Oates, Mike Snider, Ray Price, Kevin Costner, Charlie Daniels, Jimmy Martin, Marty Stuart, Uncle Josh Graves, Kenny Baker, Norman and Nancy Blake, and Doc Watson. He has also performed with The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra, and the Nashville Opera. In addition, he has played on the Grand Ole Opry over 200 times, has appeared on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network, on documentaries on PBS, on CMT and GAC, and on The Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV.  Matt received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan in violin performance, where he studied with Paul Kantor. Currently he is Head of the Fiddle Department at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music and has also been an instructor at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp.


Ilana Davidson is internationally acclaimed for her crystalline soprano, assured musicality and interpretive insight, with a repertoire spanning the 12th to the 21st centuries. Her recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience conducted by Leonard Slatkin won four Grammy Awards in 2006 including Best Classical Album. 


In the summer of 2010, Ms. Davidson made her debut at The Bard Music Festival singing Krenek, Eisler and Berg and returned to Staunton Music Festival in a series of baroque concerts, as well as the Berkshire Choral Festival as soloist in Haydn’s Paukenmesse. Conductors with whom she was worked include Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden, Keith Lockhart, Reinbert de Leeuw, Oliver Knussen, Stuart Malina, Harry Bicket, Carl St. Clair, Michael Riesman, Lothar Zagrosek, Lawrence Renes and Claus Peter Flor.


Career highlights include Songs of Innocence and of Experience at Carnegie Hall with Mto. Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony, and Mahler’s Second Symphony with Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic in Boston Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, her Avery Fisher Hall debut in Carl Orff’s Trionfo di Afrodite with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra and her Alice Tully Hall debut as the Wife in Philip Glass and Robert Moran’s The Juniper Tree. 


Recent performances include Carmina Burana with the Houston Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Fauré Requiem with the Charlotte Symphony and Mahler’s Second Symphony at Symphony Hall with the Boston Philharmonic. Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice with the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, Haydn’s Creation with the Harrisburg Symphony, J.S. Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium and Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.  Upcoming performances include appearances of Mahler Second Symphony with Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec and the Dayton Philharmonic, 3 Songs for soprano and orchestra by Osvaldo Golijov and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.


Ms. Davidson’s discography includes Chimeras by John Zorn, Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley, Lieder of Ernst Krenek, What Price Confidence by Ernst Krenek.

Ms. Davidson is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music. She was a vocal fellow at the

Tanglewood Music Center and a participant in the Aston Magna Early Music Academy.


Pianist and conductor Stephen Drury has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Baribican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, among others. Drury was a prize-winner in the Carnegie Hall/Rockefeller Foundation Competitions in American Music, and was selected by the United States Information Agency for its Artistic Ambassador Program for a European tour. In 1989 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Drury a Solo Recitalist Fellowship and the same year he was named “Musician of the Year” by the Boston Globe.  He has worked closely with a virtual who’s who list of contemporary composers including John Cage, György Ligeti, Frederick Rzewski, Steve Reich, Olivier Messiaen, John Zorn, Luciano Berio, Helmut Lachenmann, Christian Wolff, Jonathan Harvey, Michael Finnissy, Lee Hyla and John Luther Adams. Drury is artistic director and conductor of the Callithumpian Consort, and he is founder of the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice at New England Conservatory where he teaches.


Pipa player Min Xiao-Fen early on made her mark in China winning first prize at the Jiangsu National Pipa Competition.  She has been soloist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Amiens Chamber Orchestra in France and the Nieuw Ensemble in Holland, among others. She has appeared at the Lincoln Center Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Vienna Music Festival, the Amsterdam - China Festival, the Utrecht International Lute Festival, the Geneva Music Festival, and the Berlin Chinese Music Festival.  She worked with legendary jazz pianist Randy Weston on his album Khepera (Verve) and recorded movie soundtracks by John Zorn on Tzadik. She premiered Tan Dun’s Peony Pavilion (Sony), an opera with director Peter Sellars and has worked with composers including Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Bun-Ching Lam, Philip Glass, Wadada Leo Smith, Jane Ira Bloom, and Mark Dresser. Min’s solo recording, The Moon Rising (Cala), was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as “one of the best CDs of 1996.” Her recording Viper (Avant), improvisations with Derek Bailey, was one of The Wire Magazine’s 1998 Albums of the Year. 

Recently, she was honored with support from the Asian Cultural Council to study and research Tang Dynasty music in China and Japan. 


Bluegrass and songwriting legend John Hartford received several Grammy awards and recorded a catalog of more than 30 albums.  He gained international popularity with his hit Gentle On My Mind, recorded by many artists including Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, and Elvis Presley.  In the 1960s he was often featured on the Glen Campbell Good Time Hour and the Smothers Brothers Show.   In 1968 Hartford played on the Byrds’ classic country-leaning album “Sweethearts of the Rodeo.” Hartford’s 1971 album, Aereo-plain (1971), known popularly as the “Sgt. Pepper of bluegrass,” featured other legends including Vassar Clements, Norman Blake, and Tut Taylor. In 1976, he won a Grammy award for his album, Mark Twang, on which Hartford recorded himself singing, playing fiddle or banjo, and dancing simultaneously. Toward the end of his life in 2001 he performed on the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and on the famed Down From The Mountain concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, which he also hosted.


Aside from his accomplishments in music, he was also a steamboat pilot, author, artist, disc jockey, and calligrapher.  Hartford is a huge influence on the music of Paul Elwood and remains so for several generations of bluegrass pickers.


For the past 44 years improvisational cellist Hank Roberts has been creating new sounds on the cello. His rhythmic, harmonic, emotional and timbral approach to the cello distinguishes him as a unique voice on the instrument and in the world of new music. “One of the most respected improvising cellists on the international scene.” – Jazz Express


He’s collaborated extensively with Bill Frisell (in among other ensemble, The Bill Frisell Quartet), Hal Willner, Tim Berne, Andy Summers, Dave King and Ethan Iverson from “The Bad Plus”, Donna the Buffalo, Sim Redmond Band, Kevin Kinsella, Wingnut, and Ti Ti Chickapea, among others.  He’s also performed with John Zorn, Joey Baron, Mark Feldman, Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser, Mark Ribot, and Marty Erlich, among others.


Among other self-released recordings, ‘Hank Roberts and Wiggy Dog Boy – The Truth and Reconciliation Show’ came out on Ithaca’s ‘ITown Records’ label. He has nine CD releases on the ‘Winter and Winter’ label, including several with The Arcado String Trio and Miniature. The latest, ‘Green’, was recorded with touring partners Marc Ducret and Jim Black in June 2007.


Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

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Chris Campbell: operations manager