Playful Edge Of The Wave
Robert Martin composer
Neely Bruce composer
Shirley Blankenship piano
Neely Bruce piano
On their debut Ravello Records release, PLAYFUL EDGE OF THE WAVE, composers Robert J. Martin and Neely Bruce join a love of beauty with the willingness to engage in spirited, magical, even outrageously unexpected sounds and gestures. These composers, with pianist Shirley Blankenship, present a collection of image-based works whose titles and descriptions open a direction to understanding the music.
Martin presents 100 Views of Mt. Fuji: 100 Pieces in 100 Minutes-Homage to Hokusai, a series of short evocations of Hokusai’s woodcuts of Mt. Fuji, each different in its gestures and language, yet all in the same universe. This work exemplifies the concept of image-based music, each piece’s title offering a vision for the music. In his Improvisations, Bruce reveals the gentle and mesmerizing side of contemporary non-traditional harmonies. In Homage to Seb, the composer presents an amazingly atonal and pleasingly modern side of Johann Sebastian Bach. The collection ends with Martin’s stone & feather, an exploration of timbre, lightness, and heaviness. The images found in the pieces’ titles and descriptions are keys to the music, allowing the listener to unlock a door between the abstract and the concrete, between the composer and the audience member, and to discover a vivid world that is captivating and new.
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Robert J. Martin
Robert J. Martin is known for music projects based on images and metaphors from the world at large. Martin's composition titles and, in the case of multi-movement works, movement titles are image-based, giving listeners a puzzle to solve or an idea to listen for. Examples of Martin's image-centered pieces include works for soloists such as Limoncello Suite for cello; My Mind's Attic for tenor pan; Hommage Á Tom et Jerry for soloist alternating between flute and piccolo (recorded by Ronda Ford Benson, available from rondaford.com); Ten Thousand Things Moving for flute; Two for One, for soloist alternating between alto and soprano saxophone; and a body of piano works, including the two works in this set: 100 Views of Mt. Fuji: 100 Pieces in One Hundred Minutes - Homage to Hokusai and stone & feather. Ensemble image-based pieces include Here There Be Dragons for brass choir; Palace of the Winds for flute choir; Embrace the Wind: A Celebration of Wind and Wind Energy, a seventy-five minute cycle for string quartet; and The Owl and the Pussycat for harp and flute.
Neely Bruce is a prolific composer, pianist, conductor, and scholar of American music. He has composed over 700 pieces of music, including three full-length operas, five one-act operas, oratorios and other choral works, about 300 solo songs, chamber music, seven documentary video scores for PBS, and 14 hours of solo piano music. In 2013, Bruce began This Is It! - a series of twelve recitals comprising his complete piano music - to conclude in 2017.