Requiem Songs
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Rolnick's music should strike a chord with fans of John Adams.

"Requiem Songs was begun about two years after I returned from a four month stay in the former Yugoslavia. It was originally planned to be an upbeat piece, using some of the musical ideas I had collected during my time in the Balkans, but the advent of the war in Croatia and Bosnia left me unable to complete the commission as I had originally planned it. It seemed like the culture I had known briefly was dying, and the appropriate musical response was to write a requiem for it. I briefly toyed with the idea of combining parts of the various liturgies used in the Balkans as source material for the work. However, as I focused more on the nationalistic conflicts which seemed to be springing up throughout eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in the wake of the collapse of communism, I found myself thinking more and more that this was not about Bosnians and Serbs, but really about all people who see their own national identity as requiring the annihilation of people with another national or ethnic identity. The problem is not limited to victims of Serb or Croat aggression, but rather to the victims of nationalism throughout the world. Screen Scenes is not about anything political, but simply about how we perform music. One of my continuing musical interests over the years has been to find new ways to work with improvisation. I love the kinds of spontaneity and imagination that seem to appear when good improvisers play, and the depth with which ensembles must listen to each other in improvisational situations. On the other hand, as a composer, I also tend to have very specific ideas about how I want a piece of music to sound, how it should develop, how it should be structured, etc. So the problem is: how do I create a work in which I keep the kind of control which is important to me, while giving the musicians the kind of freedom they require for improvisational interaction. Screen Scenes is one answer." Neil Rolnick has been active internationally as a composer and performer of computer music since the late 1970s. He has appeared in concerts throughout North America, Europe and Japan. Currently he is Chair of the Arts Department and Director of iEAR Studios at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. This is a disc of appealing, profound and topical music.
Contents:
Neil Rolnick, composer
Requiem Songs - for the victims of nationalism
Amy Fradon and Leslie Ritter, vocals, Todd Reynolds, violin, Harvey Sorgen, percussion and sampling, Neil Rolnick, samples and processing

Neil Rolnick, composer
Screen Scenes
Andrew Sterman, flute and tenor saxophone, Todd Reynolds, violin, Steve Rust, bass, Harvey Sorgen, percussion, Neil Rolnick, synthesizer and prepared piano

Review:
"The sparse and direct folk-derived style is eminently suitable for these nine brief but poignant songs." (Fanfare)