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Process and Passion

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Album Review

This album presents three interrelated works (if only in terms of instrumentation). "Kokoro" (29 minutes) is for solo violin. Interpreted by Mark Menzies, it is a highly delicate, graceful piece. The bow dances over the strings, at times barely touching them, at others attacking the bridge with determination. Menzies displays a wide range of extended techniques in the vibrant, elemental manner more common to free improvisers (as opposed to the more formalist use of such techniques in notated music). The 12 movements of the work are articulated in a succession of short tableaux, similar to a solo choreography. "Focus a Beam, Emptied of Thinking, Outward..." (14 minutes) is for solo cello and features Hugh Livingston. Compared to the gracile first piece, this one is rather low-key, serving more like an extended prelude to the 23-minute "Process and Passion," this one a duet between the two aforementioned musicians. The magnum opus of the album — and one of Roger Reynolds' better works — it features his taste for movement, complex intertwining, understated melodicism, and theatrics. The mood swings between loving serenade and heated argument, following an abstract yet surprisingly logical plot. Computer-processed violin and cello lines occasionally surface, scrambling the dialogue in productive ways. The same three works are featured twice. On disc one, one finds the "regular" stereophonic mixes for loudspeakers. On disc two are binaural mixes requiring headphones. The binaural presentation adds a lot of depth, reproducing the effect of a multi-channel spatialization. This technique is usually used by composers of electro-acoustic music. Relying on it for works that are purely acoustic in nature, to a large extent, is something new and — one must admit — quite conclusive. It dramatically enhances the impression of movement in "Kokoro," and fully integrates the first incursions from the computer in "Process and Passion." ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: July 18, 1934 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Studied with Ross Lee Finney, Roberto Gerhard. Undergraduate degree in engineering physics. Founding member ONCE Group. Teacher at University of California at San Diego, founded Center for Music Experiment and Related Research (1979). Composer-in-residence, IRCAM, Paris, France. The Emperor of Ice Cream (1962), Blind Men (1966) for 24 voices and chamber...
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Process and Passion, Roger Reynolds
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