Various Artists | Seize the Day: Quartets by Richard Jordan Smoot

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
Aaron Copland Egberto Gismonti John Adams

More Artists From
United States - Ohio

Other Genres You Will Love
Classical: String Quartet World: World Fusion Moods: Instrumental
Sell your music everywhere
There are no items in your wishlist.

Seize the Day: Quartets by Richard Jordan Smoot

by Various Artists

This album contains two string quartets featuring the Grammy-nominated group, Carpe Diem String Quartet, and a Tashi-style quartet featuring the two time Grammy award winning clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman, in virtuosic and uniquely beautiful works.
Genre: Classical: String Quartet
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Sign up for the CD Baby Newsletter
Your email address will not be sold for any reason.
Continue Shopping
just a few left.
order now!
Buy 2 or more of this title's physical copies and get 10% off
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Seize the Day: I. —
Carpe Diem String Quartet
7:51 $0.99
clip
2. Seize the Day: II. —
Carpe Diem String Quartet
8:02 $0.99
clip
3. Seize the Day: III. —
Carpe Diem String Quartet
7:26 $0.99
clip
4. Khabiri Quartet: I. An American in Persia
Carpe Diem String Quartet
7:17 $0.99
clip
5. Khabiri Quartet: II. Mikhâm Beram Kouh
Carpe Diem String Quartet
7:23 $0.99
clip
6. Khabiri Quartet: III. Rumi & Shams
Carpe Diem String Quartet
7:38 $0.99
clip
7. Khabiri Quartet: IV. Whirling
Carpe Diem String Quartet
4:52 $0.99
clip
8. Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano: I. Evocation
Richard Stoltzman, Greg Vitale, Emmanuel Feldman & David Pihl
5:56 $0.99
clip
9. Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano: II. Anna in the Moonlight
Richard Stoltzman, Greg Vitale, Emmanuel Feldman & David Pihl
4:02 $0.99
clip
10. Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano: III. Dream / Dance
Richard Stoltzman, Greg Vitale, Emmanuel Feldman & David Pihl
5:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Notes by Richard Jordan Smoot
This album represents some of my most important efforts with chamber music, particularly, the quartet. The three works found in this collection were composed between May 2006 and March 2012, but the entire production process has taken over ten years. I have always loved the quartet; from Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven to Bartok. I love the intimacy and transparency of this medium, not to mention the possibility for virtuosity, individual and collective, with the balancing expressive effects of team effort. The players performing my quartets make manifest all that I love about this medium.
I have been creating and playing music since I was a child. Beginning with piano and trombone, I migrated to the guitar when I was 12 years old, and later fell in love with classical guitar. Composing, however, was something I simply did all the time, with or without instruments at hand. The house where I grew up in Connecticut had all kinds of music playing constantly. I would spend many hours alone trying to understand the inner workings of the songs by Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, the Beatles, and so many more. I dissected many songs sung by Frank Sinatra and his peers. At the same time, I wrote my own songs with my attempts at creating poetic lyrics.
I entered Ohio Wesleyan University in 1970 as an English Literature major where I continued to be immersed in music-making, writing song after song. After dropping out in my junior year, I focused upon classical guitar studies, as well as composing, and transferred to Ohio State where I received my undergraduate degree in music with emphasis on music composition, followed by both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition. By 1986, I was a professor at a small college in Ohio teaching music composition and much more. I left academia in 1992, and except for a short sojourn as a visiting faculty member at The Ohio State University, I have returned to academia only for the occasional residency. I opened my studio, Sound Endeavors, in the Fall of 1992 where I have pursued composing and teaching along with audio production.
On the surface, my journey may seem unremarkable, but indeed, it has been quite amazing. Along the way I have met and worked with extraordinary people, from the fantastic painter, Denny Griffith, whose work graces the cover of this album, to my beloved English Literature teacher at OWU, Libby Reed, to Thomas Wells, Elliott Schwartz, Rodion Shchedrin, Donald Harris, Christopher Teves, and Vit Micka. Last but not least are the wonderful artists who are heard on this album, Richard Stoltzman and Carpe Diem String Quartet. I feel blessed to have been able to spend so many years making art with so many great people.
My journey as an artist began as a deeply personal search for meaning in life: for love, beauty and communion. I feel that fortune has often shined upon this journey even as I continue to move along... whirling!

Seize The Day
The first work on this album, Seize The Day for string quartet [2010], consists of three movements. I chose the title, Seize The Day, for a couple of reasons. First of all, around the time I was composing this quartet, a number of personal events occurred that served to bring home the message reflected in the title: we must live fully now. Second, I wanted to honor Carpe Diem String Quartet, a group that is helping to change the landscape for new chamber music in the United States and abroad.
I first met Charles Wetherbee in December, 2005 at a late evening dinner following a Columbus Symphony Orchestra concert when he was the concertmaster of that group. At the time, Chas and his colleague, Korine Fujiwara, had already co-founded Carpe Diem String Quartet [CDSQ] and they were actively performing with this group, as well as premiering new works. About a year later, Chas and I discussed the possibility of having me create a new work for CDSQ. Before long I was commissioned to compose a new work for them, and with financial support from the Johnstone Fund For New Music, my string quartet, Seize The Day, was born.
Movement I opens slowly, building momentum as the music unfolds, with the main theme, marked Steadily, appearing after 12 measures. There is a feeling of conjuration that characterizes this movement. At the same time, one might describe the music as being somewhat discursive in nature. The movement is marked by my exploration of contrapuntal process.
Movement II is rather funereal in nature. Indeed, upon hearing the premiere of Seize The Day, a close friend commented that he wanted this movement played at his funeral...a compliment...of sorts. The movement begins and ends with a descending melodic theme and the marking Slowly, gently, plaintively. Indeed, this movement harks back in spirit to my first orchestral work, In The Twilight Kingdom, from 1980, with a similar strong sense of longing and aloneness. The listener, having been carried throughout many key areas and contexts, is left at the end with the feeling of a question that hangs in the air, still unanswered.
Movement lll is basically a tarantella marked Steadily, briskly at the outset. I must confess that my early experiences playing rock and pop music have found their way into this movement. Inspired by the dance known as the tarantella which supposedly enabled the victim of the tarantula’s bite to dance away the effects of the venom,
the music in this movement get faster and more maniacal as things unfold, culminating in a dramatic, exhausted pulling back near the end of the movement. This closing movement for Seize The Day serves to clearly show off the extraordinary virtuosic capabilites of Carpe Diem String Quartet.

Seize The Day
The first work on this album, Seize The Day for string quartet [2010] consists of three movements. I chose the title, Seize The Day, for a couple of reasons. First of all, around the time I was composing this quartet, a number of personal events occurred that served to bring home the message reflected in the title: we must live fully now. Second, I wanted to honor Carpe Diem String Quartet, a group that is helping to change the landscape for new chamber music in the United States and abroad.
I first met Charles Wetherbee in December, 2005 at a late evening dinner following a Columbus Symphony Orchestra concert when he was the concertmaster of that group. At the time, Chas and his colleague, Korine Fujiwara, had already co-founded Carpe Diem String Quartet [CDSQ] and they were actively performing with this group, as well as premiering new works. About a year later, Chas and I discussed the possibility of having me create a new work for CDSQ. Before long I was commissioned to compose a new work for them, and with financial support from the Johnstone Fund For New Music, my string quartet, Seize The Day, was born.
Movement I opens slowly, building momentum as the music unfolds, with the main theme, marked Steadily, appearing after 12 measures. There is a feeling of conjuration that characterizes this movement. At the same time, one might describe the music as being somewhat discursive in nature. The movement is marked by my exploration of contrapuntal process.
Movement II is rather funereal in nature. Indeed, upon hearing the premiere of Seize The Day, a close friend commented that he wanted this movement played at his funeral...a compliment...of sorts. The movement begins and ends with a descending melodic theme and the marking Slowly, gently, plaintively. Indeed, this movement harks back in spirit to my first orchestral work, In The Twilight Kingdom, from 1980, with a similar strong sense of longing and aloneness. The listener, having been carried throughout many key areas and contexts, is left at the end with the feeling of a question that hangs in the air, still unanswered.
Movement lll is basically a tarantella marked Steadily, briskly at the outset. I must confess that my early experiences playing rock and pop music have found their way into this movement. Inspired by the dance known as the tarantella which supposedly enabled the victim of the tarantula’s bite to dance away the effects of the venom,
the music in this movement get faster and more maniacal as things unfold, culminating in a dramatic, exhausted pulling back near the end of the movement. This closing movement for Seize The Day serves to clearly show off the extraordinary virtuosic capabilites of Carpe Diem String Quartet.

Khabiri Quartet for String Quartet
My Khabiri Quartet [2012] was commissioned by Carpe Diem String Quartet for A Persian Musical Feast, a festival held in Columbus, Ohio in May 2012. The work is named for and dedicated to my long-time friend and student, Dr. Hooman Khabiri, who provided significant support for this work. Conversations with him and the sharing of ideas about Persian culture, as well as the Iranian experience in general, inspired my journey into a world of music and ideas totally foreign and new
for me. As the subtitle for Movement I indicates, I became An American In Persia. This journey has been an immersive, albeit somewhat virtual one; indeed, I have never been to Iran.
Several years ago, Hooman and I were sitting in my studio and he showed me his beautiful photos from his recent trip back to Iran, his first visit since the revolution
of the late 1970s. These images evoked a powerful sense of a living culture that most Americans only experience a fragment of through the American media and its disconnected talk of conflict. The beauty of the imagery, the geography and the street-level sense of reality were both evocative and awakening for me.
The Khabiri Quartet is a four-movement composition. Each movement has a subtitle that is intended to evoke the sense of a journey into the realm of Persian cultural themes and ideas. Herein, I offer my listener an experience based upon my investigation of Persian music. To this end, I have spent hours listening to the setar, the tar, the tombek, the daf, ensembles of these instruments, Persian singers, as well as studying Persian music theory and practice. Along the way, I was overwhelmed by the power, sophistication and sheer force of Persian art. I let myself be as immersed as I could be and then I just composed, knowing full well, that at best, I might skim the surface of this deep and ancient tradition that is still vibrantly alive. Indeed, aspects of it are the “mother” of many things we take for granted in the Western world. My guide, Dr. Khabiri. along with Persian singer, Shoreh Elhami and her husband, Persian musician, Javad Ashrafi, were all tremendously kind and helpful with this creative effort. Indeed, the Iranian people that I met and worked with as a result of this project and the festival, graciously shared information about their culture and experience. For their time and good will, I am eternally grateful.
Movement I: An American In Persia
This title is an intentional allusion to Gershwin’s An American In Paris; using a repetitive motif that the listener hears at the opening of this movement to create a feeling that someone is traveling. This motif gives way to my explorations of rhythmic and pitch materials, including microtonality. The cello part calls for the cellist to emulate a Persian percussionist for an extended section. The players are called upon to explore various timbral elements as well.
Movement II: Diaspora
The second movement is a theme and variations based upon the famous Persian
folk song, Mikhaˆm Beram Kouh [I Want To Go To The Mountain]. I have subtitled this movement, Diaspora. In reality most Americans can tie their experience of immigration to some version of a diaspora. So many people in America came here because they had to. My Irish friends work hard to maintain a cultural identity and a strong sense of their “old country.” Accordingly, I believe there is always a sense of longing, and for so many, a feeling that a part of one’s soul belongs somewhere else. Of course, this may depend on how close in time one is to the actual diaspora. My paternal grandparents came here on a boat from Wales in around 1900 along with many other people seeking a better life in America. Hooman’s family left Iran after the revolution in the late 1970s, as did many Iranians. Their identity did not dissolve when they stepped on this soil. In this spirit, I have chosen this Persian folk song shared with me by Javad Ashrafi, which tells a simple tale, but it is filled with
the longing I am referring to.
Shoreh Elhami joined CDSQ on stage for the premiere of this movement, and sang the folk song in Farsi at the beginning and the end. Hooman had informed me that this folk song has a strong association for the Iranian people with their homeland. It was deeply touching to see the Iranian-Americans present in the audience sing along, many with tears in their eyes. I believe this movement can also be presented with no singer, as it is here, or with a singer when possible.
Shoreh has kindly provided her translation of this folk song, offered in part here.
Mikhˆam Beram Kouh
I want to go to the mountain to hunt gazelles
Where is my gun, oh dearest Leyli, where is my gun?
Movement III: Rumi and Shams
Movement III is as close as I have ever gotten to creating programmatic music. Here
I allude to the story of the famous Persian poet called Rumi “Jelaluddin Balkhi” (born September 30, 1207) and his spiritual mentor, Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish. Coleman Barks, the famous Persian scholar, relates the story along the following lines: Rumi, a religious scholar of mystical lineage, meets the wandering Shams in 1244. Thus begins an intense and deep friendship where they are inseparable and spend months together without any human needs in a state of ecstatic connection. As Barks states: “Rumi began the transformation into a mystical artist. He turned into a poet, began to listen to music, and sang, whirling around, hour after hour.” But this friend- ship led to conflict and jealousy in Rumi’s religious community. It probably led to Sham’s murder one night when he was called to the back door and mysteriously disappeared forever. The rest is history. Ultimately, Rumi, believing that he is in complete spiritual union with Shams, dictates his poetry to a follower and creates
the powerful body of work known as Mathnawi. Rumi died on December 17, 1273. In the musical score, I have made the following text notations for the performers.
Time approximations are provided here for the listener.
At the beginning: Two friends, teacher and student, sharing [0’00”]
Measure 41: Rumi learns to whirl from Shams [circa 2’20”]
Measure 95: A little drunk [circa 4’00”]
Measure 132, closing section: Shams has disappeared. [circa 6’03”]
(Shoreh Elhami has described this last part of the story to me as “the sadness of Rumi.”)
My listeners may think of Violin 1 as Rumi and Violin 2 as Shams.
Movement IV: Whirling
The closing movement, Whirling, is all about the tradition of the mystical whirling dervishes in Persian culture. When Tim Veach, Artistic Director of Columbus Dance Theatre, and I spoke regarding his choreography and their performance of this movement at the Festival, he informed me that he understood the technique that the dervishes used to whirl and not collapse from dizziness. I created a simple motif derived from the “whirling” motif in Movement lll, and this movement was born. Once again, the extraordinary, virtuosic capabilities of CDSQ are on clear display in this movement.
The following excerpt from Rumi’s poetry illuminates the spirit of the Khabiri Quartet:
“Only love, only love, only love, how many times do I have to say it, before you jump into the fire.”-Rumi

Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano
My Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano was composed between May
and July, 2006. The work was recorded at Futura Productions, Roslindale, MA. On June 3, 2007, the Quartet was premiered by Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Charles Wetherbee (violin), Wendy Morton (cello) and Cameron Bennett (piano) as part of The Marble Cliff Chamber Players concert series in Columbus, Ohio.
I was offered the opportunity to create a new work for the world-renown clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman, in 2006. I had first heard Mr. Stoltzman in the late 1970s when I lived in Austin Texas. Richard was touring with the extraordinary group, TASHI, and the featured work on the concert was Messiaen’s Quartet For The End Of Time, which had been written and premiered in a Nazi concentration camp. I remember being mesmerized by Stoltzman’s performance of the middle movement for unaccompanied clarinet, entitled Abyss of the Birds. I also remember thinking at that time that it would be wonderful to write for such an incredible performer someday. Fast forward to 2006 and I found myself with the opportunity to work with him. I decided to create a composition using the same instrumentation as
that of TASHI, - clarinet, violin, cello and piano.
The work consists of three movements with the following subtitles: I) Evocation
ll) Anna In The Moonlight and lll) Dream/Dance. My daughter, Anna, was quite young at this time and I was fascinated by the creativity of her imaginings. Her stories and imagined scenes came to be the inspiration for this work.
l: Evocation
One may think of this as a kind of conjuration-like movement filled with imagined creatures of the night. Indeed, the clarinetist is the conjurer calling forth the powers that be with virtuosic flourishes. Complex solo passages for the clarinet are found in abundance in this movement.
ll: Anna In The Moonlight
I am especially proud of the second movement of this quartet, Anna In The Moonlight. I remember an evening when Anna and I were sitting in the back bedroom of our home and looking out upon the backyard where a full moon was rising. As we sat there, Anna’s imagination came alive and we envisioned the scene transformed into a dance party of leprechauns and other possible creatures of the night.
Later, at the premiere of this quartet, my family and I sat in the front row of the hall with Anna sitting next to me. Throughout the second movement, I could see that Richard Stoltzman was watching Anna as she sat there, proud, but also feeling a bit self-conscious. At the end of the concert, Richard came down from the stage, walked over to Anna and said, “ Hello. I am Richard Stoltzman. You must be Anna in the moonlight.”
lll: Dream/Dance
My jazz/pop influence is apparent in this fast-moving final movement. It goes without saying that I was clearly operating with the keen understanding that Richard Stoltzman would play anything I gave him, beautifully. Accordingly, I pulled out all the stops in Dream/Dance. Most apparent are the contrapuntal techniques employed in this movement, including stretto, imitation and more. A driving momentum that leads to a dramatic ending characterizes this movement. The clarinetist has the last word with a virtuosic flourish.

Read more...

Reviews


to write a review