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Reifsteck: Fragmented Fractals
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Sat 19 Jul 2014
Fragmented Fractals (8:33) N/A
Reifsteck: Vortex
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Thu 4 Apr 2013
Vortex (7:07) N/A
Reifsteck: Inwood Hill Park
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Thu 7 Jun 2012
Inwood Hill Park (5:43) N/A
Reifsteck: Questions Unanswered
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Thu 7 Jun 2012
Questions Unanswered (4:51) N/A
Reifsteck: Resistance Underneath Biomechanical Sentinels N/A
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Ensemble: Gaudete Brass
Recording Date: Fri 4 Nov 2011
"Resistance Underneath Biomechanical Sentinels" for brass quintet is a three movement, eleven minute composition written during the summer of 2011. Commissioned by the Gaudete Brass Quintet, the work received its premiere performance on November 4, 2011, at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. The idea for this work came after I attended the "Art from Detritus: Recycling with Imagination" exhibit in April 2011 at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center in Brooklyn, NY. The works by the artists featured in this exhibit were made solely from recycled materials and trash and conveyed the importance of recycling and “upcycling” with the goal of showing that through its materials and techniques, art helps our environment. The provocative images associated with some of the works referenced an environment in which mechanical objects interact with nature to create beautiful, and often disturbing, ecosystems. While these installations did not directly influence the way in which the musical language of my composition was constructed, the works inspired me to consider the interaction between mechanical objects and humans and how they interrelate through musical expression. Unlike in the visual arts where works are constructed to exist in space, a musical composition exists through the development of sound over a specified period of time. Therefore, the intended meaning of the work becomes less obvious. The title, "Resistance Underneath Biomechanical Sentinels," invites the listener to experience the human relationship with industrial technology as a conflict or an adventure beyond the physical realm. In other words, it is through the physical connection with their instruments that the musicians become biomechanical sentinels to convey the emotional ties with the musical sounds that are created with these mechanical objects.
I - Attraction (3:48) N/A
II - Anxiety (3:41) N/A
III - Obsession (3:12) N/A
Reifsteck: Prelude and Fugue in G minor
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Thu 7 Apr 2005
Prelude and Fugue in G minor (2:42) N/A
Reifsteck: Three Sunsets
Three Sunsets (22:13) N/A
Reifsteck: Earning the Muse N/A
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Sun 9 Jan 2011
When asked about the creative process in writing music, composers have often cited people, places, or a particular thing which inspire them to write. This muse gives the composer a plethora of ideas to sift through and the ability to string together thoughts, emotions, and patterns in a meaningful way. I have yet to discover what the one thing that inspires me to write is. Perhaps I have yet to earn my muse, but I have one particular compositional process which I tend to mine for ideas—dodecaphony. In the first movement of Earning the Muse, I present nine pitches of a tone row in one voice with the remaining three pitches completed by another voice. The first nine pitches reoccur throughout the movement and serve as the motivic device for the construct of the remainder of the work. While rooted in the twelve tone system, I do not take a serialistic approach. I infuse tonal influences with advanced chromaticism. The second movement is a meditation on the sonic possibilities derivative of combining various permutations of the original row form. On the surface it would seem that the music would be therefore void of harmonic progression and would result in nonsensical clusters of sound. Yet, I am amazed at the possibilities of finding natural sonic progressions. After all, a harmonic progression is merely a series of musical chords that "aims for a definite goal" of establishing (or contradicting) a tonal center—in this case a movable tonal center. In writing this piece, I came to the realization that while the twelve tone system strives to make all pitches equal, some pitches are more equal than others. The final movement of Earning the Muse explores this realization. In this movement, the full chromatic is used and constantly circulates, but permutational devices are ignored. Additionally, permutational devices are used but not on the full chromatic. Furthermore, overtly tonal progressions are also employed. Any form, aesthetic unity, and linear progressions which are perceived when hearing the work in its entirety has developed naturally by following this personally intuitive compositional method.
I - Invocation (3:41) N/A
II - Meditation (2:47) N/A
III - Revelation (3:07) N/A
Reifsteck: Sonatina N/A
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Sat 13 Mar 2004
I fondly remember as a young boy playing Sonatinas by Muzio Clementi. It wasn’t until my second semester of my undergraduate studies that I was reintroduced to Clementi’s piano music and became intrigued by the piece compositionally. Clementi’s compositions for piano often follow the most important principle of musical form, or formal type, from the Classical period well into the 20th century—the sonata form. A piece that utilizes the sonata-form consists of three main sections with a two-part tonal structure. The first part of a movement that utilizes the sonata-form is called the “exposition.” The second part of the structure is comprised of two sections, the “development” and the “recapitulation.” The exposition divides into two groups—the first one in the tonic and a second group in another key, most often the dominant as with my piece. Both the first and second groups include any number of different ideas. The musical idea in the first group is referred to as the primary theme. The musical idea in the second group is referred to as the secondary theme, whether or not it actually is the second important musical idea or not. The development acquires material from the exposition and is typically in the key of the dominant. The last part of the development prepares for the recapitulation modulating back to the tonic. The recapitulation begins with a return to the main theme. It then restates most or all of the significant material from the exposition, but the secondary theme is now in the key of the tonic. The movement concludes either with a cadence in the tonic paralleling the end of the exposition, or in the case of my composition, it concludes with a coda following the recapitulation. The second movement, Andante, models after the minuet, or French dance. This movement is in a moderate triple meter. Historically, minuets were one of the most popular social dances in aristocratic society from the mid-17th century to late 18th. It was used as an optional movement in Baroque suites. The minuet also appears in the multi-movement form of the sonata. Minuets are usually paired with a Trio or Scherzo. In my composition, however, I did not include the Scherzo movement. The last movement models after the rondo-form. The rondo is one of the most fundamental designs in music. Its structure consists of a series of sections, the first of which (the main section or ritornello) recurs in the home key. The subsidiary sections (couplets or episodes) travel out side of the tonal center—in my piece, the relative minor—before returning finally to conclude, or round off, the composition (ABACA).
I - Allegro (3:32) N/A
II - Andante (1:03) N/A
III - Rondo (2:17) N/A
Reifsteck: Nightscapes N/A
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Wed 23 Apr 2008
"Nightscapes" started out as an experiment in writing dodecaphony. It later turned into a four-movement work. The composition explores a deep range of human emotions that is realized in one particular night of dreaming. Although the twelve-tone technique is a means of ensuring that all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are played without giving preference to one particular pitch obscuring any sense of a tonal center, the use of dodecaphony in Nightscapes mimics that of functional harmony. Combining hexachords from multiple row forms often derives chords. Yet, the tone row chosen as the prime series is presented in its entirety from the onset of the piece in the bassoon. Invariant formations are also the side effect of derived rows from the prime series where a segment of a set remains similar or the same under transformation. These are used as "pivots" between set forms, giving emphasis to certain pitches. In practice, the "rules" of twelve-tone technique have been bent and broken many times in this work. For instance, in some sections, two or more tone rows may be heard progressing at once. There are also parts of the composition in which permutation devices are used but not on the full chromatic. Given the twelve pitch classes of the chromatic scale, there are infinite pitch combination possibilities despite the fact that many of these are merely transformation of other rows. The dodecaphonic system should only serve as a compositional devise. Artistic expression remains foremost.
I - Darkness Falls (2:22) N/A
II - Grieving, Remorse, Even Gladness (2:18) N/A
III - The Nightmare Begins (2:01) N/A
IV - Misguided Ominous Energy (2:21) N/A
Reifsteck: Excursions N/A
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Recording Date: Wed 23 Apr 2008
The exploration of caves is a most intriguing pastime. Although it can be a dangerous sport and often requires extensive training and ability to move through confined spaces, exploring below the earth’s surface can be an exhilarating and frightening experience. While I have never actually gone spelunking, the thought of discovering the earth’s beauty below the surface conjures the feeling of excitement. The thrill of eminent danger could be the ultimate rush for the human psyche. Our story begins with the piano playing the role of the experienced guide whose six-note motive derived from a twelve-tone row serves as a homing device for the two inexperienced tourists (the clarinetist and violinist). While the goal of the guide is to lead the others safely into the depths of the cave, the other two have different agendas in their day of exploration below the earth’s surface. Despite the tour guide’s best efforts to keep everyone together, the two other explorers feel confident in their ability to maneuver within the confined entry way and wander off in their own directions. Eventually realizing that they do not remember the way out of the cave, the clarinetist and violinist frantically search for the guide (the pianist). In their pursuit of their guide, the explorers encounter the cave dwellers who lead them deeper into the depths of the earth. Suddenly the cave begins to collapse and our doomed explorers realize there is no way out! Although the composition is based on the twelve-tone system, it does in fact have a tonal center of A. Permutations of the row forms do not necessarily adhere strictly to the rules of dodecaphony and often groups of pitches are extracted from splitting the matrix into four quadrants or derived from a six-note motive. This motive is also dispersed throughout the parts and further developed within the confines of the matrix. The second and third movement, however, present row forms in their entirety. In the third movement, the three instruments play off of each other until they converge in unison, which is a quote from the first movement. Then the clarinet and violin begin on the opposite ends of the matrix and work their way until they converge on the last note of the piece with the piano taking its pitches from the original row form. The work was not initially intended to be programmatic, but the story evolved as the composition took shape.
I - Into the Earth (5:39) N/A
II - Cave Dwellers (5:00) N/A
III - No Way Out (2:18) N/A
Reifsteck: Missa Cor Inflammatus N/A
Composer: Adam Reifsteck
Conductor: Karl Schrock
Recording Date: Fri 25 Apr 2008
Throughout history, composers have been drawn to the text of the Ordinary Mass for its inherent rhythmic structures derived from the pronunciation of the text as well as its distinctive formal structure. While tonal in nature and deriving influence from the Renaissance period, this setting of the Mass combines elements of traditional harmony and motivic development with chromaticism and tonal clusters. While the intent is that the work be performed in its entirety, it is divided into four distinct sections rather than the conventional six movements. The Gloria and Sanctus are extractable. In fact, in the first international performance of Missa Cor Inflammatus, only the Gloria and Sanctus movements were performed. Kyrie movements often have a structure that reflects the succinctness and symmetry of the text. Many have a ternary (ABA) form, where the two appearances of the phrase "Kyrie eleison" are comprised of identical or closely related material and frame a contrasting "Christe eleison" section. While there are certainly elements of symmetry in this setting, the phrases “Kyrie eleison” and “Christe eleison” were combined so that the setting becomes more organic than ternary in form and segues directly into the Gloria. The Gloria is a celebratory passage praising God and Christ. The Gloria incorporates ostinatos, canonic elements, and tonal clusters. The pronunciation of the text often dictates the rhythmic structure in this movement. Polyphony becomes more important in the Credo movement of this setting in order to combine large sections of text, while the Sanctus is a more atmospheric exploration of various sonorities. The Agnus Dei concludes the Mass with repetitions of the word "pacem," evoking peace and solitude.
I - Kyrie (2:40) N/A
II - Gloria (3:05) N/A
III - Credo (10:17) N/A
IV - Sanctus (3:13) N/A
V - Agnus Dei (3:31) N/A
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