Noah Marconi: Mutations of Whispers - III. Harmony Loop (world premiere)
I Hartt Cello September 16th, 2018 University of Hartford, The Hartt School, CT Benjamin Stayner, cellist Noah Marconi, composer This is the final movement, Harmony Loops, of a three-movement, 31 minute, piece for cello and electronics. Program notes by the composer: "As Douglas Hofstadter demonstrates in his book, "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid", life is made up of recursion, strange loops, and fantastic paradoxes of logic. Like in life, our own mind too becomes prey to these devastating recursive loops, especially in times of personal tragedy. Our mind blames, and then blames itself for such an act — spiraling into self-loathing. It is a perilous state of being, one that I have found myself all too frequently visiting. It takes strength and courage to leap out of the loop, and if it is done, can lead to great personal growth. The journey from chaos to order is a natural story of life. It is found everywhere: in music through dissonance and consonance, in painting through symmetry and asymmetry, and even in the daily occurrences of our emotions through sadness and happiness.This journey is an elemental reality to our lives and this piece seeks to represent it."
Michael Stubblefield: Gambling with the Devil (world premiere)
I Hartt Cello September 16th, 2018 University of Hartford, The Hartt School, CT Benjamin Stayner, cellist Michael Stubblefield, composer Program notes by the composer: "The piece is about temptation and how we all face it. The piece pictures a scenario of someone resisting temptation from their shoulder devil. As they continue to resist, the devil tries harder and harder to get them to submit. Ultimately, the individual fully resists temptation and feels a sense of freedom and victory, but not without knowing that the devil and his temptation will return sooner or later. I saw this as an opportunity to use a variety of techniques I had learned during the summer of 2018, including fixed media, spoken text, and extended string techniques. The fixed media features voices using spoken texts. The texts are a variety of phrases that show temptation and peer pressure, along with excerpts from the Temptation of Christ, in order to give the piece a sense of narration. The solo cello responds to the spoken texts, using extended techniques such as pressure, microtones, and extended sul ponticello to build tension as one resists temptation. The piece concludes with a free, modal theme from the cello, followed by one last statement from the fixed media."