Web Site: http://www.markgustavson.com

Bio: American composer of music.

Posts by Mark:

    Air—Music for Yoga

    June 17th, 2014

    yogaIf you have a yoga practice and you are a musician, a music lover or have a sensitivity to sound and music, you may find the somewhat random collections of mismatched music and sounds during a class to be irksome. Perhaps, too, you have experienced instructors who structure (intentionally or unintentionally) the energy of a class in such a way as to resemble an asymmetrical arch or reminiscent of a musical form whose peak occurs at about 70% through.

    With these observations in mind, I decided to compose a one hour piece of music for a yoga class for two live soloists (clarinet and violin) improvising at various points during a digital track of processed acoustic and digital sounds. It is titled Air and is utilitarian music.

    During the summer I will announce outdoor yoga events that will use this piece with live soloists. Listen to a 5:40 clip of clarinet improvisation and digital sounds that occur at the 8:40 mark of the piece.

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    Finally, the Finale of Schoenberg’s “Serenade”

    April 26th, 2014

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    Listen to the seventh and last movement, Finale of Schoenberg’s “Serenade.”

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    Enjoy.

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    Schoenberg’s Serenade, Lied (ohne Worte)

    April 25th, 2014

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    Listen to the sixth movement, Lied, from Arnold Schoenberg’s “Serenade”, performed by University of Illinois faculty and students, 1981.

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    Schoenberg’s Serenade, Tanzscene

    March 13th, 2014

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    Fifth installment, Tanzscene, from Schoenberg’s “Serenade” performed by students and faculty of the University of Illinois, Bill DeFotis, conductor:

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    I am sure many have noticed this before but I noticed it while I was making the mp3. When I heard the final three chords I distinctly heard the ghost of Petrushka:

    final-chords-of-tanzscene

    The first chord at measure 199 is a “Petrushka” chord (Db +11) voiced in a cluster, followed by a mutated “Petrushka” chord, that is, rather than two major chords a tritone apart (Db major and G major) it is two minor chords a tritone apart (Eb minor and A minor). The final chord is the first chord but voiced differently. For theory geeks, the two chords are complimentary hexachords.

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    Schoenberg’s Serenade, Sonett #217 von Petrarca

    March 8th, 2014

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    Listen to the fourth movement, Sonett #217 von Petrarca.

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    Schoenberg’s Serenade, Variationen

    March 7th, 2014

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    Listen to installment #3, Variationen.
    Bill DeFotis, conductor; Gary Grossman, clarinet; Mark Gustavson, bass clarinet; Larry Polansky, mandolin; Arun Chandra, guitar; John Garvey, violin; Nancy Thomas, viola; and Sarah Wiseman, cello.

    This May, 1981 recording session at University of Illinois involved a single take of each movement.

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    Schoenberg’s Serenade, Menuett

    March 6th, 2014

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    Installment number two, Menuett:

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    Schoenberg’s Serenade, op. 24

    March 5th, 2014

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    In May of 1981 a group of musicians from the University of Illinois led by the late Bill DeFotis recorded Arnold Schoenberg’s Serenade, op.24 after performing it on a number of occasions. After 32 years I have a copy of the recording.

    In addition to Bill’s great understanding of the music this recording also has the legendary John Garvey, former violist of the Walden Quartet, playing the violin part (with a pipe in his mouth at most rehearsals). The ensemble was rounded off with Gary Grossman, clarinet; myself on bass clarinet; Nancy Thomas, viola; Sarah Wiseman, cello; Arun Chandra, guitar; Larry Polansky, mandolin; and unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the singer.

    Eventually, I will post all seven movements. Here is the opening movement, Marsch:

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    Hymn to the Vanished for clarinet and piano Premieres Tonight

    February 15th, 2014

    I will give the first performance of my Hymn to the Vanished for clarinet and piano with Jad Bernardo at Adelphi University tonight:

    Adelphi Distinguished Faculty in Concert

    The original Hymn to the Vanished is for string orchestra.

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    Another Review of Dissolving Images

    January 3rd, 2014

    This review is from the current January/February, 2014 issue of American Record Guide:

    GUSTAVSON: Chamber Music
    Theresa Fream, Esther Noh, Sharon Polifrone,
    Cyrus Stevens, v; Keith Conant, va; Christopher
    Finckel, John Popham, Kim Scholes, vc; Margaret
    Lancaster, Keith Underwood, fl; Edward Gilmore,
    Vasko Dukovski, Alan Kay, cl; James Rogers, trb;
    Lisa Moore, Stephen Gosling, Christopher Oldfather, pno;
    Richard Carrick, Anthony Korf , cond;
    Albany 1424—78 minutes

    Brooklyn-born clarinetist-composer Mark
    Gustavson offers a collection of his chamber
    music from the late 1980s through the late
    1990s, recorded here with three different New
    York groups over a span of 20 years. Inspired
    by the improvisation aesthetic in jazz and
    Southeast Asian music, Gustavson strives for
    an atmosphere of seemingly spontaneous
    sound and rhythm even in very strict notation.
    The program includes Dissolving Images
    (1986) for solo piano; Jag (1991) for a sextet of
    violin, cello, flute, clarinet, trombone, and
    piano; a full-length four-movement 
    Quintet (1993); Trickster (1997) for unaccompanied
    clarinet; and A Fool’s Journey (1999), a
    two-movement quasi-programmatic sextet for
    violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano, and percussion.

    New York City clarinetist and sound engineer
    Edward Gilmore leads string quartet Con-
    Tempo in the clarinet Quintet and stands
    alone in Trickster. Australian-born avant-garde
    pianist Lisa Moore opens the recital with Dissolving
    Images. The group Either/Or performs
    Jag, and the musicians of Parnassus play their
    own commission, A Fool’s Journey.

    Gustavson’s music fuses modernist gestures
    with an Expressionist aesthetic. Each
    score simmers with emotional vigor, from nervous
    quiet murmurs to sudden violent outbursts.
    The often abstract harmonic language,
    though, requires a high level of professionalism
    to transcend. While all the performers
    bring enthusiasm and commitment, the level
    of sonic refinement varies greatly. Some players
    have complete control of their craft, others
    not so much, and so appreciation of Gustavson’s
    efforts can be difficult.

    Clarinetists interested in the quintet and
    the unaccompanied Trickster, for example, will
    welcome Gilmore’s expressive vision but may
    be turned off by his much too free-blowing
    set-up and his persistently spread tone. At the
    same time, though, pianists who check out
    Dissolving Images will be impressed by
    Moore’s exquisite touch, riveting musicianship,
    and thorough command of the keyboard.
    Patrick Hanudel

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