I am a tonal composer, who wishes to communicate the visions of the world as I see them through the language of music. Whatever style I need to employ, will spontaneously speak through whatever style is necessary to convey my vision. Though I pride myself as being able to write anything, I am a classicist of our time, just dealing in a longer sustained form of expression.
We are the culmination of everything that has happened before and what is first to happen.
Theme and variation is a very interesting concept, beyond the obvious spin one ultimately applies to the main theme, one can’t deny all the previous experiences one will draw upon from consciously and subliminally. There are many brilliant examples of theme and variation, but the granddaddy of them all is THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS, by Johann Sebastian Bach, which remains the benchmark for anyone who chooses to indulge in the form, let alone counterpoint.
THE ROSENBERGER VARIATIONS use the Goldberg as a model with the main theme at the beginning and the end bracketing the interior variations. The main theme, a fanfare, was written ten years ago in New York City. The variations were written in 1998 in the village of Nuzerov (meaning chestnut village), a just outside the town of Susice, in Sumava (meaning “wind through the trees”), The Czech Republic, as follows: Number 1-Reggae, May 28th; Number 2-Augmented 9, May 23rd; Number 3-Rhythm & Blues Waltz, May 23rd & June 4th; Number 4-Minor Mode, May 21st; Number 5-Rock ‘n’ Roll, June 4th; Number 6-The Romantique, June 7th-8th; Number 7-Be-Bop, June 12th-13th; Number 8-Pizzacato, June 13th; Number 9-Fugue, June 12th-14th; Number 10-Merengue, June 18th; Number 11-March, June 18th-19th; Number 12-Viennese Waltz, June 21st; Number 13-Etude, June 24th, 27th-28th; Number 14-Funk, June 24th, July 1st-2nd; Number 15, July 11th-13th.
Irmgard Hess Rosenberger is an octogenarian who remembers the way music was before the advent of serial composition, an etude taken far too seriously in my opinion, and with it the truncation of the sustenuto phrase. Embraced by the politically intimidating academic camp, it also began the excuse for pseudo-intellectualism. Creators now found it necessary to get into effectualism to appear original, and more important, to talk about their work rather than to let the work simply explain itself in performance. The subsequent lack of willingness to communicate with the audience all but alienated our contemporary audience, leaving them with hardly any interest in classical music at all!
Irmgard’s father, Alfred Hess, was the concertmaster of the Frankfurt Philharmonic Orchestra; her uncle Frederick was the principal cellist for the original Chicago Orchestra, which was to change its name to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her uncle Willy was the director of the Royal High School for Music in Berlin. It is not surprising that such notables as Max Bruch and Richard Strauss stayed in her home. A Renaissance woman, who is equally alarmed by how the classical elite has all but thumbed its nose at the audience, befriended me (and my music). She has a deep passion for the arts and donated a million dollar Judaica collection of her late husband, Ludwig, to the University of Chicago Library. She feels it is her job as a teacher, let alone her duty as a humanitarian, to offer a connection between the wisdom of her generation and later generations. May the synergy she has created be contagious!
Those who only see the deficit in their lives will live in an empty world. Those who recognize the assets will live with endless possibilities.
The Spanish Synagogue was built on the site where, according to the records, the oldest Jewish home of prayer in Prague, The Old School, used to stand, dating back to the 11th or 12th century. During the Nazi Occupation, the synagogue was used as a storage place for the belongings stolen from the Jews. Following the war, services were again held but were discontinued in1948. Between 1960 and 1979, under the aegis of the State Jewish Museum, the Spanish Synagogue became the location for a permanent exhibition of synagogical textiles. The building was then closed due to need for urgent repairs. These, however, were not carried out and, with the resulting neglect, the damage worsened to the point that the building’s existence was at risk.
On November 25, 1998, nineteen years later, during the hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the building’s construction, the newly renovated synagogue opened as a cultural center for artistic ideas, and a museum of Moravian and Czech Jewish history, as well as a place for meditation. I was honored to have the world premiere of THE ROSENBERGER VARIATIONS be part of the opening festivities.
For those of us that believe…
The Renaissance is upon us!
It has always been funny to me to experience the vast whole in my psyche after finishing a work, the post-partum depression that inevitably sets in. After finishing the variations, I tried to distract myself by working on two different libretti ideas I had for an opera, but was growing only more restless and annoying to be with. My wife Yitka, most likely out her own frustration with me, said, “Why don’t you write another string quartet?” I thought, “Yah right! … thanks a lot.” She continued, “… something romantic … for me.” I blew it off. But after two weeks of driving everyone around me more and more crazy, and especially myself, there I was writing THE ROMANTIC, for my wife, who truly deserved it. I completed it in fifteen days.