Composer Scott Wollschleger to Release Debut Portrait Album SOFT ABERRATION
On Friday, October 20, 2017, composer Scott Wollschleger releases his debut portrait album, Soft Aberration, on New Focus Recordings.
Wollschleger's distinct musical language has been described as "evocative" and "kaleidoscopic" by The New York Times and explores themes of art in dystopia, the conceptualization of silence, synesthesia, and creative repetition in form.
The album features his compositions Brontal Symmetry (2015), Soft Aberration (2013), Bring Something Incomprehensible into This World (2015), America (2013), and White Wall (2013) performed by Longleash, the Mivos Quartet, pianist Karl Larson, violist Anne Lanzilotti, soprano Corrine Byrne, and trumpeter Andy Kozar.
Each piece on Soft Aberration was commissioned by the performer and written specifically for their musical personality. The liner notes are written by Anne Lanzilotti and feature her impressions of the works and an interview with Wollschleger.
Performed on this album and commissioned by Longleash (Pala Garcia, John Popham, Renate Rohlfing), Brontal Symmetry is comprised of a series of discarded scraps of music from other pieces, here introduced in a memory game. The word "brontal" embodies Wollschleger's aesthetic: the idea that we can create art that is very basic and human by discovering the sensation of an object. An "expert young trio" praised for its "subtle and meticulous musicianship" (The Strad), Longleash is a group with a traditional instrumentation and a progressive identity, who has quickly earned a reputation in the US and abroad for innovative programming, artistic excellence, and new music advocacy.
Of Soft Aberration, performed on the album by violist and executive producer Anne Lanzilotti and Bearthoven pianist Karl Larson, for whom the piece was written, Wollschleger says, "This is a piece about imitation, but rather than sharing identical musical material, I imagined each instrument as a damaged reflective surface which projects a kind of 'broken echo' between the two instruments. In some sense, the piano wants to 'see itself' in the viola's music and the viola wants the same from the piano." An active composer-performer, Lanzilotti has performed with Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble E?chappe?, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). She teaches at University of Northern Colorado School of Music and is a co-founder and Artistic Consultant for Kalikolehua - El Sistema Hawai'i. Brooklyn based pianist Karl Larson, praised for his "thoughtful" and "fervent" performances by The New York Times, is a sought after musician dedicated to the performance and cultivation of contemporary music. Recent collaborations include his work with Bearthoven, whose debut record Trios was released on Cantaloupe Music in May 2017, and Ashley Bathgate, with whom he released Restless, a record of Ken Thomson's compositions, in October 2016.
Coming out of the deterioration of musical dialogue that ends Soft Aberration, Bring Something Incomprehensible into This World, performed here by commissioners soprano Corrine Byrne and trumpeter Andy Kozar, explores the sound of language itself. The text, originally "Bring something incomprehensible into the world!" is from the philosopher Gilles Deleuze in reference to Heinrich Von Kleist. Wollschleger says, "I think of the title as a very affirmative statement of what I personally think the goal of art should be: rendering something into existence that is inconceivable before it happens. That to me is the most powerful thing I can imagine doing with my energy." Soprano Corrine Byrne has quickly become a celebrated singer and interpreter of repertoire from the Medieval to the Baroque era, and music by today's most daring contemporary composers. Andy Kozar is a New York City based trumpeter, improviser, composer and educator who is a founding member of the contemporary music quartet loadbang and a member of TILT Brass, and has performed with several new music ensembles including Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble ACJW, Wet Ink, and Mark Gould's Pink Baby Monster.
Wollschleger's America, performed on the album by cellist John Popham, is a reflection on the desolation of the country. In the liner notes, Lanzilotti likens it to Glenn Ligon's Double America 2 (2014) sculpture for neon and paint, in which the word AMERICA in large capital letters is inverted under itself and flickers slightly, unstable. John Popham's playing has been described as "warm but variegated", and "finely polished" by The New York Times. Currently a member of the piano trio Longleash and the Either/Or Ensemble, he has performed internationally with such ensembles as Klangforum Wien, Argento Chamber Ensemble, and the Talea Ensemble.
In White Wall, performed here by the Mivos Quartet, we hear the "breathing" of the four instruments as they are activated by white noise. The breathing turns into humming, slowly creating a melody. As this "song" emerges from the white noise, it begins to dance around the fluttering creatures that surround it. The Mivos Quartet, "one of America's most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles" (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing the works of contemporary composers, presenting new music to diverse audiences. Since the quartet's beginnings in 2008, they have performed works by emerging and established international composers who represent varied aesthetics of contemporary composition.
Scott Wollschleger (b. 1980) is a composer who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Much of Wollschleger's music features a sense of "timeless lyricism," something that avant-garde jazz pianist and blogger Ethan Iverson (Do the Math Blog) described as "the highlight of the disc" in his enthusiastic review of Wollschleger's Brontal No. 3, on Barbary Coast, a 2014 New Focus Recordings release. His concert works can be heard across the US and the world, most recently featured at the International Music Institute at Darmstadt, MATA Festival Interval Series, and the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento. His critically acclaimed piano concerto, Meditation on Dust, was recently performed by pianist Karl Larson alongside Bang on a Can Festival fellows at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. His apocalyptic monodrama, We Have Taken and Eaten, was featured on NPR's Arts & Letters. Upcoming projects include commissions from Metropolis Ensemble with violinist Rachel Lee Priday in collaboration with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and Third Angle Music.
Following lightly in the footsteps of the New York School, Wollschleger received his Masters of Music in composition from Manhattan School of Music in 2005, where he studied with Nils Vigeland. Wollschleger's work is published by Project Schott New York.
1. Brontal Symmetry (2015) - 14:27
Longleash (Pala Garcia, violin | John Popham, cello | Renate Rohlfing, piano)
2. Soft Aberration (2013) - 13:32
Anne Lanzilotti, viola | Karl Larson, piano
Bring Something Incomprehensible into This World (2015)
3. PART I - 6:39
5. PART II - 3:25
8. PART III - 1:43
Andy Kozar, trumpet | Corrine Byrne, soprano
4. America (2013) - 8:00
John Popham, cello
White Wall (2013)
6. PART I - 11: 56
7. PART II - 7: 31
Mivos Quartet (Olivia De Prato, violin | Josh Modney, violin | Victor Lowrie, viola | Mariel Roberts, cello)
*Note: Tracks 3, 5, 8 are published together as a single continuous composition without movement breaks; tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 were recorded between October 2014 and November 2016 at Oktaven Audio in Yonkers, New York; and tracks 6 and 7 were recorded May 12 at Sear Sound in New York City.