The heart of the album, though, is dedicated to the Möbius Loop. Rosenblum wrote the piece at the end of his mother’s life and there’s a gravitas to the music that might be read as a meditation on death. But it’s not all grim: Möbius Loop also draws on an improvised tune by the composer’s seven-year old daughter and its appearance provides one of the piece’s most striking moments. I came away more impressed by the immediacy of the quartet version, though the brilliant colors of the expanded orchestral setting have a power of their own; it’s telling to have both on one disc, as the affect each gives off is quite different, one version to the next.
In all these performances, Rose again draws bold performances from BMOP. This is an orchestra that’s in the habit of making convincing arguments for just about everything it plays and they do so again here.
The original incarnation of Möbius Loop features the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, for whom the piece was written. The group has all the music’s quirks and gestures easily in hand, and navigate Rosenblum’s swirling eddies of notes with surety and sensitivity.
“Get swept away by the majestic musicality of Mathew Rosenblum: Möbius Loop. Presented by Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the three-part concerto borrows notes from classical, free jazz, rock, minimalism, folk, and world music traditions. Gil Rose conducted baritone saxophonist Kenneth Coon, percussionist Lisa Pegher, and the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet to create the beautiful sound.
Thanks to a nod from Frank J. Oteri on MewMusicBox, I’ve belatedly discovered this gem of a disc from Pittsburgh composer Mathew Rosenblum, represented by three works (one in two versions) that mix surreal microtonal scales, seductive melodies and bubbly rhythms with disarming ease and confident charm.”-
University of Pittsburgh professor Mathew Rosenblum’s tribute to Sigurd Raschèr, as aptly interpreted by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project with direction by Gil Rose, serves as an appropriate homage to the famed classical saxophonist. The release also displays traces of other prominent 20th-century composers peeking around the corner; Karlheinz Stockhausen comes immediately to mind. Much like Béla Bartok’s foray as ethnomusicologist by way of composition, Rosenblum juggles genres and styles, mixing and matching fragmented components like swatches of cloth within an aural quilt. The result is a pleasant mélange of colors and shapes with a wide array of scales and opulent percussive trickery. Opening track “Sharpshooter” beckons with hushed pizzicato flourishes that flare with abbreviated aplomb. Fear not — though the dizzying array of atonal notes within the five-movement piece “Double Concerto” harken back to Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, there is still enough of a traditionalist’s vibe to hold the experimental concepts at bay.