1 800 222 6872

Bruce Wolosoff: Songs without Words; 18 Divertimenti

Album Summary

>Wolosoff, Bruce : Songs Without Words, for ensemble
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'Bruce Wolosoff's music is beautiful, very musical, independent-minded stylistically,' declares no less a luminary than William Bolcom. The eighteen Songs Without Words on this disc are true 'genre busters', amiably crossing musical borders between popular and classical music and walking the lines that divide them. Such eclecticism requires superbly laid-back compositional control, and demands equally accomplished and relaxed performance. 'Imagine my newfound joy at the possibility of writing music that my friends might want to listen to for pleasure,' Wolosoff declared on hearing the Carpe Diem String Quartet's enthusiastically fun-filled interpretations.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: First Community Church, Grandview, OH (10/13/2008-10/15/2008).


Beautiful and consistently upbeat 'songs' don't need 'words'!
The new Naxos CD, "Songs Without Words", string quartet by Bruce Wolosoff is a revelation. I had never heard of Mr. Wolosoff nor any of his music until this release. This collection of eighteen pieces, with intriguing titles, like "Dancing on my Grave", "Creepalicious" or "Cat Scratch Fever" (yes... a reference to Ted Nugent!) is easy to listen to and easy to like. Wolosoff explains in the package notes that Charles Wetherbee, violinist with the present performers; the Carpe Diem Quartet, asked Bruce to write some music for their ensemble that was intentionally rock and jazz base. Wolosoff already had a developing reputation in and around upper New York as someone with an open, accessible and tuneful style of writing with a youthful focus (as his work with aspiring high school composers and performers at his Hayground School attests) Sure enough, the pieces on this disc have their sonic genealogy in blues, rock, country, "bluegrass" and so forth. Each piece is skillfully played with an obvious enthusiasm by the Carpe Diem group who clearly "seize the day" in preparing music that sounds both through composed and concert hall like and quite improvisatory and pop sounding. I enjoyed all these little gems but some in particular. There is an almost Copland like serenity and 'down home' feel to lyrical works like "The Letter" or his "Young Love". However, it is impossible not to like the irreverent abandon one hears in works like "Getting Down" or "Creepalicious" - which Wolosoff admits was intended as a sort of near atonal, creepy Halloween piece! Some of these works are directly connected in a bit of tribute to popular groups like 'Queen' ("Reverence") and "Fire and Ice" with its almost "metal" like intro. Wolosoff also admits that, unlike most traditional concert hall composing, the works were completely 'played and composed' before he actually notated and printed them. This music is not intended to be played and thought of in the same context as most "classical" string quartets. However, Carpe Diem's commissions and performances show that - like other ensembles that play a certain amount of "crossover"music, like Kronos or Turtle Island, there is a need for high quality, populist repertory. In fact, Wolosoff's work with young musicians reminds me that some of these pieces sound "easy enough" for a skilled group of high school musicians to take on and they would do so with fervor! That might be another unintended happy consequence of writing music that is well planned, clever and "audience friendly" Wolosoff's music is, indeed, quite a bit not like any other concert hall composer's and I am glad to become acquainted with it!
Submitted on 12/02/10 by Dan Coombs 
Login or Create an Account to write a review

Also Purchased

Works Details

>Wolosoff, Bruce : Songs Without Words, for ensemble
  • Ensemble: Carpe Diem String Quartet
  • Notes: First Community Church, Grandview, OH (10/13/2008-10/15/2008)
  • Running Time: 53 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Vocal