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Andrew Violette: Sonata for the Creation of the World

Album Summary

>Violette, Andrew : Sonata for the Creation of the World, for organ
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Andrew Violette premieres the first of a three CD series, beginning with Creation From Nothing, on the legendary Steere four manual at the Baptist Temple in Brooklyn, NYC. The rich, warm diapasons and tender reeds of this inviting instrument (lovingly reconstructed by curator Keith Bigger) can be heard no more. Shortly after the recording a fire destroyed this unique organ.

An "unsung maverick among New York composers" (The New Yorker), Mr. Violette is difficult to place stylistically. Allan Kozinn (NY Times) writes, [He's] "a romantic with Minimalist leanings, although his language does not easily fit into either category." According to Richard Dyer (Boston Globe), "his music... lives at the point of paradox - organized with mathematical precision... it develops complex ideas through minimalist repetitions. It traverses a wide universe of techniques, styles, and dynamics, clamorous sounds and shuddering silences but the cumulative effect is unified, mystical and ecstatic."

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Joe Patrych Studio, Baptist Temple, Brooklyn, NYC (2011).


Creation of what world? On beautiful Steere instrument in Brooklyn
A nonconformist in the world of organ composition, Andrew Violette has embarked upon a lengthy work with an impressive title. The cover immediately warns the unwary listener of mysteries on the enclosed CDs. To hear the lovely strings, nice reed, and mellow flutes on the Steere Organ of Baptist Temple in Brooklyn is an occasion for rejoicing, especially since this may be the last recording before it was damaged by fire in July 2010.

Mr. Violette has studied at prestigious schools, inviting serious consideration of his work. But to hear this Sonata is to submit to unintelligible musical confusion with the hope of a final conclusion somewhere and soon. Instead of an informative booklet, notes by Bruce Posner are posted online in illegible format—the curious reader despairs of learning more before re-formatting the extensive text.

Having the title spread across the three discs is clever formatting. The tracks are listed directly on the CDs, but of course are not visible while the CD is playing. Content is another matter: CD1 includes “from nothing” and “Light”, inviting the listener to recall stories about the creation of the earth. The listener loses interest, however, because of the lack of structure. There is a nice reed in “Light” with a wandering melody, but there is no progression or finality. In CD2 “The Days”, the pretty tremolo is used again with light stops. “Dance of Joy” is more energetic, but seems to run wild before it ends. CD3 “Thanksgiving” enters with hymn-like determination, but eventually wanders away.

New composers have historically struggled to find popularity when “pushing the boundaries” of composition. Perhaps Mr. Violette might successfully explore a more modest topic before tackling the world’s emergence from the void.

Submitted on 01/12/12 by howsweetthesound 
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Works Details

>Violette, Andrew : Sonata for the Creation of the World, for organ
  • Performer: Andrew Violette (Organ)
  • Running Time: 191 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary