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Robert Carl (b.1954): Symphony No. 4; Chamber Concerto; The World Turned Upside Down; The Geography of Loss / Christopher Ladd, guitar; Dan Hartington, guitar; Brian Nekoloff, clarinet; Jess Turner, trumpet; Cihan Yucel, piano; and more

Album Summary

>Carl, Robert : Symphony no 4 ("The Ladder")
>Carl, Robert : Chamber Concerto for guitar & 10 instruments ("The Calm Bee in the Busy Hive")
>Carl, Robert : The World Turned Upside Down, for orchestra
>Carl, Robert : The Geography of Loss, for soprano, baritone, chorus & ensemble
Performers Conductors Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Imagine, if you will, a busy, furiously humming beehive, and, within it, a calm, meditative bee. The image comes from only one work on this disc, and yet it seems curiously apropos to so much of Robert Carl's (b. 1954) music. There is a still center in his music, even at its modernist rowdiest. In his music dissonance and rhythmic complexity do not connote anxiety, fear, violence, but rather the overflow of the exuberant noise that springs up from the ground of life. His music embraces extremes of simplicity and complexity, which in his vision interpenetrate each other. Symphony No. 4 (2008), one of his best and most ambitious works, is a score often dense with polyrhythms and dissonant counterpoint. Its subtitle is "The Ladder," and the ladder in this case is the harmonic series, the series of overtones that arises naturally as you move your finger along a piano or guitar string while playing it. Two pieces on this disc were born from the sense of loss following the deaths of both of Carl's parents, in quick succession. The less obvious one is the Chamber Concerto for Guitar, subtitled "The Calm Bee in the Busy Hive" (2009 - 10). The ten-member ensemble includes a second guitar, and both guitars are tuned to a scordatura that facilitates a harmonic series on E: E - G# - D - F# - Bb - F. The other is The Geography of Loss (2010), whose form is an alternation of choral and instrumental movements with the chorus and instruments together in two movements and a baritone solo and soprano solo, respectively, in each of those movements. Written considerably earlier than the other works on this disc, The World Turned Upside Down (2000) is somewhat in a different idiom, but Carl considers it a turning point in his output, and its coda the initiation of the harmonic-series practice. Overall, this group of pieces leads us through an enormous diversity of idioms, and Carl has never been one to cultivate a single well-defined style and stick to it. Yet if one listens with an ear for his procedure of shifting from one harmonic series to another, the underlying unity is perceptible, and the disc as a whole gives us a striking picture of one of one of the most remarkable of early 21st-century composers.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Belding Theater, Hartford (01/19/2011); The Hartt School (01/19/2011); The Lincoln Theater, Hartford, Connecticut (01/19/2011); The Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua, NYC (01/19/2011); The Belding Theater, Hartford (02/20/2009); The Hartt School (02/20/2009); The Lincoln Theater, Hartford, Connecticut (02/20/2009); The Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua, NYC (02/20/2009); The Belding Theater, Hartford (03/09/2013); The Hartt School (03/09/2013); The Lincoln Theater, Hartford, Connecticut (03/09/2013); The Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua, NYC (03/09/2013); The Belding Theater, Hartford (03/31/2005); The Hartt School (03/31/2005); The Lincoln Theater, Hartford, Connecticut (03/31/2005); The Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua, NYC (03/31/2005).



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Works Details

>Carl, Robert : Symphony no 4 ("The Ladder")
  • Conductor: Christopher Zimmerman
  • Ensemble: Hartt Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 21 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 2008

>Carl, Robert : Chamber Concerto for guitar & 10 instruments ("The Calm Bee in the Busy Hive")
  • Performers: Michael Anderson (Vibraphone); Dan Hartington (Guitar); Gwyneth Hayneth (Violin); Haley Hewitt (Harp); Laura Krentzman (Viola); Christopher Ladd (Guitar); Brian Nekoloff (Clarinet); Haeyoon Shin (Cello); Michelle Stockman (Flute); Jess Turner (Trumpet); Cihan Yucel (Piano)
  • Conductor: Matthew Aubin
  • Ensemble: KHORIKOS
  • Running Time: 16 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2009-2010

>Carl, Robert : The World Turned Upside Down, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Christopher Zimmerman
  • Running Time: 9 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1999

>Carl, Robert : The Geography of Loss, for soprano, baritone, chorus & ensemble
  • Performers: Brian Coughlin (Double Bass); Benjamin Fingland (Clarinet); Jolle Greenleaf (Soprano); Terry Keevil (Oboe); Pauline Kim (Violin); Catie Longhi (Viola); Ian Rosenbaum (Percussion); Caroline Soonett (Flute); Caroline Soonett (Piccolo); Leigh Stuart (Cello); Vince Vincent
  • Conductor: Jesse Peckham
  • Ensemble: Khorikos
  • Running Time: 24 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2010