Entertainment :: Music

Holy War X

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Thursday Nov 14, 2013
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The Rodreig Ensemble, led by their namesake, American flutist Mark Rodrieg, has released a fascinating and cerebral new recording of music, both old and new, under the heading of "classical music." The song selection is interesting, and the execution is effective. Rodrieg’s voice, both aural and written, is worth the listen.

The first three selections on "Holy War X" are dedicated to a composer who many consider the first to veer away from the "traditional" traits of classical music, Claude Debussy. His "Syrinx 2," written in 1913, provides a benchmark for Rodrieg’s musical choices throughout this recording, appearing again in several passages of Rodrieg’s own triptych, the title track which concludes the recording. In his 2011 composition, "Holy War X," there exhibits a fine example of a possible evolution of how modern music can be redefined in the 21st century. The three-movement work is written not only for flute(s) and string quarter, but also contains audio samples by both former presidents named Bush, and uses turntables. The effect is highly accessible, and should be picked up by any commercial radio program.

The disk further includes a trio by the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), which gives ample technical opportunities for all three members of the Rodreig Ensemble, which include cellist Maya Bogdanovic and pianist Julien Gernay. "Evocation for Solo Flute," a 1959 composition by American Harold Laudenslager, is included for Rodrieg to reinforce his opinions about the need to blur the definition of tonality in "classical music" today.

Of particular note (pun intended), are the disk’s Liner Notes, written by Rodrieg himself, which are a detailed and highly intellectual explanation of his philosophy towards the scope of the music chosen for the recording, and their position in the music of the past 100 years. Rodrieg is articulate, and his voice, whether in performance or in prose, deserves attention.

"Holy War X
Rodrieg Ensemble
CD and digital formats
Solo Musica (Germany)

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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