Dane Rudhyar: "Advent" "Crisis and Overcoming" : Kronos String Quartet (David Harrington, John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, cello". Notes by Leyla Rael.
Dane Rudhyar (b. Paris, March 23, 1895) came to New York to supervise the musical aspect of a festival of avant garde dance rituals that included poetic recitation, color and incense. On the day of the festival performance at the Metropolitan Opera, April 2, 1917, the U.S. entered World War I. Rudhyar nevertheless, remained in America, for since the age of 16, he had envisioned it as the "New World" -- a land not merely of economic opportunity, but of deeply spiritual potentialities.
The first stage of his unusual musical career produced works for piano, chamber music, "Soul Fire" for orchestra (which won a $1,000 Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra prize), "The Surge of Fire" for chamber orchestra with three pianos, and music for the Hollywood Pilgrimage Play. After study of Oriental philosophy and music, Rudhyar's second musical period began in 1924 with the writing of his four "Pentagrams", nine "Tetragrams", Granites and Paeans for piano, the orchestral "Ouranos", "Sinfonietta", and "Five Stanzas" for string orchestra.
Starting in the Great Depression, Rudhyar devoted many years to writing about a new synthesis of depth-psychology and astrology, publishing some 35 books and over a thousand articles.
In the late forties, several pianists discovered Rudhyar's works published in old copies of Henry Cowell's "New Music Editions", and in response to this renascence of interest in his music, Rudhyar undertook to revise and complete some unfinished works. Since his move to Palo Alto in 1976, at the age of 80, he has been composing with renewed energy. Begun and completed with impressive rapidity have been several long piano works (Transmutation, Theurgy, Autumn, Three Cantos, Epic Poem); Nostalgia, a quintet for alto flute, piano and strings, (premiered in June 1979 by the new music group Relache, in New York); Dialogues, a work for chamber orchestra; Encounter, for piano solo and orchestra, plus the two string quartets written for the Kronos Quartet, ADVENT and CRISIS AND OVERCOMING. The former is dedicated to the Kronos Quartet, the latter to Betty Freeman.
Rudhyar's musical personality does not fit easily into the rapidly changing scenery of musical styles and fashions. In his music he expresses powerfully and with great intensity--though also with a rare tenderness and deep inner peace--only one aspect of his complex creative nature. Other aspects are more apparent in his poetry, his paintings, his two published novels and in his vast collection of philosophical and astro-psychological writings.
Rudhyar's music is not formal in the classical European sense, nor may it be called neo-romantic or expressionistic. He has many times expressed dislike for the intellectualized development of themes and the "interminable" length of symphonies that "try to extract from some initial statement every possible arrangement of notes still somehow referable to it." Rudhyar's music is instead direct, open-ended, and intent on producing psychic transformation or evoking deeper qualities of feeling. He has expressed his musical credo as follows"
"The purpose of my music is to communicate states of consciousness and experiences of inner processes which, at least, in some instances, transcend personal reactions. It is to stimulate sensitive human beings through vibrant tones and expressive melodies into feeling and living more intensely and deeply, and not merely in terms of traditional aesthetic responses. I have no interest in manufacturing musical objects, whose form is apparent mainly through the intellectual analysis of a written score and which conforms to models built during a period for whose culture and traditions I have no sympathy. Neither have I ever followed the dictates of musical fashion (such as neoclassicism or Schoenberg's atonalism, or today certain types of intellectual avant garde procedures, valuable as they may be as experiments).
The two quartets ADVENT and CRISIS AND OVERCOMING recorded here, though differing in substance, are linked in terms of a psychic process of unfoldment, ADVENT -- with its five sections, Visitation, Tumult in the Soul, Tragic Vision, Summons and Response, and Acceptance specifically refers to the Annunciation, to the experience of Mary, the Mother of Christ. but every human soul is potentially the "mother" of a divine spirit--the sacred place where a consciousness may take form, focusing one aspect of the power of the Creative Word. Here "Mary symbolizes the fully mature human soul suddenly faced with a revelation of its own potential destiny. In the sense that the psychologist Ira Progoff speaks of the soul or psyche as a flow of evolving Images, the five sections of the Quartet should evoke the psychological reactions which can be expected to follow the revelation, ending with a serene and peaceful acceptance of all that is implied. The flow is a complex melody-harmony of tones whose resonances interact. The music has no intellectually ordered form, but it has consistency and meaning.
Rudhyar has not titled the four episodes of the second quartet, CRISIS AND OVERCOMING. As it ends, the "minor" mode of the beginning is transmuted into a "major" realization of calm serenity. Indeed, this quartet ends in the tonality of a modified E major -- perhaps Rudhyar's symbolic salute to his European culture as he approaches the completion of his multilevel and colorful career.
In the seven years since its birth the KRONOS STRING QUARTET has established an excellent reputation in the performance of contemporary music and standard quartet literature. More than 50 composers have written works for the quartet, which has throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in Europe. The Quartet is in Residence at Mills College in Oakland, California.
Every third year the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters bestows the Marjorie Peabody Waite Award upon an established composer to honor his continuing achievement over the years. The winner of the 1978 award, which includes a prize of $1500 was generously provided by Betty Freeman.
Produced by Carter Harman; Musical Producer: J. Tamblyn Henderson; Recorded by Keith O. Johnson at St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco; July 2 and 3, 1979. Art direction, cover: Judity Lerner, 1979; cover photo: Betty Freeman; Advent - MS (BMI): 21'20"; Crisis and Overcoming - MS (BMI): 19'6"; LC#: 79-750540. 1979 composers Recordings, Inc.
THIS IS A COMPOSER SUPERVISED RECORDING.
typed by Barb. nov 1 1995.