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Bearthoven (Karl Larson, piano; Pat Swoboda, double bass; and Matt Evans, percussion) releases its second album, "American Dream", featuring the works of composer Scott Wollschleger, including his "Gas Station Canon Song", "American Dream", and "We See Things That Are Not There".
Karl Larson describes American Dream as “a reflection of the contemporary American state of mind.” Rather than making a direct political statement, the works on the album reflect the paradoxical nature of the “American Dream” in our current socio-economic climate. Wollschleger says, “This music expresses the strongest sense of urgency I've experienced in my entire life, channeling feelings of doom, optimism, hopelessness, and the sublime. Much like a dream, these pieces weave an interconnected musical fabric of contradictory worlds.”
The title work on the album, Wollschleger’s American Dream, is a substantial trio for piano, double bass, pitch pipes, and a wide array of percussion instruments including vibraphone, water crotales, and vibrators. The piece consists of numerous “broken songs” dispensed throughout a fragmented time-field. This formal dissonance, often heightened by disruptively recurring drone-clusters, sets the tone for the entire album: the beautiful/hopeful is pervasive but constantly shadowed by the repugnant/forlorn.
We See Things That Are Not There engages the vibraphone and piano in a constant repetitive dialogue with one another – both instruments recite the same phrase back and forth without an ultimate agreement. Gas Station Canon Song for solo piano is an unscrambled statement of one of the “broken songs” from American Dream. It was inspired by the synchronous existence of the beautiful and the grotesque encountered by Wollschleger in an I-80 gas station, a direct reference to a modern American paradox: how the majestic and the repellent always seem to coexist in a state of flux, no matter the medium.
released February 8, 2019
Produced by Ryan Streber, Scott Wollschleger, and Bearthoven
Recorded at Oktaven Audio
Photography by Jaime Boddorff
Liner Notes by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti
Executive Producers: Michael Gordon, David Lang, Kenny Savelson, and Julia Wolfe
Released on Cantaloupe Music
Bearthoven is a piano trio creating a new repertoire for a familiar instrumentation by commissioning works from leading
young composers. Karl Larson (piano), Pat Swoboda (bass), and Matt Evans (percussion) have combined their individual voices and diverse musical backgrounds, coming together to create a versatile trio focused on frequent and innovative commissioning of up-and-coming composers....more
supported by 69 fans who also own “American Dream”
This is stunning.
Everything about it is superb: the composition, the playing, the recording. To hear the violin played with a glass-cutting purity, and to hear the melodies unfurl one not at a time is a sublime experience. This is immaculately crafted music, with a power and control that belies it monophonic delicacy.
Easily my top modern classical release of 2018 Michael Mueller