News and Views, Etc.
“Essential Ponce”: Paul Vondiziano, Guitar.
Selected works for a CD recording of works by Manuel Maria Ponce.
A project I have been thinking about for decades, and following about 38 years of study, performance, and reflection on the body of works by Ponce for the guitar, I have decided to dedicate a CD recording to the works what I love and consider to be his most representative in terms of his own signature idiom and personal style. This choice focuses away from the pastiches and homages to various composers (Sor, Schubert, Weiss, etc), to his own highly colorful, sensitive, well-structured (neo-classical), abstract, highly suggestive impressionistic style.
Which are these works? – Surprise! – I will keep it until the recording is ready! – “Stay tuned” for updates.
-I have also completed a collaborative effort with members of the Rangzen String Quartet for a recording just released on the OgreOgress label of previously unrecorded music from Philip Glass’s ballet “Phaedra”. There is a link on the home page of my website which will get you to the OgreOgress label for more information. This is a different record label than what I release all my solo albums on.
I have more collaborative projects with the Rangzen String Quartet in the plans, and more information will be posted as those plans unfold.
- I am working on an updated mailing list: those of you who would like to be on it, please email me your electronic address so that you can receive updates on performance events and other happenings.
OLD NEWS!!! (2011) – Finally, after a number of delays, my sixth solo album, this time entirely of my own compositions, is now available:
“PAUL VONDIZIANO PLAYS PAUL VONDIZIANO: FOUR DIVERSE WORKS FOR GUITAR”
Each work is stylistically different form the other . “Triptych” (three parts) has
elements of Greek music, “Memories of Inner Time” (six parts) is a mystical, more
demanding atonal work, “Sonatina Angelica” (three parts) is polytonal, and “Suite
Mnemosyne” (six parts) is a retro-tonal work.
You can link via the CD’s page which will connect you to my CD Baby pages. Meanwhile, here are the liner notes to the album:
A humble homage to three of my favorite great modern Greek poets:
George Seferis (1900-1971) Nobel laureate 1963
Konstantine Kavafis (1863-1933)
Odysseas Elytis (1911-1996) Nobel laureate 1979
1) “Eleni”. (Seferis)
The first movement was conceived as “incidental” music for a reading of the poem “Eleni”
by Seferis. The essence of the poem is that Helen of Troy was never abducted by Paris,
but that the whole story was an intrigue by war-mongers. The music follows the dramatic
unfolding of the poem in structure and mood, and thus can stand on its own as music apart
from the text. The music is more abstract in nature.
2) “The invisible troupe” (Kavafis)
This is an image from the poem by Kavafis “God forsakes Anthony” which is a celebration
of life in the face of death. Elements of Greek music (5/8 rhythm) are evident here.
3) “The dance of Maria-Nefeli” (Elytis)
This piece is just a small and suggestive rendering of the “life-energy” embodied in the primal and archetypal female Maria-Nefeli, the soul of the dramatic poem by the same title. More elements of Greek music evident in the 8/8 rhythm .
This work is a “going inward” not to hide, but to explore in a cosmic sense. Its language is atonal, creating various tensions and colors. The (1) PRELUDE, (3) SARABANDE, and (6) POSTLUDE are in freer forms, whereas the (2) FUGATO, (4) INVENTION, and (5) PASSACAGLIA are in stricter contrapuntal forms – of which the INVENTION is thoroughly serial.
2. MEMORIES OF INNER TIME
(Aphorism) – “In memory of the saint-child long deceased”
(Mythology) – This saint-child is an internal reference; it is at once the death of innocence and the beginning of further enlightenment through the effort/pain of existence. Innocence is not ignorance; on the contrary, it is an “essential” knowledge or familiarity with the essence of being. Physical birth is the beginning of a distancing from the essence, while at the same time its rediscovery on a higher level through experience and the resultant degree of insight and understanding.
(Abstract) – An entrance into the inner spaces and an encounter with the landscapes and the attendant energetic intensities.
(Aphorism) – “The soul spins like the earth not realizing its own giddiness”
(Mythology) – “Spinning” and “giddiness” are part of the natural order of things. It is just that in participation in the external forms the resultant effect of disorientation or loss of bearings is normal. Eventually however, just as the rotation of the earth facilitates stability, so can the vicissitudes of human existence.
(Abstract) – The interactive dynamics of energetic components in a dance.
(Aphorism) – “The birth of the dying sun-rays makes a grave of the womb of the shifting sands”
(Mythology) – A sunset on the beach perceived from rolling sand-mounds. The sun-rays are “born” as seen through the sand-mounds thus giving the sense of the womb. They are, however, also dying, thus the womb is also the grave. In the final analysis the two are polarities of the same essence of ever-unfolding being and consciousness.
(Abstract) – A further introspection which results in a crossing over to a “cosmic view” which is at once overwhelming and strangely comforting.
(Aphorism) – “Recurrence recollects unnumbered repetitions”
(Mythology) – The aforementioned “ever-unfolding” is part of a very large universal process. As such, any evolving consciousness becomes increasingly aware of this process.
(Abstract) – Using strict serial techniques, a highly organized structure becomes a vessel for a “mystical rationality”
(Aphorism) – “Darkness descends on the deep waters”
(Mythology) – The vastness of the potential awareness of evolving consciousness yet the perception of limitation in a specific existential identity creates a darkness which at times obscures how far the deep waters go.
(Abstract) – The recurrent harmonic structure is based on the “wheel-like” character of the constituent stream of augmented-fifth chords as it supports an independent, idiosyncratic melody unfolding above it.
(Aphorism) – “Levels of ascension: Infinite refractions fabricating facets of the focus”
(Mythology) – Partial perceptions (refractions) contribute to an ever changing way of endless “sense-making” or “new definitions of meaning”.
(Abstract) – A very high essential identity ascends even higher, before it descends to lower plains in both directions in order to encompass the whole and resolve in unity.
3. SONATINA ANGELICA
The title suggests the notion of sudden discovery, as “delivered by a messenger” (from the Greek “angelos”, meaning a messenger).
1) Lento: Meditative, with a brief contrapuntal mid-section.
2) Andante Fugato: Primarily contrapuntal throughout.
3) Quasi-Allegro: Waltz-like with an introspective ending.
4. SUITE MNEMOSYNE *
* In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne (Memory) is the mother of the Muses.
This suite is an assembly of various sentiments and recollections spontaneously captured in a tonal and retro-respecting musical language. Noteworthy for me are #3 (Serenade) which came to me on a late afternoon in summer while standing in front of the sea on a Greek coast, and #5 (Chant: Sea of Dreams), which is in part a reference to the sea as it has recurrently appeared in various ways in my dreams.