-Percussive Notes, April 2002
"(Streamline) ...should become part of contemporary four-mallet marimba repertoire."
-The Instrumentalist, Feb. 1999
"...a hand-to-hand technique as a fully integrated four-mallet approach."
-Percussive Notes, March 1999
The works on this CD come from my final years as an undergraduate. This project took place just after I had earned a bachelor's degree from SUNY-Buffalo. It sat on the shelf for 2 years as I completed a master's from the Hartt School. I am very pleased to be able to finally release this wonderful portion of my musical experience.
Working with my dad on the CD as well as with my friend Craig was very engaging and satisfying. These "sessions" in the sum-mer of 1997 were filled with a great vibe that can only come from working with family and friends. The music remained relaxed yet serious in strives to create some new sounds and textures in this genre. All the takes are live-to-DAT performances (which make no use of digital editing).
I hope you enjoy the atmosphere of this CD as much as we did...
P.S. - I included a superb recording of Alphas in Stasis on this project because I felt the performance fit in well with the other electro-acoustic music on this CD. Additionally, since the piece makes use of all my compositions since 1997, it gave me a chance to present some new material until the next CD comes out. Thanks to both Robert and Amy for their support.
Some notes on the pieces:
Streamline is intended as a piece of relaxation and meditation. Using simple chord structures in A-B-A form, this format is realized by an unrelenting "streamline" of 16th-notes at various tempi. However the piece is less about structure and more about the texture created by the rosewood bars of the marimba. To be sure, it is both physically and spiritually idiomatic to the marimba.
Rockslide enhances the use of marimba ostinato as texture with computer sequenced sounds. The combination of these two forces results in an ambient sound despite the rapid movements of the mallets. Rockslide is obviously programmatic in conception with the ominous falling pebbles as well as huge sliding chord events on the computer part. However, a parallel meaning can be found in the title with the idea of a rock guitar sliding down to a power chord.
Four Scenes from a Gorge is much indebted to the atmosphere created by a well-reverberating marimba. The first movement is a chorale. The second draws inspiration from circular ostinati. The slow movement is an isolated air of solitude. The last movement is a rondo the recalls some of the second movement to reflect the rapids.
Transmissions from the Music Box was written in early 1997 for Craig Bitterman. The work employs a modal sonata-form structure using chromatic hexachords as well as the whole-tone scale. Instrumentation is chosen within the parameters of groups of refined metals, industrial metals, one/two sided skinned instruments and glass.
Centipede is another work based on ideas that focus on idiomatic technique. This was the first marimba solo written by Christopher Swist and reflects a young fresh attitude.
Alphas in Stasis was written as part of a recording/performance residency by Basso Bongo at the Hartt School in February of 2000. The piece uses the beginning material of every piece written by the composer (up to that time). Robert Black and Amy Knowles then placed these starting gestures in delay loops using a structured sketch realized by the composer. The sounds and textures were chosen by both the composer and performers.
Recorded at Evenfall Acoustics, Buffalo NY in June of 1997 Recorded and Mastered by Larry Swist "Alphas in Stasis" recorded at the Hartt School, Hartford CT in February of 2000 Recorded by Rebecca Wright -- Mastered by Larry Swist Graphic Design and Photography by Mark E. Smith.
Bio for Christopher Swist:
Christophet Swist - B.M., State University of New York at Buffalo; M.M. The Hartt School (music performance and composition). Instructor of percussion, composition & music theory at Keene State College, NH. Instructor of percussion & music technology at Holyoke Community College, MA. Faculty of the Hartt School Community Division, CT. Former percussion instructor at Bennington College, VT from 1998-2002. Primary teachers: Jan Williams, Tony Miranda, Ben Toth. Specialized study: Glen Velez (hand drums), Alexander Lepak (timpani), Johnny Almendra (Afro-Cuban), Luiz D`AnunciaÃªÃ£o (Brazilian). Performs regularly with: New Britain Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, Ridgefield Symphony, The Lehninger-Swist Duo, Drumspeak, Steel Sunrise, Michael Arden. Recordings with: Hat Hut Records, Greedy Songbird Music, MAX Records, Hot Wings Entertainment, Mobtunes. Compositional explorations include: diatonic marimba solos, modern chamber works, electro-acoustic pieces, and digital soundscapes. Publication through Alfred Music with notoriety in Percussive Notes and The Instrumentalist. Solo recording of original works entitled 'Whitewater' was released in August 2001. Honors have included: Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, Pi Kappa Lamda National National Music Honor Society, Performance 20/20 Honors Program of the Hartt School, winner of the 1996 Baird Concerto Competition. Membership in A.F.M. Local 400 and A.S.C.A.P.
Check out the artist's website:
3. Four Scenes from a Gorge - dawn
4. Four Scenes - the whirlpool
5. Four Scenes - a lonely pond
6. Four Scenes - whitewater
7. Transmissions from the Music Box
9. Alphas in Stasis