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Recorderist / Pete Rose


Release Date: 10/25/2005 
Label:  Pitch   Catalog #: 200204   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter RoseRyohei HiroseLuciano BerioMario Lavista,   ... 
Performer:  Peter Rose
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews





Microtones are the notes that live between the keys of your piano, of course. For the past hundred years or so, Western classical music has been dominated by ?equal temperament,? in which the 12 tones in an octave are equidistant from each other. Such was not always the case, however. Bach used a different sort of tuning, one developed by an organist named Andreas Werckmeister, to overcome the shortcomings of meantone tuning, which had been in use since around 1500. A technical discussion of those shortcomings?and alternate tunings in general?probably is outside the scope of Fanfare , but suffice it to say that Read more the first of the two recordings reviewed here features music by Bach (and also by his uncle and father-in-law Johann Michael) in so-called ?Werckmeister III? tuning, which dates from 1691. Kyle Gann has written a readable essay on historical tunings (see http://home.earthlink.net/~kgann/histune.html.) Readers who wish to learn more are directed there. (In the same essay, Gann compares playing The Well-Tempered Clavier in today?s ?bland? equal temperament to ?exhibiting Rembrandt?s paintings with wax paper taped over them.?)


It?s an intriguing idea to play Bach?s music using ?authentic? tuning?the next step, really, after using ?authentic? instruments and ?authentic? performance styles. In the long run, however, a performance?s success or failure rests on musicianship and technical ability, among other things. There?s nothing wrong with the two Brandenburg s offered here; it?s just that they are not very distinctive, apart from the alternate tuning. On a Sunday afternoon in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, they?d be welcome. As an experience to be repeated again and again, thanks to the wonder of the perdurable CD, their mere professionalism doesn?t quite pass muster. The playing is muddy, sometimes strained, and generally lacking the joy of (re)creation displayed by Achim Fiedler and Festival Strings Lucerne (reviewed elsewhere). For what it?s worth, a modern trumpet is used in No. 2 and a modern flute in No. 5.


The three WTC excerpts are a lot more convincing. Potential buyers may be more interested, however, in the brief cantatas by Bach?s older relative and by Werckmeister himself. I found them pleasant but nothing special. Werckmeister?s punchy setting of the text?s initial word ?Wo? Wo? Wo? Wo?? etc., is humorous?unintentionally, I think. The vocal contributions in these two works aren?t horrible, but they don?t survive repeated listening either. Throughout, neither the music nor the tuning is assisted by the opaque engineering.


If the so-called ?Early? CD is perhaps a noble failure, I found the one devoted to ?recorderist? Pete Rose to be close to unlistenable. Rose hopes that this CD will serve as ?a testament to the recorder?s expressive potential,? and he may be more right than he knows. Certainly I had no idea that recorders?and Rose plays several of them on this CD?could make such sounds. Imagine a cross between an abattoir and an aviary and you?ll get a pretty good idea of what the music on this program sounds like. Now, long-time readers know that I am no softy-eared wimp, and that I take?and enjoy?my difficult music like a man. Furthermore, I worship at the altar of John Cage, and am quite capable of accepting non-traditional sounds as ?music.? However, Rose?s pieces in particular sound more like stunts than avant-garde compositions. Having messed around with a recorder myself, I know how difficult it is to play it well, and I can appreciate the effort that Rose has put into pushing the instrument?s technique forward like this. The music played here is jaw-droppingly difficult, no pun intended. It?s just too bad that it is of little artistic value, in my opinion.


There are only three pieces I care to hear again. Mario Lavista?s Ofrenda adds some soul to the equation, and it holds one?s attention over the course of its 10 minutes. The John Coltrane arrangement is unexpected and intriguing. The closer, Benjamin Thorne?s Voice of the Crocodile, takes Rose?s extended recorder technique and does something fun with it. The booklet notes have not one word to say about the role played by microtonality in these performances.


These are live recordings, but you?ll hardly hear a peep from the audiences. In one way or another, I don?t doubt that they were stunned by such music-making.


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1.
SNSI by Peter Rose
Performer:  Peter Rose (Soprano Recorder), Peter Rose (Sopranino Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 06/06/1991 
Venue:  Live  Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Meditation by Ryohei Hirose
Performer:  Peter Rose (Alto Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; Japan 
Date of Recording: 01/18/1990 
Venue:  Live  The Kitchen, New York City 
Length: 10 Minutes 17 Secs. 
3.
Medley: Signals/Limits by Peter Rose
Performer:  Peter Rose (Soprano Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/18/1990 
Venue:  Live  The Kitchen, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4.
Gesti by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Peter Rose (Alto Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/06/1991 
Venue:  Live  Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
5.
Ofrenda by Mario Lavista
Performer:  Peter Rose (Tenor Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Mexico 
Date of Recording: 04/29/1993 
Venue:  Live  St Paul's Chapel, Columbia U., NYC 
Length: 10 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6.
Right Hand Pentachord Variations by Peter Rose
Performer:  Peter Rose (Soprano Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 05/17/1988 
Venue:  Live  Greenwich House, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 52 Secs. 
7.
Bessie's Blues by John Coltrane
Performer:  Peter Rose (Tenor Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; New York City 
Date of Recording: 06/06/1991 
Venue:  Live  Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
8.
Cartoons by Peter Rose
Performer:  Peter Rose (Sopranino Recorder), Peter Rose (Soprano Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 11/11/2000 
Venue:  Live  Quaker Meeting House, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
9.
Voice of the Crocodile by Benjamin Thorn
Performer:  Peter Rose (Voice), Peter Rose (Bass Recorder)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; Australia 
Date of Recording: 04/29/1993 
Venue:  Live  St Paul's Chapel, Columbia U., NYC 
Length: 5 Minutes 35 Secs. 

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