Ned Rothenberg, Roulette
The opening is an elegant section where two distinct melodies assert themselves within the quartet, with the clarinet hovering between the second with counterpoint in both rhythm and harmony. Different time signatures are played by separate instruments inside the quartet, while the clarinet follows its own jazz-inspired rhythmic and timbral palette. The second and third movements dovetail, from tonal to timbral glissandi investigations -- some of which dovetail and take each other apart systematically. Here too, polyrhythmic elements are employed to distinguish the various sections of the quartet, giving members a voice, while melodic ideas are unresolved until late in the work. The third movement indulges Rothenberg’s deep fascination of improvisation where no direction of any kind is employed, and the musicians can borrow any ideas from the entire piece -- even if they’ve not been played yet -- and weave them into a sometimes dissonant but always economical and provocative whole.
The motif in “Setting Stones” is slow, largely assonant, and utterly lovely. Its harmonic palette is somewhat restrained, where strings and slap tongue on the clarinet complement one another beautifully, creating an almost pastoral feel. The “Finale” is humorous in that it feels like a chase between The Players: from violins to the clarinet, from viola to the cello, from the cello to the violins; and then these reverse themselves melodically, assuming different roles where all The Players are both the pursuers and the pursued. The sleight-of-hand phrasing by Rothenberg is actually light, pulling bits and pieces from his own melodies from throughout the work and using them in differing contexts until the work is satisfyingly exhausted. This is one of the more important works Rothenberg has issued so far, and after 26 albums, that’s saying plenty. - Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
Roulette – one of New York City’s premiere venues for experimental music for over 33 years - has reopened bigger and better than ever. Located in a newly renovated 1920s Art Deco concert hall in Downtown Brooklyn, the new Roulette features two levels of seating for up to 400 people (600 standing), an expanded multi-channel sound system, projection screen for film and multi-media events, state-of-the-art lighting system, modular stage, and a specially designed floor to accommodate dance. Teamed with bold new programming, the new Roulette promises to be one of the most exciting places in New York City - if not the country - to experience adventurous music and art.
Roulette is located at 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn (2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR). Cost: $15/$10 members/students/seniors. For more information, visit www.roulette.org.