Workshop of Ruehr/Henderson new opera Crafting the Bonds, Killian Hall at MIT, June 11, 7 pm
The Worlds Revolve, for Donald Berman and the Borromeo String Quartet premieres at Rockport Chamber Music Festival on June 9, 2016.
WATCH FOR THREE NEW CD RELEASES COMING SOON, including The New Orchestra of Washington with Marcus Thompson playing Shadow Light, Quetzal Garden with Sarah Brady and Radius Ensemble, and a NEW ALL RUEHR string quartet CD, with the Cypress String Quartet
Orchestral music of Elena Ruehr with
Jennifer Kloetzel, Cello
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Gil Rose, Conductor
Reviews of O’Keeffe Images
“Orchestral music of sweeping vistas and a strong pulse by an American composer.” Audiophile Audition
“The four orchestral works of composer Elena Ruehr that are assembled on this alluring disc by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project are striking for their combination of rhapsodic, almost sinful lushness and a robust force that keeps the effect from cloying. Her signature orchestrational move is to pull you in with the strings and then let the brass punch you in the gut, and it works every time — even when you know it’s coming. Even the overall course of the disc works that way. It opens with the aptly named “Shimmer,” an enticingly patterned work for string orchestra that establishes just how beautifully Ruehr can write when that’s her goal. Then come “Vocalissimus,” in which a pugnacious solo trumpet keeps weighing into the process, and “Cloud Atlas,” a winningly detailed treatment of the great David Mitchell novel, in which cellist Jennifer Kloetzel of the Cypress String Quartet takes a solo role. The title work, a triptych inspired by three of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, brings things to an expansive and evocative close.” — Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
REVIEW OF LIFT FROM GRAMOPHONE
Increasingly well represented on disc, Boston-based Elena Ruehr (b1963) has maintained a steady chamber output – of which this selection of works from across 16 years (interestingly heard in reverse order) makes a positive case for her accessible yet never merely academic or reactionary idiom. Agilely combining trenchant virtuosity with keen lyricism, Lift (2013) is a telling study in cumulative momentum, while the Second Violin Sonata (2012) offers a pertinent take on the fast-slow-fast trajectory with its discreet jazz inflections – not least the finale’s Oscar Peterson homage. Klein Suite (2011) takes its cue from Bach’s unaccompanied violin music over its eloquent then energetic movements, whereas Prelude Variations (2008) draws on two preludes and fugues from the ‘48’ in a purposeful workout for viola and cello. In between comes Adrienne and Amy (2009), a ‘sonatina’ paying homage to composer Amy Beach and her biographer Adrienne Block in what is the deftest and most appealing piece on this disc. The Scarlatti Effect (1997) rounds off proceedings with its lively and resourceful take on the Baroque composer’s keyboard sonatas, as subtly integrated into a tensile single movement whose elements of ritornello ensure a steady focus through to the incisive close.
Thus is music written, above all, for the pleasure of the performers – and the four featured here duly ensure that the performances are never less than pleasurable. The recording leaves little to be desired in its clarity and perspective, and this disc can be warmly recommended to musicians searching for some worthwhile new repertoire.
ALL RUEHR CONCERT：
Featuring Irina Muresanu, Jennifer Kloetzel and Sarah Bob
February 1, 2014 8 pm
Killian Hall, MIT
Summer Days/BMOP Premiere
January 17, 2014
The Providence Singers premiere “Bears”
Text by Adrienne Rich
April 26 and 27
Cloud Atlas Kickstarter campaign begins!
PN Review of Averno
Read an article about the use of poetry and music in Averno by Reena Sastri in PN Review
Averno CD is released!
Ruehr’s first release for Avie assembles vocal and choral works inspired by three distinct American poets – Louise Glück, Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes. The title work, Averno, is a cantata that sets 11 poems of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Glück’s collection of the same name, which is a retelling of the story of Demeter, goddess of the earth, and her daughter Persephone. Ruehr’s score deftly conjures ancient themes in a modern idiom. The miniatures Cricket, Spider, Bee paint a vivid, aural picture of Dickinson’s scenic natural world. The large scale GOSPEL CHA-CHA sets Langston Hughes’ expansive and socially critical late poetry, evoking African dances and drumming, and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1960s with improvisatory flair. The works are performed by acclaimed New York-based Trinity Choir under their dynamic Music Director Julian Wachner, and Trinity’s new music ensemble Novus NY. The superb soloists are soprano Marguerite Krull and baritone Stephen Salters.
Sixth String Quartet premiered
October 2 8PM Old Frist Chruch, San Francisco.
Friday November 9 2012 at 7:30PM BAM/PFA Gallery B,2626 Bancroft Way,Berkeley, CA
“After intermission, it was a Call & Response commission, Elena Ruehr’s 2012 String Quartet No. 6, this time in response to Mozart and, yet again, to Beethoven. The composer herself spoke before the performance, also citing Rochberg as an inspiration. Like a typical 18th- or 19th-century piece, this quartet features four completely different movements. The first is a rather matter-of-fact, marchlike affair, subtitled “The Sea,” which feels like a sailing song. The second movement, in eerie contrast, is sad and fearful, written for Todd Donovan, a friend and associate of both the Cypress Quartet and Ruehr, who was dying of cancer while the piece was being written. Donovan recently passed away. The third movement takes another sharp turn with sultry rhythms and a dancelike feel. The fourth movement is the strongest of them all, reaching the transcendental heights of the first two pieces on the program. The ending is a thrilling chase of upward gestures, alternating colorful and atonal dissonance with clear, straight-up scales for a rousing finish.”Click here for full review.
TenFourteen commissioning project with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players launches.
Read more here.