BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, today announced the forthcoming album release of David Rakowski: Winged Contraption. Spanning 15 years of his musical career, Winged Contraption is a cornucopia of compositional treats that combines Rakowski's intellectual rigor, wit, and at times, pure silliness, while keeping its ears wide open to American music of all kinds. The album provides an intimate glimpse of a composer inspired by his interpersonal relationships with fellow composers, performers, and friends including: the mournful elegy of Lily Auchincloss in Persistent Memory; the ebullient Piano Concerto written for long-time collaborator Marilyn Nonken; and the affectionate birthday tribute to composer and friend Martin Boykan in Winged Contraption.
Leading the album is Pulitzer Prize-nominated Persistent Memory, which was commissioned and premiered by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1999 and later performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) in 2004. Written during a period of personal and creative turmoil, Persistent Memory is a set of variations on the elegy materials dedicated to the memory of Lily Auchincloss. A contemplative, soulful work, "Persistent Memory transforms into many emotions but always cradles its origins within it. This is an eloquent and beautiful piece" (The Boston Globe).
Co-commissioned and premiered by BMOP in 2007, Piano Concerto is the latest addition to Rakowski's impressive and ever expanding body of works, including more than 80 etudes for piano. Featuring Marilyn Nonken, "one of the greatest interpreters of new music" (American Record Guide), on both piano and toy piano, Rakowski acknowledges her by referencing existing etudes either written for her or that she had recorded. Comprised of four movements, the work's most unusual feature is the mischievous appearance of toy piano in the first three movements, a surreal element which makes way for a rousing final-movement cadenza. Piano Concerto reveals Rakowski's thoughtful explorations and resourceful ideas on how the concerto, a timeworn musical form, can be re-imagined for the present. Written in celebration of composer Martin Boykan's 60th birthday in 1991 and premiered by BMOP in 2007, Winged Contraption is one of Rakowski's lighter, more transparently scored orchestral works. "Since it was for a 60th birthday," explains Rakowski, "I decided I would compose, orchestrate, and copy to score every day, and end the piece at the end of the sixtieth page of the full score." Playful and delightfully effervescent, the work's lyrical melodies quote Boykan's compositions as well as a piano concerto written by Ross Bauer at around the same time. The perpetual-motion element found in Winged Contraption is one encountered frequently in Rakowski's music.
BMOP/sound, the Grammy-nominated label of the acclaimed Boston Modern Orchestra Project, explores the evolution of the music formerly known as classical. Its eclectic catalog offers both rediscovered classics of the 20th Century and the music of today's most influential and innovative composers. The label's 2008 recordings received several accolades including "Best of 2008" CD nods by The New York Times, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, and Downbeat Magazine. Additional 2009 releases include: Derek Bermel: Voices (February); John Harbison: Full Moon in March (April); Louis Andriessen: La Passione (May); Ken Ueno: Kaze no Oka (June); John Cage: 16 Dances (July); Elliott Schwartz: The Chamber Concertos (August); Alan Hovhaness: Exile Symphony (September); Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse (October); Dominick Argent: Jonah and the Whale (November); and William Thomas McKinley: RAP (December). An interactive BMOP website with digital download capabilities is planned for 2009. For more information, visit http://www.bmopsound.org.