Sunday, May 10, 2015

Andrew Rudin - 1967 - Tragoedia

Andrew Rudin 

01. Tragoedia, movement 1, Kourous
02. Tragoedia, movement 2, Hybris
03. Tragoedia, movement 3, Peitho
04. Tragoedia, movement 4, Até

From the composer's website:

“Andrew Rudin has been an important presence in the local contemporary music scene for the past four decades. His contributions to the modern canon have been eagerly awaited and happily appreciated.”

    --Michael Caruso, Main Line Times, Philadelphia, Jan. 2007

Rudin’s reputation was established in the 1960’s through his association with Robert Moog and a pioneering series of synthesized compositions, most notably his Nonesuch album, Tragoedia. Throughout the 1970’s many of his compositions were theatrical in nature, involving collaborations with ballet and modern dance, film, television, and incidental music for the stage. His one-act opera, The Innocent was produced in Philadelphia in 1972 by Tito Capobianco. A number of these works blended electronically synthesized sound with traditional instruments and voices. Particularly of note among these works is the inclusion of his music in the soundtrack of the film Fellini: Satyricon. Among the dance groups and choreographers with whom he has worked are Dance Theatre Workshop, Jeff Duncan, Murray Louis, The Pennsylvania Ballet, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Louis Falco, and four collaborations with Alwin Nikolais. The 1980’s saw the completion of his full-evening opera Three Sisters, on a libretto by William Ashbrook from the play by Chekhov, as well as many works for traditional instruments, both orchestral and chamber music. After his graduation from The University of Pennsylvania, where he studied primarily with George Rochberg, he joined the faculty of The Philadelphia Musical Academy, remaining there for the next thirty-seven years, as it eventually became part of the present University of the Arts. During this time he taught music history, theory, and composition, directed the new music ensemble, and headed the electronic music studio. He taught in the graduate division of the Juilliard School from 1981-1984. Since his retirement in 200l he has worked as a broadcaster for WWFM, The Classical Network from Mercer County Community College, and served on the board of directors for Philadelphia’s Orchestra 2001. He continues to compose extensively. His professional affiliation is BMI. He lives in Allentown, NJ with his partner, Tom Queenan.

This has to be one of the first Moog recordings out there. Andrew Rudin is very much part of the classical, technique-oriented school of electronic music. There's a very self-serious photo on the back of my LP along with thoughtful ruminations of the music and a short bio which states that Rudin taught at the Philadelphia Music Academy. Tragoedia is of a kin with Morton Subotnick's works and likely casts a spiteful eye on the more playful recordings of something like Perry and Kingsley. Be that as it may, this is pretty much one of those 'bleeps and bloops' sort of albums, and sometimes I have trouble justifying that this is much different than me dicking around on my Minimoog for 37 minutes. But I suppose that it's much better organized than that, at least on paper.

We've got four tracks here ranging from five to fifteen minutes and there's a ton of explanation for them in the liner notes than I'm too lazy to read. In my proletarian assessment, I'd say skip side one and go straight for side two. "Hybris" has some cool resonate Moog sounds, but once again I can dial that in on the Minimoog in 12 seconds or less (granted few people could do that in 1967). Side two is far more interesting in my humble opinion. "Peitho" is kind of like an insane, electrified "Flight of the Bumblebee." Better is the fifteen minute "Ate" (the 'e' has an accent but I'm not smart enough to know how to type it). The liner notes say it is "the quality of utter ruin and desolation resulting from (the first three tracks)." With the benefit of hindsight, I'd say it's more of a primitive precursor to Tangerine Dream's early long-form meditations. It's like an extra-planetary excursion much like a track such as "Alpha Centauri."



  2. Very nice early electronic music with insectoid flavour, many thanks

  3. A total discovery. Many thanks! Ricardo