Blow! (1993), Perry Goldstein

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Blow! (1993), Perry Goldstein
Year of Composition: 1993    

Composer Biography

1952 —

PERRY GOLDSTEIN (born 1952 in New York City, New York) studied at the University of Illinois, UCLA, and Columbia University, from which he was awarded a doctorate in music composition in 1986. His principal composition teachers were Herbert Brun, Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky, Ben Johnston, and Paul Zonn. He has received commissions from Juilliard Quartet cellist Joel Krosnick and pianist Gilbert Kalish, saxophonist William Raaiman and the Zephyr String Quartet, The Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, Slagwerkgroep den Haag, HET Trio, violist John Graham, the Guild Trio, and pianist Eliza Garth, among others, and his music has been performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. Recordings of his work are available on Challenge, New World, and Vanguard compact disks.

A dedicated educator, he received a 1997 "Chancellor's and President's Award for Excellence in Teaching" from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he has taught since 1992. He has also served on the faculty of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Goldstein has been involved in a variety of activities in the service of contemporary music. He has written extensively for, among other publications and organizations, The New York Times, The Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Strings Magazine, National Public Radio, Deutschlandfunk (German radio), the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, Speculum Musicae, the League-International Society for Contemporary Music, and for the New World, CRI, Arabesque, GM, Folkways, and Bridge recording labels. He serves on a number of new music boards and has been an adjudicator and advisor for several organizations. In 1992, he was the United States delegate to the UNESCO-sponsored International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, subsequently producing four radio programs of the event for American Public Radio.

Composition Notes

Blow!, composed in 1993 for the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, is an odd tapestry, woven of many seemingly refractory threads, but cohering, or so I hope. There is an aggressive and agitated opening music, not in any key, that returns time and again, almost literally and in various developmental attitudes. Then there is the blues, raw and unexpected, popping out of the texture, squelched, and returning later to have its say. There is a chorale, heard and extended three times over the course of the piece: still, reflecting pools, among the piece's few moments of rhythmic rest. There is other music as well, not so clearly defined: the language of contemporary music conjoined with the bouncy syncopations of jazz, or classically-oriented, rigorous counterpoint comprised of breezy lines that make jazzy harmonies. At some points, Blow!'s various styles are distinct; at others, the edges between styles begin to blur. The different musics are sometimes interruptive. But it is a gentle contention, and the disparate styles help define and give color to each other. Finally, the blues are briefly sounded one last time, a gateway onto the uninhibited, exuberantly swinging music that constitutes the long coda. Blow! is a warm place for all these different styles to be together. Loved things are not so inimical; there is room for them all.