Möbius Loop (2000) – Mathew Rosenblum (b.1954)
SATB and Orchestra
Version for saxophone quartet alone, 2001
Mathew Rosenblum teaches composition at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory and Princeton. A past Guggenheim Fellow, he has been commissioned by the Barlow Endowment. Embodying the post-modern spirit, he draws on musical elements of classical, jazz, rock, and world music. He has worked with many well-known chamber groups such as the FLUX Quartet, Mantra Percussion, and the Calmus Ensemble. He explores the use of microtones in his music and has collaborated with the Harry Partch institute.
Möbius Loop calls for a variety of extended techniques as well as displaying a variety of influences including Eastern music, jazz, the chorale, and contrapuntal practices. The RSQ premiered the work with the notabu.ensemble neue music in Dusseldorf, Germany. Rosenblum says about the piece:
Möbius Loop is a one movement work. It was written in the months directly before and after the death of my mother. That time period was perhaps the most emotional in my life. The slow reflective middle section of this work is a tribute to her. Most of the music in Möbius Loop, however, is upbeat and hard driving, and was directly inspired by my energetic seven-year-old daughter, Sara Rosenblum. In fact, it is from a playful piano improvisation of hers that the opening measures of the piece originates. As a composer, I am fascinated by hybrid musical styles in which widely varying cultures and traditions merge or even clash. I often find myself trying to create such musics. In Möbius Loop, my interest in popular music, freer jazz forms, and Cuban music, is reflected. The work also combines two tuning systems, the normal twelve note equal tempered system and a twenty one note-to-the-octave "just" system I designed to be used in conjunction with the twelve note equal tempered system. The title, Möbius Loop, refers to the Möbius Strip, a twisted triangular shaped figure that signifies cyclic transformation and lifecycles. The work is framed by one big loop; the hard-driving and rhythmic opening material returns at the end. Working in from both ends of the piece brings one to the quiet and still music in the middle. There are also loops within loops. When new musical material is presented in the body of the work it is almost always contrasted and then repeated to form smaller loops within larger ones. This concept is reflected on many levels within the piece. Möbius Loop is dedicated to the memory of my mother Sonia Rosenblum, my first inspiration, and my daughter Sara Rosenblum, one of my continuing inspirations.
RSQ and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose, Möbius Loop
BMOP/sound, USA, 2013
H2 Quartet, https://youtu.be/y7m2eF5eSjM
RSQ alone, from cd, https://youtu.be/jN2H0FlECE8
RSQ w/ Boston Modern Orchestra Project, from cd, https://youtu.be/EHua-qevR5Q
Rascher Quartet, quartet alone, live, https://vimeo.com/77310121
Other works: The Big Rip (A Science Fiction Cantata) for saxophone quartet and vocal ensemble (2009), Double Concerto for baritone saxophone and percussion (2010)