High on Mathew Rosenblum’s long list of achievements for 2013 was the release of an album devoted to his music by Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Directed by Gil Rose and issued on the orchestra’s own BMOP/sound label, Mathew Rosenblum: Möbius Loop takes its title from Rosenblum’s concerto for saxophone quartet and orchestra. The Raschèr Saxophone Quartet commissioned that work and gave the U.S. premiere with the Music on the Edge Chamber Orchestra at Pitt’s Bellefield Hall Auditorium in 2002.
Much of the new CD is the result of that first successful collaboration between Rosenblum and the quartet. Along with the original version of Möbius Loop the album includes a quartet version subsequently commissioned by the Raschèr. Rosenblum also composed Double Concerto (2010) specifically with Raschèr baritone saxophonist Kenneth Coon and percussionist Lisa Pegher in mind.
The newest piece on the CD is the one-movement orchestral work Sharpshooter (2012). It features tightly focused rhythmic gestures throughout, and Rosenblum’s 21 tone-per-octave just tuning creates shimmering harmonic fields that couldn’t be achieved with standard twelve tone-per-octave tuning.
Not surprisingly, the CD has already achieved a high level of critical acclaim. New York City’s classical music station WQXR named it “Q2 Album of the Week” for the week of December 16, and Frank Oteri, Senior Editor at New Music Box, selected Sharpshooter as a 2013 Staff pick for Newmusicbox Mix. Oteri described the harmony as “an extremely satisfying, if slightly mind altering, listening experience.” The new CD has attracted attention in the hometowns of its collaborators as well, garnering praise from Boston’s The Arts Fuse and Pittsburgh Magazine.
The Pittsburgh City Paper has also taken notice of Rosenblum’s success, publishing a wide-ranging article about Rosenblum, his collaboration with Music on the Edge codirector Eric Moe, and upcoming MOTE concerts from h2 Saxophone Quartet and Burr Van Nostrand.
Mathew Rosenblum: Möbius Loop captures a tremendously productive period in Rodenblum’s career. All the elements that have come to characterize his creative voice are evident, from his exploration of extended tunings to the driving rhythms, the influence of world musics, and the seamless integration of jazz and pop idioms. In a year that included (among other things) a commission from the Pittsburgh Symphony and a Guggenheim Fellowship, this recording can stand tall as an impressive milestone.