Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

331

Rowan University Percussion Ensemble: Nosferatu

Frank Rubolino By

Sign in to view read count
Using the 1922 silent movie Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror for inspiration, pianist Mick Rossi composed an original film score for the historic work. The film was one of the earliest depictions of the vampire phenomenon made universally famous through novelist Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897 and crystallized by the acting of Bela Lugosi in subsequent Dracula films starting in the 1930s and continuing into the present era. F. W. Murnau directed this version, which was shown on Halloween 2000 at Rowan University, and Rossi’s score was performed live as musical commentary to the speechless action on the screen.

The music is commanding and powerful. Rossi and clarinetist Andy Laster are the prime soloists. The Rowan University Percussion Ensemble, consisting of ten percussionists and eight bassists, lavishly embellish the dark and light passages with all manner of interpretive speech. Rowan University Music Department Chairman Dean Witten conducted the massive undertaking.

The intrigue of this performance is pervasive, but its imagery is startlingly realistic and communicative. Rossi scurries over the keys depicting lighter film moments and then seeps deeply into the darkness with ponderous thunder as the action becomes morose. Laster intertwines clarinet passages that spring freely from his instrument to cloak the mood swings. The clarinet has the capacity to evoke numerous feelings, and Laster sets the shifting scenes with his conceptual outpourings.

The percussionists play an extremely important role in this presentation. Lighthearted vibes and marimba tones transform into segments portraying sinisterness. Similarly, the bassists add their brand of aural description of the action, such as during stalking scenes and other stealthy, heart- stopping sections. All of these emotions are suggested by Rossi and the orchestra without one needing to be actually watching the movie.

As the film progresses deeper and deeper into its ghoulish plot, the music realistically relays the images to the mind. Rossi ponders over the keys and Laster portrays cautiousness that soon erupts into a state of frightening agitation when the inevitable consequences of the storyline unfold in full. The kettledrums explode, the bassists become frenzied, and Rossi and Laster continue to transport the visions in compelling musical terms. Rossi often steered the ensemble into sections of free improvisation to provide spontaneity to the action.

Although this gigantic effort was done in support of the silent film, it stands on its own as a significant artistic work. Rossi’s score and improvisations contain all the elements necessary to stimulate a demanding musical appetite, and the intricate blending of Laster’s clarinet with the percussionists’ and bassists’ nuances cum overt outbursts makes the recording an emotionally charged, cross-genre event.

Visit www.dreamboxmedia.com .


Track Listing: Original Score in Five Movements (65:29).

Personnel: Mick Rossi-piano; Andy Laster-clarinet; Mark Barber, Laura Bryan, Barry Capelli, Jr., Joseph Donnelly, Andrea Lustig, Christopher Pastin, Suzanne Smalley, Daryl Updike, Matthew Witten, Edward Zaryky-percussion; Douglas Mapp, Paul Klinefelter, James Barber, Joseph Jacobs, David Mensch, Nicholas Recuber, Robert Smith, Matthew Turowski-basses. Recorded: October 29, 2000, Glassboro, NJ.

Title: Nosferatu | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Dreambox Media

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Small World" CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Behind The Mist" CD/LP/Track Review Behind The Mist
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Sonic Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Sonic Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Good Merlin" CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Heavy Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Weather
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Sinatra & Jobim @ 50" CD/LP/Track Review Sinatra & Jobim @ 50
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 30, 2017