Jarvis and Friends, Volume 3

Jarvis and Friends, Volume 3 – Composers Concordance Records: COMCON0053

Art by Mark Kostabi

Milton Babbitt, Patrick Hardish, Peter Jarvis, Kung Chi Shing, Chris Opperman, Stephen Peles, Gene Pritsker, Frederic Rzewski, Glen Velez

Peter Jarvis – Percussion, Piano, and Voice
Carl Patrick Bolleia – Piano
Charles Coleman – Baritone
John Ferrari – Drum Set
Jeffrey Kresky – Celesta, Piano
Chris Opperman – Piano, Percussion, and Trumpet
Robert Pollock – Piano
Anton Vishio – Piano

Additional Credits
Engineer and Mastering (all tracks except #8) – David Kerzner.
Engineer for track #8 – Da Hong Seetoo.
Passing Fancies II used with permission of Composers Guild of New Jersey.
Composition for One Instrument and Ben used with permission of Milton Babbitt.
Cover painting The Rhythm of Inspiration by Mark Kostabi, commissioned for Ryan Jarvis, used with permission of Mark Kostabi.
All Tracks recorded at William Paterson University except track #8.
Track #8 recorded at Fairleigh Dickenson University.
Design – David Kerzner.
Recorded and produced 1989, 2004, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.
Producer – Peter Jarvis, Member BMI.

About the Music:
Interlude 1, 2, 3, and 4 (2018) – Peter Jarvis
            Interlude 1, 2, 3, and 4 are improvisations by Peter Jarvis, stages in the same musical journey.  Interlude 1 is offered as the outset of the journey, and Interlude 2, 3, and 4 provide moments of light relief. – Peter Jarvis

Fishdream (1998) – Kung Chi Shing
            My experience with gamelan music is simply a sensory one; I know very little about its aesthetics or theory, but the music has affected my compositions greatly. I am deeply attracted to its bell-like sonority and the constant motion of the music.
            Fishdream is a tribute to that aural memory, which began in the early 1980s when I first
encountered gamelan music at the University of Hawaii, where I was a composition student. Fishdream has no beginning or ending; the performer is encouraged to discover the small interlocking patterns within the music. This composition is dedicated to Peter Jarvis, a musician whose professionalism I greatly admire. – Kung Chi Shing

Forced Bravery (2014) Gene Pritsker
            Forced Bravery takes its title from a paragraph in Dubliners by James Joyce, a short story called An Encounter. The two words struck me as descriptive of the composition I was working on at the time for 10 drum sets. This piece starts off with a buildup of a gigantic groove for all 10 sets. Adding little by little each drum set with individual patterns to assemble a giant groove cultivating in a big triple forte tutti and back down to the groove. The drums set up the main ‘Melody’ with quick individual fills and the 12/8 melody, a quintuplet figure, is thrown around groups of drum sets as the others keep various ostinati grooves. This melody is developed through the rest of the piece.
“My voice had an accent of forced bravery in it and I was ashamed of my paltry stratagem. I had to call the name again before saw me and hallooed in answer. How my heart beat as he came running across the field to me! He ran as if to bring me aid. And I was penitent; for in my heart I had always despised him a little.”
An Encounter by James Joyce from Dubliners                                                                                                                                                  – Gene Pritsker

To Asclepius, Opus 70 (2017) – Peter Jarvis
            To Asclepius, was completed on August 5, 2017 and is dedicated to Aiskel Virguez. The text is a Homeric Hymn (number 16.)   Asclepius, who was the son of Apollo and Coronis, was a Greek hero who later became the Greek god of medicine and healing. In the hymn, the lines “healer of sickness” and “a soother of cruel pangs” stood out to me. And, those lines, together with Aiskel’s ongoing humanitarian concerns and hope that one day all people will be treated with dignity and respect; I found inspiration to compose this piece. – Peter Jarvis

Full Fathom Five, Opus 71 (2017) – Peter Jarvis
            Full Fathom Five, was completed on August 13, 2017 and is dedicated to Jane Spears and her father who spent much of his adult life at sea.
In Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2, the spirit Ariel sings this song to Ferdinand, Prince of Naples, whom mistakenly thinks his father drowned. The poem speaks of Ferdinand’s father lying 30 feet below the sea surface. Every part of his body that would have decayed has changed into something rich and strange, but something belonging to the sea. His bones have changed to coral and his eyes to pearls. The sea nymphs, who live in the sea, ring his death bell every hour. – Peter Jarvis

Fang and Claw (2019)Peter Jarvis/Chris Opperman
            Being a huge fan of the PJ&F series (something I love even more than I love PB&J on a rice cake), I was very excited when Peter told me he’d be interested in having me collaborate with him on Vol. 3. I wanted to bring something a little different to the table and also wanted to see Peter rock out, so I proposed this piece.
We had so much fun putting this together and, after years of working on pieces of incredible detail and precision, I was dying to do something where I could just go all out! I’ll never forget the look on Peter & David’s faces after a couple of my piano takes. I think the fun we had really comes through in the track. Punk rock Peter Jarvis! – Chris Opperman

Passing Fancies II (1989)Stephen Peles
             Completed in 1989, Passing Fancies II reflects my continuing concern with “polyphony”; not merely (or even necessarily) as a conventional set of constraints upon the events of a work’s surface but -perhaps more importantly and certainly more interestingly – as a principal determinant of a work’s deep structure, overall progression, and form. My sense of polyphony in that respect owes much both to Schenker and to Schoenberg, and in the case of Passing Fancies II the primary components of that polyphony are the eight segmental pentachords (each unique to within the familiar transformations) of the work’s twelve-tone set, deployed at various levels and in multiple dimensions across eight corresponding sections of the piece, resulting in an intervallic environment which changes incrementally from section to section and only cumulatively reveals the underlying ordering of the set. Between a foreground and a background whose consistent events are conceived almost entirely in terms of those pentachords a middle ground level comprised largely of sets derived from the segmental trichords of the set projected by register-within-instrument serves to summarize and anticipate prior and upcoming moves through the piece’s pentachordal arrays. The work is dedicated to Peter Jarvis and Robert Pollock, whose shared commitment to new music inspired much of what is fanciful in the piece.  – Stephen Peles

To the Earth (1985)Frederic Rzewski
             To the Earth was written in 1985 at the request of the percussionist Jan Williams. Williams asked for a piece using small percussion instruments that could be easily transported. I decided to use four flower-pots. Not only do they have a beautiful sound, but they don’t have to be carried around: In every place where one plays the piece, they can be bought for a total cost of about one dollar.
The text, which is recited by the percussionist, is that of the pseudo-Homeric hymn “To the Earth Mother of AH“, written probably in the seventh century before the Christian era. This simple, poem in nineteen lines of dactylic hexameter is a prayer to Ge, or Gaia, goddess of Earth. The music which accompanies it is a sequence of 35 (= 5x 7) seventeen-second periods. Four lines of text occur for every five periods of music.
             The Earth ~ whatever it is — is a myth, both ancient and modern. For Heraclitus, it is a ball in the hands of a child. For the Kabbalists, it is the stuff of creation, an act so dangerous that it must never be undertaken alone. For Columbus, it is an egg. For us today as well, it appears increasingly as something fragile. Because of its humanly altered metabolism, it is rapidly becoming a symbol of the precarious human condition. In this piece the flower-pots are intended to convey this sense of frangibility.
             The writing of this piece was triggered by reading an article on some newly-discovered properties of clay, the substance of which pots, and golems, are made. Among these properties are its capacity to store energy for long periods of time and its complex molecular structure. It can function as a catalyzing template for the formation of large organic molecules, such as those of amino acids, the building-blocks of protein. This idea of clay as something half-alive, a kind of transitional medium between organic and inorganic materials, led me to take a look at flower-pots. I found, in fact, that some pots arc “alive” while others arc “dead”: Some emit a disappointing “thunk” when you lap them, while others seem to burst into resonant song at the slightest touch.
             My original design for the treatment of this text involved chorus, seven orchestras of different ethnic origin, and electronics (including the use of transducers for the simulation of seismic events). I am rather glad I dropped this project in favor of a simpler form. – Frederic Rzewski

Composition for One Instrument and Ben (1999) – Milton Babbitt
                Composition for One Instrument and Ben was written for a memorial concert for Ben Weber in 1999. Ben had prepared (as a copyist) my first published work: Composition for Four Instruments. Therefore, the title “Composition”, and the opening trichord of that work is the opening trichord of this little piece. – Milton Babbitt

Sonorities VI (1998)Patrick Hardish
             Sonorities VI (1998) for vibraphone was commissioned by the Composers Guild
of New Jersey and composed for Peter Jarvis. It is part of a series of works for solo
instruments called “Sonorities” where my main objectives are to showcase the technical
ability of the virtuoso performer using a modern vocabulary particularly in regard to
color and timbre. Coloristic devise in this piece include the uses of motor fan (tremolo
effect) on slow, medium, and fast, turning the motor on and off, glissandi, and playing
with or without the pedal.– Patrick Hardish

A Vaudevillian Circus in The City (2019) – Peter Jarvis/Chris Opperman
A Vaudevillian Circus in the City
      1. Sidewalk Chalk Princess
      2. Bumbling, Tumbling Baby Bears

III. Marching Marionettes

  1. Ballerina Tightrope Walker
  2. Car Clowns on Broadway
  3. The Master of Ceremonies Hears the Closing Bells and Packs Up the Wagons

             To be successful in the dance of free improvisation, one needs to listen thoughtfully in order to give their partner(s) space to express their ideas while simultaneously making substantive contributions. It requires a great deal of concentration, instinct, and confidence, since the music should, can, and will change at any moment. I loved getting a real-time look at Peter’s immense timbral, melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic imagination. – Chris Opperman

Orbits (2015) – Glen Velez
             This Piece, composed for Peter Jarvis, is built on the idea of taking a duple rhythm, which is based on 2 or 4 notes per pulse, and shifting it to 3 notes per pulse. The Bass Drum keeps the basic pulse all the way through. The effect should eventually feel like the Bass Drum is syncopated, even though it is steady on the pulse all the way through. Masmoudi, a traditional Arabic rhythm, is the main rhythm used and is presented in its duple version in the first 4 measures of the piece. – Glen Velez

Structures 3, Opus 119 (2019) – Peter Jarvis
             Structures 3, Opus 119, for piano, bass drum and trumpet, continues a series of duos, largely improvised, wherein I am thinking more about the structure than any other aspect of the piece.  My Structures 1, Opus 81 for marimba and drum set (composed for Payton MacDonald) and Structures 2, Opus 82 for vibraphone/percussion and marimba/drum set (composed for Kevin Norton) were both completed in 2018.  Both pieces are on Jarvis and Friends, Volume 2 and I am delighted to include this piece, composed for Chris Opperman (who played bass drum and trumpet while I played the piano) on this volume 3. – Peter Jarvis

Six-Hands for Scott, Opus 57 (2017)
             Six-Hands for Scott, Opus 57 was completed on January 8, 2017.  It is dedicated with much respect to the great American composer, Scott Joplin, to celebrate his 150th birthday; there is some doubt to the exact date of his birth, given on his tombstone as November 24, 1868, but it is generally thought to have been in late 1867 or early 1868. The piece is for three piano players who are asked to share one piano (so “six-hands”).  Although the work is dedicated to a great ragtime master, it in no way reflects ragtime music. – Peter Jarvis

Half of a Color, Opus 65 (2017) – Peter Jarvis
             Half of a Color, Opus 65 (2017) was completed on July 2, 2017 and is happily dedicated to John Ferrari. This is the third piece I have composed for John and I hope to have opportunities to compose many more pieces for him.  My Opus 5: The Snares of Time and my Opus 20: Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Sextet are the other two pieces; John has recorded both, the later with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble with me conducting. The name of the piece comes from the next piece I will compose, which be and expansion of this piece. It will be composed for John and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. The piece will be the other half of a color. – Peter Jarvis


 To Asclepius – Homeric Hymn (number 16) – Translated by H.G. Evelyn-White

I begin to sing of Asclepius, son of Apollo and healer of sicknesses.
In the Dotian plain fair Coronis, daughter of King Phlegyas,
bare him, a great joy to men, a soother of cruel pangs.
And so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to thee!

Full Fathom Five by William Shakespeare from his play The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2

Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them,–ding-dong, bell.

To the Earth – Homeric Hymn #30

To the Earth, Mother of all, I will sing, the well-established, the oldest, who nourishes on her surface everything that lives.
Those things that walk upon the holy ground and those that swim in the sea and those that fly, all these are nourished by your abundance.
It is thanks to you if we humans have healthy children and rich harvests.
Great Earth, you have the power to give life to and to take it away from creatures that must die.
Happy are the ones whom you honor with your kindness and gifts; what they have built will not vanish.
Their fields are fertile, their herds prosper, and their houses are full of good things.
Their cities are governed with just laws, their woman are beautiful; good fortune and wealth follow them.
Their children are radiant with the joy of youth, the young women play in the flowery meadows, dancing with happiness in their hearts.
Holy Earth, undying spirit, so it is with those whom you honor.
Hail to you, Mother of life, you who are loved by the starry sky; be generous and give me a happy life in return for my song so that I can continue to praise you with my music.