Program Notes

Adagio, originally written as the overture to Act 2 of Luce’s play “The Belle of Amherst,” about the life of Emily Dickinson, found its way into my piano suite entitled “Songs & Waltzes.”


“An Age Will Come…” was commissioned by Leon Botstein for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in 1991, and is dedicated to the composer’s parents, Giuseppe, Catherine and Vincent.

The title derives from a quote by Seneca in his book Medea which reads: “An age will come after many years when the Ocean will loose the chain of things, and a huge land lie revealed; when Tethys will disclose new worlds, and Thule no more be the Ultimate.” Columbus’s son annotated this passage in his father’s copy of the book with these words: This prophecy was fulfilled by my father the Admiral in the year 1492.

In spite of the richness and majesty of Seneca’s quote, the music itself is not programmatic but indeed is tightly organized from an abstract of melodic and rhythmic textures and orchestral color. This material follows its own exploratory logic, veering off in surprising directions in search of music that would not exist in the usual frame of expectation. The sense of hearing music sounding as if it were being composed at that very moment is an attribute that Bertolozzi strives for in all his music.

Though it was indeed commissioned for the 1992 season in connection with the Columbian Quincentennial, it was precluded from being performed by the political nightmare that enveloped the observance of that event, coupled with the orchestra eliminating their Fall chamber series in the summer just prior to the work’s scheduled premiere as they searched for a new music director.


Balkan Suite (The), excerpted from the ballet score BOSKO AND ADMIRA, was created for a smaller orchestral instrumentation than the original [winds/brass in pairs rather than quadruple winds/brass]. It features six dances depicting each of the countries which made up the former Yugoslavia, i.e.: Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Though the works capture the musical spirit of each country, all the music is original (and highly stylized). There are no authentic folk melodies in this score. The ballet’s scenario deals with events in 1993 during the war in Sarajevo. The synopsis follows below:

SARAJEVO – At 4p.m. on May 19, 1993, two young lovers, one Serbian the other Muslim, were killed while trying to cross over to the Serbian side of the Miljacka River from the Vrbana Bridge, a small, local crossing. They were supposed to have been able to travel under a pre-arranged guarantee of safe passage, but were shot by snipers about fifty yards from safety. While Bosko was killed instantly, Admira lived long enough to crawl over to Bosko and drape her arm over his body in a last embrace.


Belle of Amherst (The) Originally written as the two overtures to Luce’s play “The Belle of Amherst,” about the life of Emily Dickinson, this music found its way into my piano suite entitled “Songs & Waltzes.” The Overture to Act 1 is a gracious, pleasant waltz that sets the tone for us to meet the reclusive poet in her parlor. The Overture to Act 2 (Adagio) is a sadder piece, reflective of the melancholy and disappointment dealt to her in life.


Between the Bridges at Sunset is the sixth movement of “Suite Poughkeepsie,” composed to mark that city’s bicentennial in 1999. The movements are intended as evocations of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants.

As well as being visible from the waterfront, the trestles of the Railroad Bridge cross over several neighborhoods on the north side of town. The Mid-Hudson Bridge, (as I probably will always call it) remains a popular symbol of the city and is graceful both in its design and setting. There are few things comparable to walking across the span in the fall, heading towards Highland on the southern walkway with the foliage in front of you, and then back on the other side seeing the City of Poughkeepsie rise up out of the Hudson. The image from Waryas Park of the sun going down between the bridges will always be a source of poetry to those who view it. Performed here by SEATTLEMUSIC, Joel Eric Suben, conductor.


Bosko and Admira is a ballet whose scenario deals with events in 1993 during the war in Sarajevo. The synopsis and full scenario (also by Joseph Bertolozzi) follow below:

SYNOPSIS
SARAJEVO – At 4p.m. on May 19, 1993, two young lovers, one Serbian the other Muslim, were killed while trying to cross over to the Serbian side of the Miljacka River from the Vrbana Bridge, a small, local crossing. They were supposed to have been able to travel under a pre-arranged guarantee of safe passage, but were shot by snipers about fifty yards from safety. While Bosko was killed instantly, Admira lived long enough to crawl over to Bosko and drape her arm over his body in a last embrace.

BOSKO AND ADMIRA (Complete scenario)
SCENE 1
Set: Sarajevo 1990, before the dissolution of the old Yugoslavia. An old-style city square festooned for the national Holiday of the Republic. Stage left we see a large wall with an oversize mural (really a projection) of Tito. Stage right there is a large masonry pedestal supporting a monument to the Yugoslav peoples. Somewhat behind this is an abutment of a small bridge that empties into the square. In the square is a large crowd of people, some dressed casually, others in traditional garb. Silhouettes of church steeples stage right and minarets & mosques stage left spike the skyline in the distance.
1] The Day of the Republic celebrations are at their height.

2] Folk dancers take center stage with several traditional (or stylized, for our purposes) dances.

3] Almost imperceptibly, the picture of Tito has slowly faded away. In its place, projected images of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Boris Yeltsin atop a tank shaking his fist at the Army, and other such images catch everyone’s attention.

4] Inspired by this new freedom that is in the air, one exuberant group runs over to destroy the monument, while the remaining members of the crowd join together dancing, expressing triumph in their newfound freedom; one couple in particular, Bosko and Admira, emerges as the focus of attention.

5] The group over at the monument has divided into two rival gangs. They break up the dancing, forcibly separating the members of the crowd and delineating a clear division between their respective sides.

6] Bosko and Admira are separated. Bosko is physically restrained from crossing back to Admira. He is roughed up by the toughs on his side of the line and then pushed back and forth over the line to be roughed up by both sides. The unequivocal message is that Serbian boys don’t mix well anymore with Muslim girls. Both sides exit warily into the wings.

SCENE 2
Set: The same square at night, three years later. The square is ravaged from war. The bridge is barricaded. The steeples and minarets have eerily inclined toward each other giving the impression of aimed missiles.
1] A midnight tryst between Bosko and Admira. {after this love scene, the sky gradually lightens until it is morning by #5 below; the steeples & minarets also slowly, imperceptibly, right themselves to their proper angle by #5}

2] They hear a commotion, hide behind the rubble of the monument, and witness the execution of civilians by Serbian guerillas (whom we recognize as half of the group of thugs from Scene 1). Bosko and Admira are discovered and rousted to the wall for their own execution.
3] Soldiers of the Sarajevan government (the other half of the Scene 1 thugs) creep into the square to investigate the sound of the shooting. When noticed by the Serbs, a gunfight almost erupts. Admira runs between the two factions, addressing each side, imploring them to free her and her lover.

4] Both sides relent. The time of the safe-conduct is drawn on the wall by one of the gunmen who dips his finger into the blood of one of the bodies and draws the circle of a clock face, with the hands of the clock indicating 4 o’clock. All exit warily.

5] It is now morning. As the last soldier exits, two small girls come skipping in and kneel down to play a game of tic tac toe on the wall with chalk. When the game is over, as they get up to leave, one child takes the chalk and extends the minute hand of the clock upward and downward to touch the circle itself; she extends the hour hand out to the circle, and draws another hand out from the center line to the eight: a peace sign. They run playfully off.

SCENE 3
Set: Same place, the next day, just before 4pm. The barricade has been removed from the entrance to the bridge.
1] Exhilarated but anxious, Bosko arrives in the deserted square to wait for Admira. He frequently checks his watch.

2] Admira arrives and she is swept into his movement. With one final pause he checks his watch; they rush for the bridge.

3] An immense burst of gunfire brings them down immediately; we never see from whom or from where the barrage has come. With one final act of strength, Admira crawls to Bosko, draping her arm over his lifeless body in a last embrace.
(Curtain)


Bridge Funk is not an electronically enhanced recording. All sounds were sampled from the Mid Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY and used directly in this demo to pitch my project BRIDGE MUSIC to The New York State Bridge Authority. Upon hearing the demo (in 2006), NYSBA granted permission to pursue the project for the Hudson-Fuldton-Champlain Quadricentennial festivities in 2009. The intention was to compose a 45-60 minute suite to be played live with twenty percussionists. Using the same contact mics used in the sampling process heard on this recording, the music would have fed speakers on the shores of both sides of the Hudson River, with a simulcast on radio, cable, web, and TV.

The global economic depression of 2008 effectively thwarted any chance for funding so vast an enterprise as this live event, but a successful sound-art installation and “studio” album ensued, the album even climbing to #18 on that summer’s Billboard Crossover Charts.


Bridge Music was originally conceived as a series of live concerts. This recording, in addition to being prepared as an artwork in its own right, was also intended to be a guide to the performers and audio engineers. When the massive cost of producing such an event proved too formidable, the project evolved into a sound-art installation where listeners could go onto the Mid Hudson Bridge itself, or to its surrounding parks to hear the music, experiencing the surrounding river and mountains as their theater.

The idea of using a bridge for music is not a new one. Bill Fontana’s ‘Millennium Bridge,’ Jodi Rose’s ‘Singing Bridges,’ music by Einzurstende Neubaten, and many others are examples that are alternately ambient, electronically processed, inclusive of traditional instruments, or various combinations of those. What makes Bridge Music truly unique is that it presents fixed musical compositions using no other tones than those of the bridge itself. It also remains playable by the requisite number of live musicians for which it was originally intended.

The genesis of the project came after one of Bertolozzi’s solo percussion performances on The Bronze Collection at the 2004 US Tennis Open. As he and his wife passed a poster of the Eiffel Tower (where they first kissed incidentally), she took a swing at it as if Bertolozzi was playing one of his gongs. It was an epiphany: everything vibrates…why not play the Eiffel Tower like an instrument? He seriously considered pursuing that idea, but quickly realized that without strong cultural ties in Paris and lacking the ability to speak French it would come to naught. He studied domestic monuments for a suitable “instrument” and became interested in suspension bridges because the suspension cables (more technically known as suspension “ropes”) would provide not only a harp-like visual, but because like a harp, he could harness the ropes as musical “strings” as well.

The Mid Hudson Bridge was ultimately chosen because most of the playing surfaces could be reached from the bridge’s sidewalks, the bridge was of a human rather than gargantuan size (though it is still 3000 ft long), and there are lush parks on either shore for the originally intended live audience who, in addition to having an immediate view of the bridge, would have seen and heard the music from a stage with a large digital screen flanked by speaker columns, just like at a rock festival.

To plan for the concerts and to create this recording, Bertolozzi took hundreds of samples of the bridge’s various surfaces, catalogued them by pitch and geographic location, and then set about the task of creating a virtual instrument from which he could turn his vision into sound. The first work he composed was Bridge Funk, created as a demo or “proof of concept” to convince the New York State Bridge Authority that his idea was viable. The intention was to create something recognizable as music to the casual listener, to make one hear music before saying “what is that unusual sound?” The Board of Directors listened to Bridge Funk and gave Bertolozzi their approval. He then went on to explore the various facets of sound revealed by the bridge.

The Music
Finding himself with an extremely limited set of melodic notes, Bertolozzi turned not to the technique of theme and variations, but to rhythm and variations. Superimposed upon simple rondo forms (ABACADA, etc.) are subtly shifting rhythmic patterns, displaced downbeats and backbeats, and intricately composed (not improvised) rhythmic lace work connecting larger sections. Elements of foreground and background, contrast, color, counterpoint, momentum and flow all combine to create a constantly refreshed auditory palette.

[1] Meltdown The poet Goethe is attributed with saying “Architecture is frozen music.” And so with this great work of bridge architecture standing before him, Bertolozzi melts it back into music. Every available surface of the bridge is used in this piece, a calling card, as it were, to the public that this is what a bridge can sound like. Varying phrase lengths for the main melodic material and a constant shifting of its position over the thundering pulse give Meltdown a vibrant energy.

[2] Bridge Funk This work begins with the long, unpitched suspender ropes and rakes across the drainage grates and hand rail spindles. When the short suspender ropes enter sounding like a bass guitar, the rest of the music is set in motion. The bell-like sounds in the middle are physically quite far from each other: a gate hinge, a guard rail and a 16’ x 6” pipe supporting traffic lights over the roadway.

[3] Dark Interlude This is the one piece that is not driven by a steady pulse. It is purely melodic in a rhapsodic, free rhythm. Bertolozzi worked with only a very few notes to create this moving changeup to the propulsive force of the previous two tracks. It also excludes any glittery, sharp tones, being expressive with the muted colors of the suspender ropes, abutment saddle and panels.

The Hudson Suite [tracks 4-6]

[4] Toward the Horizon This first movement of The Hudson Suite was taken from Bertolozzi’s “Voyage of the Ancients,” a suite for his percussion project The Bronze Collection. It expresses the relentless persistence of an explorer with his eye on the horizon, in this case Hendryk Hudson. It ends (as all the movements of The Hudson Suite end) with the “rain stick” effect. This consists of 3/8” steel shot, plastic air gun pellets or copper BBs being dropped inside the towers to create a swirling effect. It is a general effect used in other movements as well, not necessarily indicative of water, but here used to tie the three segments together.

[5] The River That Flows Both Ways The native Americans used this name (Muhheakantuck in the original) for what we now call the Hudson River. Because the Hudson is really a tidal estuary (up until Troy, NY), the water flows both north and south with the tides. Rhythmic phrases of 10 counts underpin a capricious melody of disparate phrase lengths.

[6] Landfall Also arranged from “Voyage of the Ancients,” Landfall neatly wraps up the mini-suite with far more rhythmic variation than its Bronze Collection original. The bridge is short on sustained tones, so fresh and varied rhythmic combinations were used to fill the spaces between the melodic phrases; in the original, the spaces were connected by long ringing cymbals.

[7] Bright Interlude Where Dark Interlude moodily explores the lower registers, Bright Interlude is all about the higher notes. Perkily bouncing along, it is a set of variations and adornments around a central repeated note, a different treatment for each available pitch on the abutment saddle. There are very soft, almost inaudible punctuations from the bridge towers. This movement was inspired by the gamelan music of Indonesia.

[8] Steelworks The light atmosphere of the previous track gives way to a deep, aggressive attack in the bass for Steelworks. This movement is in the same mold as Landfall in that it morphs the opening groove into a totally different, syncopated part by song’s end.

[9] Rivet Gun Wild and Dionysian, Bertolozzi had the image of a nightclub in mind when writing this work. Pure percussion devoid of melodic direction, this piece seems to jarringly move into different beats from section to section, but it is an aural illusion: the underlying rhythmic unit remains constant. What is changing is the way the divisions of that unit are emphasized.

[10] Silver Rain This final piece begins with a carefully notated gesture of notes that seem to drop in randomly. It continues with sections that interlock and repeat in different guises. It is like the face of an old friend seen every ten years or so, recognizable only after the mind calculates the innocence of an unexpected encounter against something that seems familiar.

To experience Bridge Music in person
Bridge Music the installation is located at the “Franklin Delano Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY. The installation is of two components: the first consists of audio speakers mounted at designated Listening Stations on the bridge’s two towers that play the tracks of music on this CD on-demand with the option to hear each track individually in any order, or as a whole. The second component is a stereo radio transmission continuously playing on 95.3FM, accessible only within the parks flanking the bridge, namely Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie and Johnson-Iorio Park in Highland, NY.

Bridge Music is free and open to the public from April 1 through October 31 at the Listening Stations and year round in the parks.

Bridge Music was engineered by Ron Kuhnke of K-Town Studios, Kingston, NY.


Children’s Corner (The) These miniatures were written as birthday, Christmas, and bar mitzvah gifts for little friends of mine (not so little any more!) for them to play on their instruments (flute, trumpet, piano, etc.). In using the letters of their names that correspond to the names of the musical notes, the gifts were furtherpersonalized, and part of the game was to see if one could hear the name as it appeared.


Chorale Prelude on “Fulda” Performed here by Marjorie Jackson Rasche, F.A.G.O. on the 1998 Schantz Organ (V/117) at Moody Memorial 1st United Methodist Church in Galveston, TX, this work was commissioned by Fr. Paul Chovanec as a farewell present for Robert Fulda, organist of St. Christopher’s R.C. Church in Houston, TX. There happens to be a well-known Catholic hymn-tune named “Fulda,” and so it was very appropriate to use that melody as the basis for this composition.

Though the melody is outlined quite clearly (with each phrase separated by an interlude) it also appears in augmentation and retrograde. These arcane techniques never intrude on the flow of the music however; the piece sounds like a simple, straightforward setting. For the organist as executant, there are a couple of interesting components, such as having one hand playing (fleetingly) on two keyboards at once, and the use of the highest pedals where, at the end, a pedal ostinato gives way to a pedal chord while the hands play behind it in lower registers. The sheet music, published by Blue Wings Press, is available by contacting info@JosephBertolozzi.com


Chorale Prelude on “Narodil se Christus Pan” is heard here in its premiere performance by Marjorie Jackson Rasche, F.A.G.O., organ, Alecia Lowyer, oboe, and Allsion Young, flute, this is the second movement from “The Czech Chorale Suite.” In June of 1983, the Rev. Paul Chovanec travelled to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC and heard an organ recital given by Joseph Bertolozzi. Impressed with Bertolozzi’s own compostions, he commissioned him to write a new work for organ and instruments based on Czech hymntunes from the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.

‘Narodil se Christus Pan’ is the Christmas installment, and the words in English run as follows: “Christ the Lord has been born for us, let us be glad; The bloom of the rose has blossomed for us, let us rejoice. From a virginal womb, from a royal lineage, He has been born for us, for us.”

Though the individual movements were performed over the years as they appeared, the entire suite was premiered as a whole on September 11, 1997, at St. Christopher’s Church in Houston, Texas.


Colossus of Rhodes (The) Drawn from the suite “The Seven Wonders of the World,” for The Bronze Collection, an assemblage of gongs & cymbals, this movement is a tour de force, played mostly upon an 18′ chau gong, and ending with a great crash upon all the cymbals and gongs in a depiction of the destruction of The Colossus of Rhodes in an earthquake.


Clay Touched By God This piece uses the ancient technique of “soggetto cavato” to derive musical material from the letters in the names of the dedicatees. The music was written upon the departure of Rabbi Daniel Polish and Cantor Gail Hirschenfang from Vassar Temple. It is performed here by Gail Hirschenfang, soprano, Marka Young, violin, and Joseph Bertolozzi, piano.

The text is as follows:
Days pass and years vanish as we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, let us see your hand wherever we walk. Then we, clay touched by God will cry “Blessed is the Eternal One, the holy God.” (from the Reformed Jewish Liturgy)


COMMOTION was commissioned by Dr. Mark Davis Scatterday for the Eastman Wind Ensemble after hearing horn soloist David Lesser, and conductor J. Gregory Miller perform “The Contemplation of Bravery.” The unremitting aggression of “COMMOTION” is as far from the languorous sound-world of “Contemplation” as can be imagined, however. Tumultuous from start to finish, this short work’s rhythms, melodies, textures and sonorities crash atop one another unrelentingly, seeking some elusive target until a final, volcanic eruption brings it all to a close. Intending to write a vibrant new piece from the start, I could only come up with tender material in the beginning. I finally limited myself to accepting only inspiration I felt was ferocious enough, and then let that energy direct the work.


Concerto/Fantasy 85 Commissioned by The Hudson Valley Philharmonic for their first “New Wave” series, with Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground as guest guitarist, and Tom McCoy as synthesizer soloist, this piece makes use of my new [at the time] Yamaha SY 85 synthesizer as well as a rock combo & classical chamber orchestra. Conductor Randall Craig Fleischer premiered the work February 11, 1994 at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY.

What follows are the original program notes, analysis and acknowledgements: When the call came from Maestro Fleischer for a new work for this series, I thought it opportune to compose for my newly acquired synthesizer, the Yamaha SY 85, hence the title.

The Concerto/FantaSY is typical of my style: a blending of clear cut melodies with sometimes searing dissonances, highly complex metamorphoses of instrumental tone colors, and a multiplicity of overlapping rhythmic patterns. Formally it follows my aesthetic of creating a work which sounds fresh, spontaneous… to quote Alexandr Skriabin, “the best compositions (& performances) are those which sound like the finest improvisations.” Thusly it is highly rhapsodic in character.

Cast in ABCB form, the A section is a bold, athletic working out of a melody conceived November 25, 1981, and used here for the first time. Just about every player is given the opportunity to weave in and out of the ensemble and play a few solo phrases, but the SY 85 is given pride of place. Running head-long into the B section, we find ourselves in the midst of a lyric interlude which begins lightly and sparkly, but gives way to deep, very dark colors. The C section is cast over a constantly repeating pattern in the bass (which occasionally swims its way up to the higher voices). The vibraphone plays its own, separate pattern of five notes which, after every seven beats of silence, revolves its order, i.e.: 12345, 23451, 34512, etc. Over that is a third, separate element, a set of independent variations which culminates in a wiry solo for the SY 85 playing its melody four times: a) backward (retrograde), b) upside down (inverted), c) upside down & backward (inverted retrograde), and lastly(!) d) forward. With this climax we come back to the B material which now reveals itself to be more structurally significant than mere interlude fodder. With a roar from the brasses crowning all that has gone before it, the music, like water, finally seeks its own level and retires darkly, still-ly.

I would like to thank all of my friends for continuing to come out and support my music, and for this project in particular: Phil Petruzelli of Practical Solutions, George Calabrese, Steve Crodelle, Joe Broun, Gary Banks, & Mike Coughlin for their technical help with my computer, Josh Valleau for proofing, Vincitore’s Piano & Organ, The Alps Sweet Shop, Beacon, NY, Sheila & Sarah for their patience, Caroline, Keith, Karen, & Nannette at the HVP, Ralph Guzman, Tony De Paolo, & Sylvia Suzowski for their musical input, Harrison Libby for his FAX, Allison Craig Ober, Howard Grapper & Todd Leland at Maar Printing, and Maestro Fleischer for this evening’s opportunity to present a new work.


Contemplation of Bravery (The) was commissioned for the Bicentennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point and premiered March 18, 2001 in Eisenhower Hall by the USMA Concert Band under the direction of Major William Garlette, featuring Sgt. Harry F. Ditzel, french horn soloist.

“No marches! We have enough marches, and from the best! Do something different for us.” That was the advice Bertolozzi received from the West Point Band before beginning work. “In any event it was my intention to write something beautiful, so I introduced an introspective, meditative point of view into the genre of military music. Surely there are times when soldiers must think hard on their responsibility to perform their duty in the face of personal danger. This to me is the essence of bravery: to knowingly put one’s self at risk. I wanted to present my impression of someone meditating on the circumstances that requires them to relinquish their safety for a greater good.”

Though not literally programmatic, the music expresses the essence of its title:  the voice of the French Horn represents the personal, solitary thought with long, arching solo lines, while the rest of the ensemble surrounds it with an atmospherically textured landscape appropriate to evoking thoughtful reflections. The orchestration highlights the various colors, combinations and blends available only within the concert wind band. From filigreed figuration, and pungent mixtures, to roaring tuttis, gentle chamber combinations and solo voices, a coherent place was found for the entire sonic palette. There is even a section of “composed silence. “Wanting to include the whole range of sound to express the profundity of my subject matter, I placed, about two thirds of the way through the work, a blazing chord for low brass and percussion which then fades. Three piccolos reveal themselves and slowly ascend, drifting like wisps of vapor and hovering a bit before they dissipate. All the while three triangles have been gently shimmering in the background like stars and then they die away into what might be construed as a grand pause, but what is indeed a “moment of silence” which has been integrally added into the work.”

On the archival recording from the premiere one can hear Bertolozzi delivering his remarks to the audience before the performance, He mentions that bravery is not only the province of soldiers, but also of police and firefighters, and that the piece is really for all of those people as well. Who knew that six months later on September 11, 2001 there would be a sadly practical need for music that honored such heroes?


Contemplation of Bravery (The) THIS IS THE COMPOSER’S OWN ORCHESTRAL VERSION OF A WORK FOR SYMPHONIC BAND. THE RECORDING FEATURES THE ORIGINAL INSTRUMENTATION WITH MARK ROBBINS, HORN SOLOIST. This work was commissioned for the Bicentennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point and premiered March 18, 2001 in Eisenhower Hall by the USMA Concert Band under the direction of Major William Garlette, featuring Sgt. Harry F. Ditzel, french horn soloist.

“No marches! We have enough marches, and from the best! Do something different for us.” That was the advice Bertolozzi received from the West Point Band before beginning work. “In any event it was my intention to write something beautiful, so I introduced an introspective, meditative point of view into the genre of military music. Surely there are times when soldiers must think hard on their responsibility to perform their duty in the face of personal danger. This to me is the essence of bravery: to knowingly put one’s self at risk. I wanted to present my impression of someone meditating on the circumstances that requires them to relinquish their safety for a greater good.”

Though not literally programmatic, the music expresses the essence of its title: the voice of the French Horn represents the personal, solitary thought with long, arching solo lines, while the rest of the ensemble surrounds it with an atmospherically textured landscape appropriate to evoking thoughtful reflections. The orchestration highlights the various colors, combinations and blends available only within the concert wind band. From filigreed figuration, and pungent mixtures, to roaring tuttis, gentle chamber combinations and solo voices, a coherent place was found for the entire sonic palette. There is even a section of “composed silence. “Wanting to include the whole range of sound to express the profundity of my subject matter, I placed, about two thirds of the way through the work, a blazing chord for low brass and percussion which then fades. Three piccolos reveal themselves and slowly ascend, drifting like wisps of vapor and hovering a bit before they dissipate. All the while three triangles have been gently shimmering in the background like stars and then they die away into what might be construed as a grand pause, but what is indeed a “moment of silence” which has been integrally added into the work.”

On the archival recording from the premiere one can hear Bertolozzi delivering his remarks to the audience before the performance, He mentions that bravery is not only the province of soldiers, but also of police and firefighters, and that the piece is really for all of those people as well. Who knew that six months later on September 11, 2001 there would be a sadly practical need for music that honored such heroes?


Eccentricities of a Nightingale (The) (Suite from) Dedicated to my friend Skip Phillips, this concert suite was culled from my 1978 incidental score to the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.

The first movement of this suite is actually the overture to the first act, entitled “Alma” after the main character. Alma, on the verge of spinsterhood, is a singer of local reputation, and a very nervous person. Though the music is fairly consonant, it is very agitated, and this depicts her personality. The movement ends with a stylized nightingale birdcall a la Messiaen, and then closes with a simple E major chord…as though all is well.

The second movement entitled “Scherzo” comes from the overture to the second act and is simply a piece of music to cover the scene change, but is very exuberant.

The third movement, entitled “Episode” is actually the overture to the play’s short fourth act and was originally entitled “Epilogue.” Containing Alma’s theme from the first overture played on a solo cello, all the agitation is stripped away, and Alma’s despair is laid bare.

The Interlude, equally spare, is taken from background music during a scene.

The final movement is entitled “Musee Mechanique – Theme & Variations.” I wrote an original music box theme (necessary for the play’s action), and developed it through four variations. When the original theme returns after the variations, now played very slowly, we realize that each variation was slower than the one that preceded it, like a music box winding down. The rest of the incidental score contained music for scene changes, the music box theme and songs for Alma to sing in addition to these curtain raisers.

There was such great material in this score that I used parts of it in other works, thinking that if I had to wait for performances of this play with my music, it might never be heard again, even with this concert suite version, especially because of its unusual instrumentation.


Eili, Eili: O Lord My God This is simply my musical interpretation of Hannah Szenesh’s simple yet powerful poem. It may be performed from this edition as a piano/vocal solo; vocal/piano trio; or vocal/piano trio with SATB. Any version is acceptable, but if performed without strings, the pianist must play the cue notes in the piano score. It was commissioned for the birthday of Herbert Shander by his wife Bente Yael Hoegsberg. It is performed here by Gail Hirschenfang, soprano, Marka Young, violin, Nanette Koch, Cello, and Joseph Bertolozzi, piano.

The text, by Hanna Szenesh, is as follows:

Eili, Eili, she-lo yi-ga-meir le-o-lam:
Ha-chol ve-ha-yam, rish-rush shel ha-ma-yim, be-rak ha-sha-ma-yim, te-fi-lat ha-a-dam.
Ha-chol ve-ha-yam, rish-rush shel ha-ma-yim, be-rak ha-sha-ma-yim, te-fi-lat ha-a-dam.

O Lord, my God, I pray that these things never end:
The sand and the sea, the rush of the waters, the crash of the heavens, the prayer of the heart.
The sand and the sea, the rush of the waters, the crash of the heavens, the prayer of the heart.


Fanfares from “The Portrait” These two Fanfares function as the overtures before each of the two acts of Flaminio Scala’s commedia del’arte play ‘The Portrait,’ and are done in a renaissance style. The entire incidental score includes works for recorder, brass quartet, cello, harpsichord, & SSA songs. The musicians on this recording are Brian Pudney, George B. Hunt and Brian Heffernan on trumpets, Willard Rivenburg, trombone, David Gee, cello and Joseph Bertolozzi, harpsichord. The play was produced by the Vassar College Drama Dept. Elizabeth White, Director, on November 15-17, 1979, Avery Theater, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY.


Feast at the Italian Center (A) is the fourth movement of “Suite Poughkeepsie,” composed to mark that city’s bicentennial in 1999. The movements are intended as evocations of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants.

The tarantella which constitutes A Feast at The Italian Center is a veritable perpetual motion in which the theme, simply stated by the solo violin, is tossed around the entire orchestra. Anyone who has attended the Italian Center’s functions, either privately or in one of their public festivals, will recognize the good cheer that is always present. Performed here by SEATTLEMUSIC, Joel Eric Suben, conductor.


First Landfall (The) (from “Voyage of The Ancients”) Composed for The Bronze Collection, an assemblage of gongs, cymbals and roto-toms, this movement evokes the anticipation and joy of primeval sailors seeing land after a long journey at sea.


Grand Motets for the Sacred Triduum Written between 1988-1995 for chorus, soloists and large orchestra with organ, the Grand Motets are designed to be performed either as a concert suite or separately according to their liturgical functions on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. In the Roman Catholic tradition, the main worship services for these three days are known as The Triduum and are actually components of one large service spread across three days. Their scale makes them particularly suited for solemn observances in large spaces, where they can unfold in an unhurried atmosphere.

The first movement, “Hail, True Body” (based on the “Ave Verum Corpus” text), and is dedicated to the singers & musicians of the Music Program [1985-1991] at St. Mary, Mother of the Church, Fishkill, NY, for whom the piece was written.

The second movement, “The Reproaches” is dedicated to Fr. John Albino, Fr. Bob Calabrese, Fr. Paul Chovanec, Bro. Hilary Rodgers, Fr. Luke McCann, Rev. Michael Webber, Rev. Henry Wuertz, Valerie Feit, Mark and Betsy Lawlor, Sarah and Paul Patterson, David and Randi Petrovits, and Sheila & Sarah. Thank you for your help. J.B. 7/11/95.

The third movement “Mary, Queen of Heaven” connects the joyful Easter Alleluias to Christ’s mother Mary, patroness of the church for which this piece was written. This music is also dedicated to the Music Ministry at St. Mary, Mother of the Church, and can use the chorus & orchestra spatially separated into two groups plus an antiphonal trio of trumpeters, and an antiphonal “echo duo” of two sopranos. This spatially separated performance practice is how this movement was premiered on March 25, 1989.

TEXTS:
1. HAIL, TRUE BODY
(Text adapted by Joseph Bertolozzi from “Ave Verum Corpus,” ascribed to Pope Innocent VI, d. 1362)
Hail, true body,
Born of Mary by a wondrous virgin birth.
Slain on the cross to redeem us, to save us:
Dying on the cross to save us,
To redeem the Sons of Earth.

Blood flowed from You as they pierced You,
Be our food in time of death.

O sweet Jesus,
Gracious Jesus,
Jesus son of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

2. THE REPROACHES
(Text adapted by Joseph Bertolozzi from “The Improperia,” from the Roman Catholic Liturgy for Good Friday.)
My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

I planted you as my fairest vine,
But you yielded only bitterness.

From slavery in Egypt to freedom I led you,
I fed you manna,
I brought you through deserts to The Land I Love.
For forty years I led you safely,
But you led your Saviour to the Cross.

What more could I have done for you?

With saving water from the rock I cooled your throats,
O but in my thirst you gave me vinegar and gall.

Holy is God!
Holy and strong!
Holy immortal one, have mercy on us!

Answer me my people,
How have I offended you?
What have I done to you?

Honor, Praise, Blessing;
Sweet Faithful, Glorious Cross,
Tree whose Flower saved the world.
Offerings, Laud, Worship, Veneration,
Homage, Tribute, Adoration.
Reverence, Honor, Glory.

My people, what have I done to you?

Holy is God!
Holy and strong!
Holy immortal one, have mercy on us!

I led you out of Egypt from slavery to freedom,
But you led your Saviour to the Cross.

I gave you a royal throne,
But you gave me a crown of thorns.

I opened the sea before you,
But you opened my side with a spear.

I raised you to the heights of majesty,
But you have raised me high on a cross!

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.

3. MARY, QUEEN OF HEAVEN
(Text adapted by Joseph Bertolozzi from the 14th century Latin chant “Regina Caeli” and The Litany of the B.V.M.)
Mary, Queen of Heaven,
Rejoice, Alleluia!
For He whom you were found worthy to bear,
Has arisen as He said.
Pray for us to Christ our Lord. Alleluia.

God, Lord God.
Pray for us.

Mary,
Mother of our Saviour,
Virgin of all virgins,
Rejoice, Alleluia!

Maria,
Mother of God,
Mother of the Church,
Queen of Heaven,
Vessel of Honor of the Prince of Peace.

Sancta Maria, Alleluia.

Mary, Queen of Heaven,
Rejoice, Alleluia!
For He whom you merited to bear,
Rejoice, Alleluia!
Has arisen as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us, Alleluia.


Great Pyramid of Giza (The) Drawn from the suite “The Seven Wonders of the World,” for The Bronze Collection, an assemblage of gongs & cymbals, this movement creates a quiet, timeless atmosphere, using three strokes, one each on the Chau Gong, and two different sizes of Wind (or Feng) Gongs, as the primary musical gesture


Homecoming (The) (from “Voyage of The Ancients”) Composed for The Bronze Collection, an assemblage of gongs, cymbals and roto-toms, this is the final movement of the suite “Voyage of the Ancients,” and evokes the primeval sailors who, after a long journey, dance on the deck in joy as they see their homeland appear over the horizon.


Hymn This song uses Edgar Allan Poe’s “Hymn” as its text, a rare example of his religious work. The musicians on this recording are Denise Bonnet, mezzo, and Joshua Valleau, piano.

The text is as follows:

At morn, at noon, at twilight dim,
Maria thou hast heard my hymn:
In joy and woe, in good and ill,
Mother of God be with me still.

When the hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee.

Now when storms of fate overcast
Darkly my present and my past,
Let my future radiant shine,
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.


I Lift My Soul was written with the voice of Cantor Gail Hirschenfang in mind for the 150th anniversary of Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1998. Scored for SATB (divisi) chorus and soprano soloist, the text is drawn from Psalm 25 and the Reformed Jewish Sabbath liturgy. The words are in English and Hebrew.


Meditation on “Divinum Mysterium” From my many years in playing in houses of worship, this has become a signature piece. It is a simple adornment of the Gregorian Chant upon which it is based, and has suggested many things to different people…water, snow flakes, the twinkling of starlight, and even butterflies. I enjoy the myriad interpretations my listeners have come back with.


Love of God (The) When asked by Carol Reichert to write music for the 150th Anniversary of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church (FELC) of Poughkeepsie NY, I was happy to be able to do so, for this church is where I had my first taste of playing upon a pipe organ, my teacher Ray Corey being the Music Director here at the time.

This commission was originally envisioned as a single concert work, but as we proceeded with scheduling, budgeting, etc, it was clear we that might only have time to rehearse something of intermediate complexity, and in any event we wanted a piece of music that would “have legs,” that is, be performed beyond its premiere; writing three pieces for use in church worship became the model from then on. I don’t have a favorite among them; they are each different and I like them each on their own merits.

Carol had a clear idea of what she wanted expressed in this new music, which was basically that no matter what we do or have done to us, God is always there. I wrestled with finding the right texts to hang my notes upon, and after quite a while searching, decided to write my own text. When I had finished hammering the words of the first number into shape (the anthem version of “The Love of God”) I still needed two more sets of lyrics, and decided to use the same basic words for the remaining pieces. After all, a composer should have the technique to be able to compose many different versions of the same texts; think of the dozens of Mass settings each by composers like Palestrina, Gabrieli, etc. So I molded the original text, distilling and amplifying where necessary into the formal structure for both a traditional hymn and a “world music” setting, which was important to Carol as FELC’s legacy of mission work over the years has always been integral to its ministry.

This music is dedicated to the honor of Dr. Hermann Wolff, founder of Lunch and Listen Program 1979-1999 and in memory of Thelma and Henry Reichert.

The text is as follows:

THE LOVE OF GOD – Words by Joseph Bertolozzi
Hymn

Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.
Solitude, doubt, or distrust cannot move our God,
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.

Nothing can ever displace all the love of God.
Helplessness, hurt, or disgrace cannot move our God,
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Nothing can ever displace all the love of God.

Loving the memory of Love is the love of God.
Pain sent from loss does not send us the loss of God,
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Loving the memory of Love is the love of God.

Let all the earth be fulfilled in the love of God.
Charity not to be stilled marks the love of God,
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Let all the earth be fulfilled in the love of God.

THE LOVE OF GOD – Words by Joseph Bertolozzi
Anthem

You are not alone though unfairness blocks your way
You are not alone in the circumstance of pain.
Loss, hurt, indignity, worry, insecurity,
You are not alone, you are not alone
So think, hope, pray for God’s grace accompanies your way.

(Refrain)
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.
Solitude, doubt, or distrust cannot move our God.
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.

 

You are not alone in the helplessness of age.
You are not alone even when you lose your faith.
In the work that you hate, when a child goes away, every time you fail,
You are not alone. You are not alone.
So think, hope, pray for God’s grace accompanies your way.

(Refrain)
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.
Solitude, doubt, or distrust cannot move our God.
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.

THE LOVE OF GOD – Words by Joseph Bertolozzi
Anthem – World Music Version

You are not alone though you’ve found a friend has gone away.
You are not alone though circumstance dictates you are in pain.
Hurt, loss, indignity, worry, insecurity,
So think, hope and pray. God’s grace is yours today.

(Refrain)
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.
Loneliness doubt, distrust cannot move our God,
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.

You are not alone in the helplessness of your old age.
You are not alone even if you start to lose your faith.
So think, hope, and pray. God’s grace is yours today.
Love dwells inside you; show it and show the way.

(Refrain)
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.
Loneliness doubt, distrust cannot move our God,
For God is Love and faith in Love is the act that fixes the world.
Nothing can stand between us and the love of God.


Mass of St. Mary, Mother of the Church In the spring of 1986, the pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill, NY (where I was Director of Music) suggested I write a Mass setting to use in the parish. With two existing pieces of mine forming a nucleus (the Sanctus and Agnus Dei), I set upon the project, introducing various movements into the musical life of the parish piecemeal as they were being composed. By November 1987 I had completed the entire work, scoring it for the choral and orchestral forces available to me at St. Mary’s. The title derives from the name that was conferred on St. Mary’s Parish by the pastor and myself when he wanted to distinguish the church from the at least three other bordering parishes with the name St. Mary’s.


Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (The) Drawn from the suite “The Seven Wonders of the World,” for The Bronze Collection, an assemblage of gongs & cymbals, this movement utilizes many special effects to achieve a haunted, otherworldly atmosphere.


Midnight Tryst (Love scene from Bosko and Admira) This is an excerpt of the ‘Love Scene’ from the ballet BOSKO AND ADMIRA that deals with events in 1993 during the war in Sarajevo. The synopsis follows below:

SARAJEVO – At 4p.m. on May 19, 1993, two young lovers, one Serbian the other Muslim, were killed while trying to cross over to the Serbian side of the Miljacka River from the Vrbana Bridge, a small, local crossing. They were supposed to have been able to travel under a pre-arranged guarantee of safe passage, but were shot by snipers about fifty yards from safety. While Bosko was killed instantly, Admira lived long enough to crawl over to Bosko and drape her arm over his body in a last embrace.


Missa Matthew Written as a Christmas gift for The Rev. Fr. Matthew Yatkauskas, this work uses the initials of the name “Matthew” as the thematic notes for the piece. As of this writing it comprises only the Kyrie & Agnus Dei parts of the Mass; the rest of the Ordinary will follow. Premiere: June 24, 2005, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church, Poughkeepsie, NY at the American Guild of Organists Region II & III Convention, Joseph Bertolozzi conducting the “Bertolozzi Alumni Choir.”


Night at the Bardavon (A) is the opening movement from “Suite Poughkeepsie,” written for the Bicentennial of that city’s founding as a village in 1799. The movement began life as an overture I wrote for a production of “Puss in Boots” by Community Children’s Theater of Dutchess County, scored for flute, synthesizer, and piano four-hands. It is quintessential theater music and always cried out for orchestral treatment, so it was a gift to have the opportunity to transfer it to the big stage of the Bardavon where I spent many an occasion watching movies, concerts and live shows.


Oseh Shalom was commissioned in 1998 by Howard and Emily Himelstein in memory of Marion Himelstein for the 150th anniversary of Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The words translate as “He who makes peace in Heaven will make peace for us throughout Israel, and we say Amen.”

The original Hebrew text is as follows:

Oseh shalom b’imromav,
Hu ya’aseh shalom Aleinu,
V’al kol Yisrael
V’imru amen.

It is sung here by the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble with the choir from Congregation Shir Chadash, Lagrangeville, NY, and Cantor Gail Hirschenfang on descant.


Partita on “People Look East” This is a three-movement treatment of the Advent melody “Besancon” which in English is commonly set to the words “People Look East.” This is a favorite hymn tune of mine, and is arranged for organ with optional pedal. Published by Wayne Leupold Editions, 2006. Duration c. 3:30


Pioneers vs. The Warriors (The) The Pioneers Vs. The Warriors is the second movement from “Suite Poughkeepsie,” written for the Bicentennial of that city’s founding as a village in 1799. Each movement is intended as an evocation of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants. This movement simply calls to mind the city’s two hometown high schools, pitted against each other as rivals.


Play Station Jingle These two tracks [30 seconds & 60 second donut] were written as commercials for the Fox Network in the Syracuse, NY market for an indoor playground in the days before the name PlayStation was taken over by SONY for its videogame platform. I was going for a ‘fun’ sound.


Poema sul L-E-O-N-A-R-D-O I wrote and dedicated a very short piece as a gift for my friend Mike Mueller, using the initials of his name for the notes. About 15 years later, the work was expanded about five times in length and re-christened under its present name. The new, revamped music was written for guitarist and composer Terry Champlin for his concerts in Vinci, Italy, where he was to play for the installation of Leonardo’s great ‘Cavallo’ sculpture in the square in Vinci. The expanded material now includes the initials for the names V-I-N-C-I, L-E-O-N-A-R-D-O, and B-E-A-C-O-N, the city where the bronze statue was cast. Unfortunately Terry never got to give his performance in Italy, as days before he was to leave, in September of 2001, the World Trade Center was destroyed in terrorist attacks, and all flight travel was immediately suspended.


Prologue from “Waiting for Godot” Featuring Franko Richmond on piano and Paul Gallo on clarinet, this is the overture to Act I from a larger incidental score I wrote to Samuel Beckett’s play WAITING FOR GODOT. Originally composed for a production at Vassar College in 1978, it was subsequently used again in 1991 (with other new music) for a well-received production at The Festival Internationale de Cafe Theatre, La Roele Theatre, Villers-les-Nancy, France, under the direction of Keith Teller for Apple Blossom Productions. It also functions nicely as a short recital piece for clarinet.


Psalm 139: I Praise You for I am Wonderfully Made Commissioned by the Central Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, this liturgical work takes its text from the Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Premiere: June 24, 2005, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church, Poughkeepsie, NY at the American Guild of Organists Region II & III Convention, Joseph Bertolozzi conducting the “Bertolozzi Alumni Choir,” with Denise Bard as cantor/soloist.


Seven Wonders of The World (The) is a vast exploration of man’s ancient monuments through the world of gongs, cymbals and roto-toms. Ambient washes of sound flow through clear-cut melodies, viscerally producing images of awe and grandeur as translated through sound.

A complete studio recording is planned but for the moment only the first*, fifth** and sixth*** movements are available here:

* “The Great Pyramid of Giza” creates a quiet, timeless atmosphere, using three strokes, one each on the Chau Gong, and two different sizes of Wind (or Feng) Gongs, as the primary musical gesture

** “The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus” achieves a haunted, otherworldly atmosphere in its utilization of many special effects.

*** “The Colossus of Rhodes” is a tour de force played mostly upon an 18′ chau gong, and ending with a great crash upon all the cymbals and gongs in a depiction of its destruction in an earthquake.

The movements of the entire suite are as follows:
1. ‘The Great Pyramid at Giza’
Man fears Time, but Time fears the Pyramids.
2.
‘The Hanging Gardens of Babylon’
Thick trees, fragrant fruits, and aromatic flowers rise above the desert floor.
3. ‘The Statue of Zeus at Olympia’
Behold the priestly chants, prayers ascending heavenwards like incense, to Zeus.
4. ‘The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus’
The goddess of hunters and the woodlands presides over her forest.
5. ‘The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus’
Is it the wind or is it the cries of the spirits within which sound among these pillars?
6. ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’
After 56 years, this 110-foot tall bronze statue crashed to the ground in an earthquake.
7. ‘The Lighthouse of Alexandria’
Its great fire and mysterious mirror, shining 35 miles out to sea flickered for 1,300 years in our imaginations.


SHEILA MY LOVE Composed as a birthday present for my wife in 1984, this lush love song, scored for SSAATTBB, a cappella is performed by the Wichita State University Madrigals under the direction of Dr. Thomas Wine. This live recording is from the 2007 Festival of Contemporary Music at WSU.


Soldiers Memorial Fountain (The) Excerpted from a larger work written to commemorate the Bicentennial of Poughkeepsie, NY, this movement is an elegy to the city’s fallen, portraying a nineteenth century fountain in a small park in the city’s south side. This is one of the most beautiful melodies I have ever written. Performed here by SEATTLEMUSIC, Joel Eric Suben, conductor.


Songs & Waltzes For some reason I seem to have composed a fair number of waltzes. It’s not something I consciously set out to do, or did for any particular love of the genre, although I suppose in retrospect one could say that it was for love of the genre and that I just didn’t know it! I decided to assemble some of the better ones in alternation with contrasting pieces and present this piano suite in my solo concert performances.


Stabat Mater (Variations on) This setting for organ is intended to be used as interpretive accompaniments to the verses sung during the “Stations of the Cross” liturgy. Depicting Christ’s journey from his sentencing to his resurrection, this service usually has the congregation moving from one “station” to the next, each station marked with a painting, sculpture or bas-relief. There are typically 15 stations with accompanying prayers (though historically the number has varied) and as the group moves from station to station, a verse is sung, the verses having been written by Jacopone da Todi, a Franciscan friar in the 13th century.

An alternate performance practice for this piece is to have a reader recite each verse, followed by the music as a meditation on the words. At the conclusion of the 15th setting, conclude with the word “amen.” This version was first performed with Ken Recknagle as narrator March 22, 2009 at Christ Episcopal Church in Suffern, NY. Published by Wayne Leupold Editions, 2006. Duration c. 4:00


Suite Poughkeepsie When Poughkeepsie, NY marked the Bicentennial of its founding as a village in 1999, it was fitting that they celebrated by presenting a work written by Poughkeepsie native Joseph Bertolozzi, and performed by the local orchestra, The Hudson Valley Philharmonic under the direction of Randall Craig Fleischer. Commissioned by David E. and Margaret L. Engel, it is dedicated to Lillian Rauth Engel, Vassar College Class of 1910. In Suite Poughkeepsie, Bertolozzi felt “the best way to celebrate musically was to write a fun piece.” He continues: “Suite Poughkeepsie is intended as an evocation of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants. It is not an overview of  the municipality’s rich history; perhaps someday that may be another work!

The opening movement, A Night at The Bardavon, began life as an overture I wrote for a production by Community Children’s Theater of Dutchess County, but was scored only for flute, synthesizer, and piano four-hands. It is quintessential theater music and always cried out for orchestral treatment, so it was a gift to have the opportunity to transfer it to the big stage of the Bardavon where I spent many an occasion watching movies, concerts and live shows.

The next movement, The Pioneers vs. The Warriors simply calls to mind the city’s two hometown high schools, pitted against each other as rivals.

The Soldier’s Memorial Fountain is a brief elegy to the city’s fallen. The site was a favorite place to go for walks when I was a child, and it is wonderful to see it restored again.

The tarantella which constitutes A Feast at The Italian Center is a veritable perpetual motion in which the theme, simply stated by the solo violin, is tossed around the entire orchestra. Anyone who has attended the Italian Center’s functions, either privately or in one of their public festivals, will recognize the good cheer that is always present.

Next we find a bridal march in A Wedding from Vassar Chapel. I chose this piece to bring us into the Arlington section of the city, and also as a remembrance of the times I have played the organ there myself.

Finally we come to Between the Bridges at Sunset. As well as being visible from the waterfront, the trestles of the Railroad Bridge cross over several neighborhoods on the northside of town. The Mid-Hudson Bridge, (as I probably will always call it) remains a popular symbol of the city and is graceful both in its design and setting. There are few things comparable to walking across the span in the fall, heading towards Highland on the southern walkway with the foliage in front of you, and then back on the other side seeing the City of Poughkeepsie rise up out of the Hudson. The image from Waryas Park of the sun going down between the bridges will always be a source of poetry to those who view it.


Tarantella Performed here by Marjorie Jackson Rasche, F.A.G.O. on the 1998 Schantz Organ (V/117) at Moody Memorial 1st United Methodist Church in Galveston, TX, the most satisfying part in playing this organ pedal solo is that the organist gets to ‘dance’ the tarantella as he/she is playing it! Beginning life as a work for solo violin written for an incidental score to Flaminio Scala’s commedia del’arte play “The Portrait,” I liked the theme so much I gave it a full orchestral treatment as ‘A Feast At The Italian Center’ in my “Suite Poughkeepsie.”


THREE SHORT CHORAL ANTHEMS for SATB chorus (#2 with organ) was composed for Zion Episcopal Church in Wappingers Falls to supply the anthems for the Sunday readings when I was a guest organist there one month. This was not required of me, but I felt inspired. The first movement “All I Care for Is Knowledge of God” is heard here in a performance by the Wichita State University Madrigals under the direction of Dr. Thomas Wine, from the 2007 Festival of Contemporary Music at WSU.


Trances & Visions is an arrangement by the composer of the first movement of “The Trumpet of Salvation,” a cantata for baritone, trumpet and organ commissioned by Paul Chovanec in 1999. The text is drawn from the fearsome Old Testament prophesies of the Second Book of Joel, verses 12-18. The music’s dark tone suggests the utterances of a seer deep in meditation, a voice emanating from the most interior regions of the soul. As such, the piece is just as appropriate for an introspective worship service as it is for the concert stage. Its nature is similar to the soaring and ebbing solo horn lines in Bertolozzi’s The Contemplation of Bravery and the opening vocalise to “The Reproaches,” the second movement from Grand Motets for the Sacred Triduum.

This work was created in 2010 for hornist David Lesser, a good friend and champion of the music of Joseph Bertolozzi. Duration: c. 5:30.


Trio Con Brio Performed here by the Spring Trio, Meyer Kupferman, clarinet, Bertha Frank, flute, & Margaret Helfer, oboe. Movement titles: I. Trio Con Brio; II. Adagio; III. Sonata Brioso.

Meyer Kupferman asked me to write a short piece for a series of concerts he was doing with his wind trio, and I composed the pointillistic first movement titled “Trio Con Brio.” Later on he asked me to expand it, and the subsequent movements were added: the beautiful “Adagio,” which has since been re-scored for orchestra as “The Soldier’s Memorial Fountain,” the third movement of my ‘Suite Poughkeepsie,’ and “Sonata Brioso” which is an arrangement of ‘Prelude in G’ from “Suite for a Wedding,” originally for organ. I was quite sick when writing these pieces, composing them in bed with the aid of a tiny electronic keyboard to check pitches.

I was not a student of Meyer’s, yet he was still so generous to offer me the opportunity to be associated with him and to have him perform my works (I was still a very young composer, about 22-23). That was typical of his generosity of spirit, and there is no other composer who has been so tangibly encouraging to me, with his invitations to participate in various concerts, and to attend concerts together as audience members, and just talk shop. I miss him.


Trumpet of Salvation (The) was commissioned by The Rev. Fr. Paul Chovanec of Houston Texas and was premiered July 10th 1999 by Michael Sust, bass-baritone, Jo Deen Blaine Davis, organ and Troy Rowley, trumpet at St. Christopher’s Church, Houston.It commemorates the annihilation of the town and residents of Lidice, Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. Fr. Paul’s idea was for a solo cantata with trumpet obbligato, using texts that literally spell out the role of the trumpet in the plan of Christ’s redemption. From his letter:

“There is a reference [in the Liturgies of the Roman Catholic Church] to sounding the trumpet on Ash Wednesday, and 40 days later at the Easter Vigil, and again 40 days later on Ascension Thursday. The melodies associated with these three texts could become the basis of a three-section work for three performers.”

The texts come from the following sources:

I.     The Ash Wednesday Old Testament Reading – Joel 2, 12-18, using the Tonus Prophetiae
II.     The Easter Vigil Exultet
III.     The Ascension Thursday Offertory Antiphon (now suppressed) drawn from Ps. 47. This text (but not the melody) currently appears as the refrain to the Responsorial Psalm for the Ascension Thursday Mass.

NOTE: The organ registration on this recording reflects the original disposition of the one manual & pedal Visser Rowland organ for which it was composed. The music score also outlines a more colorful registration for instruments with a larger stoplist to draw from.


V’shamru was written in 2007 for use in worship at Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie, NY. It is sung here by Vassar Temple Cantorial Soloist Elisa Dugatkin, accompanied by Joseph Bertolozzi, organ.

The words translate as
“And the Children of Israel observed the Sabbath,
to make the Sabbath for their generations an eternal covenant.
Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever,
that in six days did HASHEM make the heaven and the earth,
and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”

The original Hebrew text is as follows:
V’-shamru v’nei Yisroel et ha-Shabbat, la’asot et ha-Shabbat le-doro’tam brit olam. Bei-ni u-vein b’nei Yisroel ot hi le-olam, ki shei-shet ya-mim ah-sah A-do-nai, et ha-sha-mayim ve-et ha-aretz uva-yom ha-shevi’i shavat va-yi-nafash.


Voyage of the Ancients is a vibrant suite evocative of mythical times when heroic mariners sailed to the horizon and through underground seas. A complete studio recording is planned but for the moment only the second* and final** movements are available here, though you can hear and see an excerpt of the first movement by going to the VIDEO CLIP menu at www.JosephBertolozzi.com.

* “The First Landfall” evokes the anticipation and joy of seeing land after a long journey at sea.
** “The Homecoming” evokes the primeval sailors who, after a long journey, dance on the deck in joy as they see their homeland appear over the horizon.

The movements are as follows:
1. The Summons/Setting Sail
2. The First Landfall
3. The Waves of the Lindenbrook Sea
4. Relentless: Toward the Horizon
5. On The Sea of Japan
6. The Homecoming


Wedding from Vassar Chapel (A) is the fifth movement from “Suite Poughkeepsie,” written for the Bicentennial of that city’s founding as a village in 1799. Each movement is intended as an evocation of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants. The bridal march that makes up “A Wedding from Vassar Chapel” brings us into the Arlington section of the city, and is also as a remembrance of the times I have played the organ there myself. The Hudson Valley Philharmonic under the direction of Randall Craig Fleischer premiered the entire Suite in 1999. Commissioned by David E. and Margaret L. Engel, it is dedicated to Lillian Rauth Engel, Vassar College Class of 1910.


Wings of Eagles was premiered August 18, 2004 in Poughkeepsie, NY by The Concert Band of The United States Military Academy at West Point, with LTC Thomas Rotondi Jr. conducting. It was Bertolozzi’s second piece written specifically for the West Point Band, and was composed in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the City of Poughkeepsie.

Though Wings of Eagles could be played in any theater or outdoor space, it was conceived as a site-specific, outdoor composition, taking advantage of the physical characteristics of Poughkeepsie’s Civic Center Plaza and the surrounding architecture. The main contingent of the band was placed at street-level on Mansion St, in front of the Main Post Office; three antiphonal trumpets were stationed atop the roof of the adjacent Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper building, and three more on the balcony of the Post Office, above and behind the Band.

Additionally, during the finale, the tower bell of the Post Office and the bells of local churches and civic buildings were rung. While the other bells tolled their traditional peals, the Post Office bell sounded out the last names of the patrons who commissioned the work in (very slow) Morse Code, in an additional nod to the City of Poughkeepsie, which Samuel Morse called home. With the music coming from three separate locations and with the bells enveloping the area, it was as if the whole city itself was being played.