OVO KOLO is a traditional Croatian folk song that has inspired Michael Ippolito to compose THIS CIRCLE
Currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at Texas State University, Michael Ippolito'€™s music has been praised by the New York Times and performed by orchestras as diverse as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra. Among his teachers have included John Corigliano at the Juilliard School, and Joel Hoffman and Michael Fiday at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Music.
Now pair this talented emerging composer with one of America'€™s outstanding young chamber groups, Attacca Quartet, already with two other full length recordings on Azica Records, one devoted to the complete string quartets of John Adams and another featuring their original version of Haydn's "Seven Last Words on the Cross." The result of this match-up? A delightful array of vital, energetic, pulsating, heartfelt, carefully hued and intricately textured new music for string quartet and string trio.
"€śSonglines"€ť is Michael Ippolito's first CD commercial release devoted exclusively to a collective body of his work and deserves further attention.
Michael Ippolito was a composer fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and the Cultivate program at the Copland House in 2012. From 2004-2011, he was a participating composer and performer in MusicX, an innovative festival of new music in Cincinnati and Switzerland, where he worked as General Manager from 2008-2011. He has also participated in the "Upbeat Hvar" International Summer School in Croatia, Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany and the Oregon Bach Festival's Composers Symposium.
Ippolito is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Texas State University. He studied with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School and with Joel Hoffman and Michael Fiday at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
This Circle is a short piece based on a Croatian folk song "Ovo kolo."€ť A kolo is a broad category of circle dances, which can be sung or played by instruments, and can range from fast and lively to slow and lyrical. "€śOvo kolo"€ť is the slow, stately kind.
I first heard this song on an old field recording, sung by a group of women. Their singing was haunting, it had a kind of sad dignity and an intensity in their close harmonies. My piece begins with an expansive, meditative drone and gradually builds to a full-throated setting of the original song, before evaporating into harmonics at the end.
Praised by the New York Times for his "polished orchestration" that "glitters, from big-shoulders brass to eerily floating strings," Michael Ippolito's music has been performed by leading musicians in venues around the world. Drawing on a rich musical background of classical and folk music, and taking inspiration for visual art, literature and other art forms, Ippolito has forged a distinctive musical voice in a body of work spanning orchestral, chamber and vocal music.
This recording highlights works for string quartet by Michael Ippolito, a composer who has risen to the challenge and has honed his distinct musical voice through a broad array of experiences.
These experiences range from studying Croatian folk music, influences of which can be heard in the circle (scored for string trio); to absorbing and being inspired by diverse literary sources, as exemplified in his String Quartet No. 3 "Songlines" and Smoke Rings. An iconic Ansel Adams photograph serves as the inspiration for big sky, low horizon, while trace builds off of a series of crescendos to a wild conclusion.
Perhaps of more specific interest to CROWN would be a sincere and soulful piece that concludes Ippolito's "Songlines" CD.
And finally, I provide you with the comments from the composer himself with regard to this work, the only one on the recording scored for string trio (violin, viola and cello): €'This Circle is a short piece based on a Croatian folk song "Ovo kolo."€ť A kolo is a broad category of circle dances, which can be sung or played by instruments, and can range from fast and lively to slow and lyrical. "Ovo kolo" is the slow, stately kind. I first heard this song on an old field recording, sung by a group of women. Their singing was haunting, it had a kind of sad dignity and an intensity in their close harmonies. My piece begins with an expansive, meditative drone and gradually builds to a full-throated setting of the original song, before evaporating into harmonics at the end.'
Yes indeed, an excellent choice to wind things down in this tumultuous world of ours. And a brilliant way to bring an end to a musical cosmos that covered so much fascinating territory. We are offered this last soulful bit of music to skillfully reconcile all the musical drama before it. This kolo-inspired setting is so primal, basic, unadorned in its haunting, hesitating melodic motion, reinforced by a taut, almost strained harmonic texture, connecting us to something much more primal and yearning; new music that is intuitive and in synchrony with earth'€™s loftier sustained modes and rhythms.
Lest anyone should doubt an artistic rendering of a KOLO cannot add some stately poise into all our lives.
Many thanks to Mr. Michael Spudic for suggesting this article to the readers of the CROWN, as well as to Professor Micheal Ippolito for supplying us with OVO KOLO sung in Croatian, that has inspired his very interesting composition THIS CIRCLE.
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