American Dream — Scott Wollschleger

Scott Wollschleger’s American Dream is a major addition to Bearthoven’s repertoire, a substantial work in the composer’s already impressive catalogue, and the focal point of this  program. The thirty minute piece is an intricate quilt of delicate textures and sound objectscomposed for piano, double bass, and percussion. Throughout the work, Wollschleger pairs his signature pianistic style with ethereal bass harmonics, pitch pipes, and a variety of innovative percussive sounds to create a captivating mosaic of sound. After a soft premiere of a portion of American Dream at LPR in April, I Care if You Listen called the work “Stunning, almost hypnotic.”

In Wollschleger’s own words: “American Dream is a reflection on fragility, hope and despair. The piece's original emotional impetus came out of what I experienced during the 2016-17 election cycle. As I developed the composition with Bearthoven the piece became more abstract and more about what I imagined were "broken songs" arranged as floating sounds in a fragmented time field. These broken song are permeated with an ominous sounding tone cluster which is perpetually transformed throughout the work. This cluster was a feeling of doom that was unavoidable while writing the piece. At the work's conclusion the cluster finds its resolution, hopefully in a sublime way. The overall arch of American Dream is expansive and drifting. The musical wandering coupled with the paradoxical mix of contrasting emotions creates a dream-like state which can perhaps be a simultaneous reflection on abstract sounds and a reflection on the larger social and political space we find ourselves in today.”

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