Music of Stephen Dembski
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR570     Release Date: 2007-01-01

The New York New Music Ensemble: [Jayn Rosenfeld, flute; Laura Flax, clarinet; Daniel Druckman, percussion; Linda Quan, violin; Eric Bartlett, cello]; The Prism Orchestra; Robert Black, conductor; Rolf Schulte, violin; Fred Sherry, cello; Alan Feinberg, piano

Born in Boston in 1949, Stephen Dembski studied piano from an early age, and later (in elementary school) took up the flute. As a teenager, he played a lot of rock and roll and folk music, then became more involved with long-form improvised music, such as the jazz of Cecil Taylor. To support himself, he worked in mental hospitals and as a tree surgeon. While in his early twenties, the composition of strictly-notated music began to supercede his work as an instrumental performer.

In the early 70s, Dembski migrated to New York from Antioch College where he studied composition with John Ronsheim. After six months as a record salesman and two months as a tour guide, he began composition studies with Bülent Arel at SUNY-Stony Brook. From there he went to Princeton, where he received an M.F.A. and a Ph.D., and where his primary teacher was Milton Babbitt.

The works on this disc chronicle the development of Dembski’s mature musical language—a language that incorporates aspects of both tonal and twelve-tone methods. His approach to compositional structure takes the tonal system as a model for the relations between the various materials from which musical surfaces are constructed, and tonal polyphony as the model for the relations between the entities comprising those surfaces. But Dembski’s craft also involves some of the fundamental aspects of twelve-tone thought. A conception of pre-compositional structure provides the basis for generating arrays of pitch classes; these, in turn, are the basis for harmonic and contrapuntal sketches that are rhythmically animated and re-imagined as musical gestures, textures, articulated segments. In this synthesis of twelve-tone and tonal thinking, a musical world comes into being.

This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Various Artists

Music of Stephen Dembski

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Alta
Stephen Dembski
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Alba: I. Pressante
Stephen Dembski
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Alba: II. Calmissimo, sospeso
Stephen Dembski
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Alba: III. Allegro
Stephen Dembski
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Alba: IV. Fast and loose, ma non troppo
Stephen Dembski
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Alba: V. Moderato ben misurato
Stephen Dembski
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Digit
Stephen Dembski
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Trio
Stephen Dembski
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Stacked Deck
Stephen Dembski
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Altamira
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Spectra
Stephen Dembski
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