Matt Marks

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Dear Mrs. Budd" from The Adventures of Albert Fish

Jeffrey Gavett - Voice, Andie Springer – Violin, John Pickford Richards – Viola, Kevin MacFarland – Cello, 
Eileen Mack – Clarinet, 
Timo Andres – Piano

Performed by Jeffrey Gavett - Voice, Andie Springer – Violin, John Pickford Richards – Viola, Kevin MacFarland – Cello,  Eileen Mack – Clarinet, Timo Andres – Piano.

The Adventures of Albert Fish is a song cycle based on letters and writings of the infamous 1920s serial killer Albert H. Fish. The text of Dear Mrs. Budd is taken verbatim from a letter written to the mother of one of his young victims. In spite of the horrific action described in the text, the piece is merely an exercise in propaganda: rather than commenting on or criticizing the text, the musical accompaniment exists in single-minded service to the text and attempts to reflect the mind state of the author, Albert Fish.        

At times cold, fearful, manic, jubilant, and touching, the piece contains moments of stark post-rock textures, Schumannian scherzo, and rock power ballad, often all in the span of a couple minutes. The vocal part in particular shifts between operatic, musical theater, and rock styles throughout the piece. The result is a funny and terrifying post-genre work of horror for chamber ensemble. The recording is from a Music With a View concert at The Flea Theater on February 17, 2010. 


Jeffrey Gavett - Voice, Andie Springer – Violin, John Pickford Richards – Viola, Kevin MacFarland – Cello, 
Eileen Mack – Clarinet, 
Timo Andres – Piano

High Fructose

Performed by Yuki Numata – Violin, Joshua Roman – Cello, Bill Kalinkos – Clarinet, Jason Treuting – Drum Set and Glockenspiel.

High Fructose was composed around the time I began to make peace with my tendency to write sentimental music, and I began to reconcile that inclination with my desire to emotionally manipulate listeners. The title arose from a desire for a musical term that would essentially describe dolce taken to its violent extreme. The piece balances rather tenuously between measured tonal and rhythmic progressions and an inexorable descent into teeth-rotting hypersentimentality.

The drum set part is sourced entirely from classic hip hop breaks and written in the style of chopped breakbeats à la 90s drum ’n’ bass and IDM (or intelligent dance music). The melodic and harmonic figures are predominantly ones I initially rejected because I feared listeners would think they were too sentimental. High Fructose had its world premiere on June 25th, 2009 in Seattle, Washington in the TownMusic series at Town Hall. The recording is from that world premiere performance.


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Comments [11]

ATS from NYC

If Orpheus wants a piece that no one will forget, commission Matt Marks. Seriously. His stuff won't leave your head (in a good way)!

Jul. 01 2010 10:15 AM

drgiles's comments are well-put together but very similar to numerous other comments. As pleasant as they are, they are not as detailed or as developed as I would like.

One could wish for a more in-depth development but, overall, a good professional effort.

Jun. 30 2010 05:06 PM

I dunno 'bout this here cowpoke.. Writin' bubblegum songs for murderers and whatnot. I think he needs to go back to what conservatory that made him and learn himself some of that nice transcendent music. The kind that betters the soul, ya hear?

Jun. 30 2010 11:12 AM
Boulezbian from Manhattan

I have heard that this composer composes Religious music. I would like Orpheus to commission him to write a Cantata.

Jun. 29 2010 03:07 PM

"Dear Mrs. Budd" from The Adventures of Albert Fish is well-put together but very similar to numerous other works. That is not to say everything has to be brand new and totally original but one should compose when one has an overwhelming idea and need to do so.

This piece may suffer from a less than sterling performance, though.

Jun. 28 2010 06:28 PM
jerry from cali

eerie and amazing

Jun. 27 2010 12:41 PM

I like fish.

Jun. 25 2010 11:36 AM
Anna from Berlin, Germany

far too similar to anything else.

Jun. 25 2010 03:00 AM
Charlemägnia from NYC

love love High Fructose. well-crafted objectification of our glossy and languid harmonic desires. hilarious, thoughtful, punky, and tastes like Pepsi Cola. sensitive use of the clarinet.

Jun. 22 2010 11:43 AM
Michael from NYC

Matt Marks is one of NYC's brightest musical talents. I've seen a few shows of his music, and it's always memorable. I'd be amazed to see what he could do with Orpheus.

Jun. 21 2010 03:11 PM
Lainie from NYC

Matt Marks makes music the likes of which I've never heard before. I'd love to see what he'd do for Orpheus!

Jun. 21 2010 11:34 AM

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