Reviews
Compositions

"Continuums," for Orchestra

The New York Times,  August 6, 1968: ... Mr. Trythall's music is not at all the alienated, multimedia campy type current today. A long, sustained, shifting, overlapping section, about two-thirds of the way through is overtly moving and it strongly involved the emotions.

"Coincidences," for piano (Composers Recordings, Inc., CRI SD 305 (1973)

The Village Voice, New York, April 12, 1973:  Trythall's well crafted piano piece, "Coincidences", works its way into a long series of chords which were apparently the result of some systematic process.

San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 1974: ... a stunning piano work...A controlled change of phrase lengths sets up tantalizing implications and expectancies. Chord sonorities increase in scope and density, but Trythall's refined ear and pianism admits only sounds of a pervading sensuous appeal.

"Verse," an event for Slides, Film and Tape (Film by Milton Cohen)

Buffalo Evening News, March 6, 1972:   "Doors" Opens the Mind to Sights and Sounds...Mr. Trythall's tape presented aural textures and rhythms to complement those of the film, using as his building blocks street noises, speech snippets, children singing, and assorted electronic sounds...a viable and atmospheric  bit of musical theater...

"Omaggio a Jerry Lee Lewis," for stereo tape (LP: Composers Recordings, Inc., CRI SD 382 later reissued on CD by RéR Megacorp: RéR CMCD)

Contemporary Keyboard Magazine, March 1978:  ...a hilarious piece that successfully bridges the gap between academic electronic music and the Firesign Theatre

The Flint Michigan Journal, December 11, 1977:  One of the most amusing pieces of electronic music released ... a fantasy that captures the feeling of the song while manipulating it sometimes beyond recognition. ... pulsating drive and carefree exuberance ...sensitively employed electronic techniques.

High Times Magazine, January 1979: ...lifts "Whole Lotta' Shakin' Goin' On" to an ever higher level of electricity. Sparks fly, the hum in the amps becomes a UFO's lift-off, the guitar twang remains as a reference point, and Jerry Lee's disembodied, reverbed voice becomes a divine injunction to "wiggle it around".

Fanfare, March-April 1978: ...Part collage, part decollage, the "Omaggio" treats Lewis' "classic" "Whole Lotta' Shakin' Goin' On" not just as a theme, but as the keystone to the aural evocation of an era so recently bygone that its survivors can remember it with some accuracy - the fragmented, distorted, dreamlike, but ultimately faithful accuracy with which "Omaggio" reproduces "Whole Lotta' Shakin'".

The Ticker, Baruch College, CUNY,  May 23, 1979: Jerry Lee Lewis is back with a fine album produced by Bones Howe, but even better is Richard Trythall's Omaggio a Jerry Lee Lewis. It sounds like an electronic composition with rhythm, but it's all cut and edited from Jerry Lee Lewis.

All About Jazz, Internet Review: ReR CMCD Six Classic Electronic Works, May 2005: On a lighter note, Richard Trythall’s “Omaggio a Jerry Lee Lewis” is constructed upon Lewis’ classic rocker “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On.” Here, Trythall uses electronics to alter and then remix Lewis’ aura into a fragmented and wacky electronics-induced fabrication. http://www.allaboutjazz.com

Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 39, No.3 (2006), The MIT Press, Review of the CD:  ReR CMCD Six Classic Concrete, Electroacoustic and Electronic Works, 1970-1990: The last track is a fine piece of rethought audio Pop Art, as strong as the best Plunderphonics works of John Oswald. Richard Trythall's "Omaggio a Jerry Lee Lewis", opens with sonic glimpses of the old rock n' roller Lewis, as if a curtain coyly parts momentarily then snaps shut. We strain to hear tantalizing bits of the pop narrative "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" as the song gets subjected to speed changes, filtering, loops and reverberation by Trythall. Sometimes this results in the song sputtering into bouncing fragments like ball bearings or air-rifle BBs emerging from a chute. Sometimes the listener is spattered with pulsing bursts of vocals or guitar lead, and sometimes we have to duck from the demon pianos swooping from the rafters that Trythall has unleashed from Jerry Lee's tortured soul. Michael R. Mosher

BBC, Experimental Music, Review: ReR CMCD Six Classic Electronic Works, Jan 2005: ... Trythall morphs "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" into a cubist soundscape. If you were able to listen to Jerry Lee Lewis in more than one dimension simultaneously, this is what it might sound like.

"Variations on a Theme by Haydn," for woodwind Quintet and Tape (LP: Composers Recording Inc., CRI SD 382)

Fort Wayne News Sentinel, January 21, 1978: ... a shadowy, dream-like piece with the Haydn tune almost always just out of reach. I like it.

Performing Arts Magazine, February 1978:  ....appealing in its offbeat way

Contemporary Keyboard Magazine, March 1978: ..The Trythall pieces are both quite remarkable. The Variations use the same Haydn theme that Brahms used in his well known orchestral piece; here, it is chopped up and mutilated, often appearing as filtered pulses of sound.

The New Records, May 1978:  ...technically expert, brilliantly executed...

 High Times Magazine, January 1979:  In "Variations on a Theme by Haydn" a woodwind quintet and a tape deck find happiness by dissecting part of Haydn's Divertimento No. 1 and reassembling it into a new creation unified by the bits of classical harmony that escaped destruction.

Fanfare, March-April 1978:   The Chorale...is sewn through all aspects of the rich musical fabric, popping up here in the flute and clarinet, there in the horn, another time in tape-recorded pixillation, turned into percussive twitters and ruminative squawks... successfully evocative  Variations.

"Salute to the 'Fifties," for percussionist and tape

The Buffalo News, September 15, 1986: "Salute to the '50's" had percussionist Jan Williams battering a trap set and various gongs, drums, cymbals and vibes to a fragmentary tape of Jerry Lee Lewis performing "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On". Williams effectively adopted the slightly crazed air of both avant-garde percussionist and frenzied teen-ager of the rock 'n' roll era, forcing the styles into a sort of grudging compatibility if not genuine marriage.

"Bolero," for four percussionists

The International Daily News, Rome, May 29, 1980:  .."Bolero" built up with mounting excitement...The range and power that developed was truly intoxicating and there were many swaying heads in the audience.

The Buffalo News, September 15, 1986:   The hit of the afternoon...It follows the rhythm of the bolero dance and the general form of Ravel's famous piece, starting quietly and building inexorably. In between there are various pairings and internal ensembles, and excellent dramatic variety.

The New York Times, January 18, 1987: "Bolero"...made a grand noise as it tapped, rattled, clattered and thundered the bolero rhythm, surging and abating by turn.

The Phoenix, Brooklyn, January 26, 1987: ...Trythall makes the famous, obsessive dance rhythm his own. ... There is much dynamic, inventive interplay between the players...This  "Bolero" is an an exciting and accessible creation.

The New York Times, March 1, 1987: Concert: A Tribute to Paul Price "Over the course of a career that spanned four decades, Paul Price introduced more than 400 new percussion works and distinguished himself as performer, a conductor and a teacher. Wednesday night at the Manhattan School of Music, where Mr. Price taught for many years, the Manhattan Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Claire Heldrich, presented an apt, loving tribute to the late Mr. Price... The works included the angular, pop-influenced symmetries of Frank Zappa's "Black Page", the inexorable rhythmic buildups of Richard Trythall's "Bolero," the gentle, exploratory shadings of Lou Harrison's "Song of Queztecoatl" and the ambitious percussion quartet by Lukas Foss....One suspects that Mr. Price would have approved of this catholicity, of Ms. Heldrich's splendidly efficient timekeeping, of the spirited, accurate performances, and of the enthusiastic audience that shouted itself hoarse.

Neue Zeitschrift fuer Musik (1991 -), Vol. 157, No. 6, November Dezember 1996, pp. 20-21,"Schlag Auf Schlag". Review of CD: X-pression: Richard Trythall wagt in Bolero eine Auseinandersetzung mit dem grossen Vorbild von Ravel, indem er als roten Faden den uhrwerkartign Rhythmus waehlt, der raffiniert mit Kreuz und Gegenrhythmen untergraben und ueberlagert wird, wobei ein Werk intensivster Spannung und aesthetischer Stimmigkeit entsteht. Christoph Wagner

"Bolero," for four percussionists, as ballet score

O Estado de S. Paulo, Sao Paulo,  September 1, 1982: .."Bolero" is a physical experience for the spectator - an intense exchange between the performers and the public.

Jornal da Tarde, Sao Paulo, September 3, 1982:  The music constantly injects doses of energy into the performers.

Fôlha de S. Paulo,  Sao Paulo, September 9, 1982: .. a beautiful work that overflows with vitality and energy.

O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, November 1, 1982:   ....an explosion of emotion, movement and light.

Washington Post, Washington, D.C., December 17, 1984: ... bodily and spatial patterns of circularity play against the hypnotic drumming score of American composer Richard Trythall.

"Recital No. 1," for piano

Il Tempo, Rome, February 15, 1981: It is a  straight-forward declaration of love for romanticism, without inhibitions, as if romanticism were a poetic and linguistic mode of the past which was still rich in potential development today.... Both Chopin and American folk melody figure together in a marriage as candid and disarming as it is unreal. ...a freshness of inspiration to be envied...youthful music

International Daily News, Rome, February 15, 1981: What we heard was a series of nine miniature "tone poems"...There was not one dissonant note, there was structure and form, there was fastidious craftsmanship, there were very personal melodies with heartfelt emotions. ..Although romantic in essence, there was none of the usual trappings of Romanticism - exhibitionism or the merely sentimental. On the contrary, the style did not cloy because of its discretion.

Avvenire, Rome, June 17, 1982: .. full of ideas .. a personal touch dominated by remarkable lyricism and elegance....all filtered through originality

"Ballad," for Piano and Orchestra

Avvenire, Rome, November 2, 1983:   Trythall confirmed his gifts as piano soloist and those (even more remarkable) as composer.

la Repubblica, November 1, 1983: ...New in every sense...  full of interesting ideas

"Capriccio à la nuit," for three percussionist and tape: ballet score

Paese Sera, November 24, 1984:   Magnificent...The music is rich, suggestive and very well suited for the dance. (Vittoria Ottolenghi)

"Arabesque 2," "Insieme," "Solo," "Fantasy," for piano (Aspen Records: APN 30301)

Contemporary Keyboard, April 1985:  Four exquisite piano solos, performed by the composer. Primarily a consonant harmonic language, but far more sophisticated in line and nuance than the typical folk piano recording. "Arabesque 2", for example, uses fast, quasi Oriental treble lines over a simple but constatnly shifting rhythmic figure. (Jim Aikin)

Pianotime, June 1985:   ... a journey in search of emotion, of sound as seduction...Trythall's compositions are conceived as if they were improvisations, in which the repetition and expansion of basic melodic cells gives the composition the character of a conversation - a soliloquy intended to reach others.

Suono, April 1987: .. original and personal music..His is a vision in which the piano regains its expressive integrity, its cantabile nature, its warmth, its melodic values, without remaining mired in romanticism...works full of fascination and of subtle invention.

"Mirage," for piano

L'Unità, Rome, November 21, 1987: ...a complex group of deeply musical emotions ...a profound, spacious and extremely gentle "Rêverie".

Pianotime,  January 1988: ..a seductive improvisation with a rarefied harmonic atmosphere ...an astonishing soliloquy, very personal, of real charm.

"Out of Bounds" (CD combining remixes of "Mirage" (1989) and "Piano Solos" (1984), released in 2005)

KnoxNews, Knoxville, April 24, 2005: Despite a folksy tinge to some of the melodies, Trythall's references were classical, but loaded with soul that could communicate to fans of any style of music... Trythall's music is deep and emotional. "Insieme (Together)," from "Out of Bounds," feels like a complete journey in eight minutes. Throughout the disc, Trythall utilizes his mastery of the keyboard, but uses it to tap into emotions rather than just show off technique. Complete review of CD

"Parts Unknown," for piano

Il Tempo, Rome, December 11, 1991: ...To this listener, Trythall's work resembled a multi-surfaced kaleidoscope of colors.... His style is, in fact, similar to a river which, in flood, tows away with it a variety of objects and things, mixing them with little coherence as in a dream vision where syntactic and lexical relationships are, by definition, loosened. It is an iridescent and many faceted game of musical images in constant alternation....

KnoxNews, Knoxville, April 24, 2005: "Parts Unknown" gathers together 12 previously unreleased compositions recorded from 1989 to 1991. The songs are denser and more complicated, with an even more classical edge, but just as beautiful (as "Out of Bounds"). Complete review of CD

Transatlantic Magazine, Paris, April, 2006: ... eminently accessible and broadly tonal, if stylistically hard to pin down. Skryabinesque romantic flourishes coexist quite happily with spare, Copland fifths, limpid flurries of Ravel-like faux-baroque ("Intermezzo") and snatches of what could be John Adams' Grand Pianola Music (Trythall has recorded it, by the way), and there are reverential nods to both Debussy and Ligeti in the "Etude". Meanwhile, dip at random into "Soliloquy" and you might even be fooled into thinking it's Keith Jarrett. Rather like the early Scelsi piano sonatas, Trythall's music is composed but it has the feel of transcribed improvisation; he's content to let his ideas flow rather than develop them. We're talking Schumann, not Stravinsky. Richard Trythall is obviously clearly in love with the piano and the music he writes for it, and it shows. Complete review of CD

"Night Rider," for piano

Elbe-Jeetzel Zeitung, Schreyahner Herbst Festival, November 10, 1997: ...an impetuous, audacious piece... awakens memories of dense African percussion music

 

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