Chris Rutkowski

Composer | Pianist








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Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (2008) c. 20'
Piano Reduction


Comments: PIANO REDUCTION of Consortium Commission by Indiana Univ, Emory Univ., Univ. Of Wisc.-Whitewater, Truman State Univ., Univ. of Idaho. Thomas Walsh, Commission Coordinator

In three movements:
1. "Rage" Short and pointillistic
2. "La Luna D'Oro" Based on "Serdeczne Matko", a Polish folk tune/hymn. Begins quietly and intensifies rhythmically and dynamically to a climax, at which point the hymn is heard in a lyrical but contemporary setting. The cadenza links thematic material from the second and third movements.
3. "NOLA" Based on authentic Second Line rhythms of New Orleans, LA (NOLA). Two sections alternate between the two sides of the New Orleans clave-first 3-2 then 2-3. In classic Second Line manner, the hymn, played as a dirge on the way to the cemetary (in the second movement), is reset in double time on the way back. An exuberant and joyous movement, it ends with a bang.






Program Notes






Available for Purchase c. April 2009







Spirals (2006), string quartet c. 8'



Comments: Commissioned by violist Susan Chan for the New Century String Quartet. Inspired by Brahms' String Quartet, Op 67, III; in which the viola plays the leading role while the other strings are muted. Thematic material is taken from opening bars of the Brahms then freely developed along the model of a series of coexisting spirals-some tighter, some looser. Thus, after opening in a relatively brisk tempo, a steady progression from slower to faster tempi leads to an vibrant finale. Among the development techiques employed is a substantial fugal treatment of the Brahms theme, which is also directly quoted near the end.

Spirals was choregraphed by Elizabeth Mikautadze for her modern dance company, The Mikautadze Dance Theater in 2014. Follow the link below to view an excerptow are athe a











Program Notes (pdf)













Passages (2005), cl/vc/pno c. 20'


1. Halaka (5:38)
2. Lament (7:46)
3. Dancing...on an Eight-Spoked Wheel (6:39)


Comments: Premiered by the Ronen Chamber Ensemble. "Halaka" is a free and jazzy resetting of a klezmer tune. "Lament" alternates between a twelve-tone development of a three-note motive and a rich harmonic treatment. "Dancing" is a groove featuring hammered pizz in the vc, and a drum-like repeated note muted with a finger inside the pno. Individual movements can be performed separately. (Read the Review)






Program Notes (pdf)













Divertimento (2002, revised 2006), fl/cl/vn/vc/pno c. 20'


1. Prologue: Toccata attacca (0:51)
2. Air
3. Echoes (4:26)
4. Song, with Words Unsung attacca
5. Epilogue: Toccata (4:00)


Comments: Premiered by the Ronen Chamber Ensemble. Inspired by the neoclassic works of Stravinsky. The first movement provides fundamental motivic material for the entire work. The second movement features shakuhatchi techniques in the flute. The third adapts the opening harmonies into staccato attacks which are sustained by sympathetic vibrations in the strings of the piano. The fourth sets the text of a poem by the commissioner, Ann Bretz-the text appears in the score but the words are unsung. Newly revised for 2006 and to be recorded by the Ronen Ensemble. (Read the Reviews)






Program Notes (pdf)













Dervish (1999, rev. 2006), sax quartet (10:11)



Comments: A free fantasy on an authentic dance used in the ceremonies of the whirling dervishes, who are priests in the Sufi sect of Islam. The Sufis are considered heretics, especially in the puritanical forms of Islam (such as the Wahabists who provide bin Laden with his theology), in part because of their sensuality and use of music in their ceremonies. This piece has been broadcast in Israel (Kol Hamusica), Japan (NHK), and several times in America (eg: Wisconsin Public Radio). Dervish has been revised in 2006 and recorded by Thomas Walsh o a CD titled Intersections, released by Arizona University Recordings in July, 2010.


WATCH: Video from Peabody Performance






Program Notes (pdf)












Dervish (1999), arr. for string quartet (10:58)







Dance (1996), vn/pno c. 4'







Dark Matter (1995), fl/cl-bs cl/vn/vc/pno/perc c. 15'


1. (...Dark Matter)
2. (...Invocation)
3. (...The Dance of Shiva)
4. (...Ritual)
5. (...Dark Matter) (3:40)







From Parallel Streams (1994) sop-ten sax/bari sax/pno/perc c. 13'


Comments: Winner of the 1993 Michigan Music Teachers Association Composition Competition













Luminescence (1993) fl/ob/cl/bsn/2 hns/2 tpts/tbn/tuba/ perc/pno c. 15'







Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano (1990) c. 15'


1. Allegro
2. Passacaglia
3. Allegro


Comments: Winner of the Fine Arts Festival at Illinois State University Music Award







Duo for Flute and Piano (1988) c. 8'









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