Piano Portraits: Nightwatch, by Marjorie M. Rusche

  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18177/sym.2013.53.sr.10298

This audio file is a performance from the New Music Composers’ Forum, March 2, 2013, Musica Reginae Productions, The Church-in-the-Gardens, Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, New York, Barbara Podgurski, piano.

Recording Date: March 2, 2013
Recording Location: The Church-in-the-Gardens, Forest Hills, Queens, New York, New York
Ensemble Type: piano solo
Duration: 0:10:00
Performer: Barbara Podgurski

About the Music

Composer: Marjorie M. Rusche
Instrumentation: piano
Place of Composition:  Mishawaka, IN
Date Composed: August 8, 2001; rev. March 16, 2003
Place First Performed: The College Music Society Great Lakes Conference, Saint Marys College, Notre Dame, Indiana
Date First Performed: April 4, 2003
Score: available here
Reviews: available here
Music Styles: Drama/dramatic, Melodic/thematic, Modernist, Post-tonal, Romantic, Serialism

In Memorium portrays the struggle for life of a patient in an intensive care cardiac unit as well as the loved one’s emotional fluctuations during the night vigil. Rolled cluster chords open the work. A nine-note row motive is then presented and repeated in varied form throughout the work. Agitated and rapid cluster chords and arpeggios frame a calmer, more melodic and tonal middle section. The movement ends quietly, with a varied lyrical restatement of the first five notes of the row.

Bluesy Cantabile is the calm after the storm, the determination to go ahead with life mixed with nostalgia. It opens with a 6/8 melodic line constructed from the d minor blues-inflected scale. The melody shifts to the left hand with chords added in the right, then is developed in a more contrapuntal texture. The music then transforms into a marcato chordal texture using expanded tertian harmonies, with the mood intensifying through the use of syncopation and stretto. Mirroring the process of the first movement’s ending, the second movement closes with a wistful and tranquilly subdued restatement of the opening cantabile theme.

Written in honor of Alice Maxine (Collins) Rusche, my mother. Premiered by Maria Stablein April 4, 2003, at The College Music Society’s Great Lakes Chapter Conference held at Saint Mary’s College, Indiana. Also performed by Tamar Mikelakze, piano, March 3, 2005, Composers Recital at Recital Hall, Indiana University South Bend; Mvt. 2. Bluesy Cantabile performed by Robert Coleridge, piano, 12th London New Wind Festival and Women in Music UK Joint Event, Regent Hall, London, England, December 11, 2009.

Piano Portraits: Nightwatch

1. In Memorium


2. Bluesy Cantabile

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Last modified on Thursday, 27/09/2018

Marjorie M. Rusche

Marjorie Rusche is an internationally performed award-winning contemporary classical composer who combines romantic, modernist, vernacular and world music influences in her compositions. Dr. Rusche composes music for opera, music theater, orchestra, chorus, a variety of vocal and instrumental chamber ensembles, soloists, dance, theatre, and film documentaries. She was honored as a guest artist and composer panel moderator at the 13th London New Music for Winds Festival, November 19, 2010, in London, England.

Awards and commissions include: 2012-2013 Associate Faculty Professional Development Grant, Indiana University South Bend; 2012 Music Composition Commission from USA Projects, Artists2Artists Fund, USA Open Matching Fund, Cheswatyr Music Commissioning Fund (American Composers Forum) and 30 individual donors; 2012 Associate Faculty Merit Status, Indiana University South Bend; 2011 Stickley Foundation Grant for Music Composition; 2011 Curriculum Development Grant, Indiana University; 2010 Associate Faculty Travel Grant, Indiana University South Bend; 2010-2011 IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future Sustainability Fellow; Columbia College Chicago Follett Fellowship; Saint Mary's College Women's Choir; Portland, Oregon, Regional Arts Commission grant; Indiana Music Teachers Association Convention Commission; South Bend Symphony Orchestra; the American Music Center's Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program, New York City; DuPage Chorale/American Composers Forum-Chicago Chapter; Stickley Foundation Opera Commission Award, South Bend, IN; Indiana State Arts Board Individual Composer Fellowship; Meet The Composer-Midwest; the Jerome Foundation, St. Paul, MN; the American Chamber Opera Company, New York City; Gotham Ensemble, New York City; Meet The Composer-New York Composer Performance Fund Award; Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, IN; McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition, St. Paul, MN; Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist Fellowship in Music Composition; Minnesota Composers Forum Demo Tape Grant; the Schubert Club, St. Paul, MN; Minnesota Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation Composers Commissioning Program Award; Skylight Comic Opera Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; DANCECIRCUS, Milwaukee, WI and yearly ASCAP Standard Awards Grants. Her compositions have been performed live and on radio in Amsterdam, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, San Francisco, Vienna, Kenya, Spain, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, and Wisconsin, her birth state.

Dr. Rusche is affiliated with ASCAP, New Music USA, the American Composers Forum, the International Alliance for Women in Music and the College Music Society. She teaches music composition, orchestration, opera, music theory, and piano at Indiana University South Bend and the University of Notre Dame. She has also been a music instructor at Colombia College Chicago, Saint Mary's College, Southwestern Michigan College and in Kenya while serving in the U.S. Peace Corps. She earned her D.M. in Music Composition from Indiana University School of Music-Bloomington and her M.A. in Music Composition and Theory from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.

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