BEST OF THE HUDSON VALLEY 2009 – BRIDGE MUSIC
by Hudson Valley Magazine
Category – Best Things to Come Out of the Henry Hudson Quadricentennial
BEST OF 2004 – Year in Review
by John Barry, Poughkeepsie Journal [Gannett] Joseph Bertolozzi’s Wings of Eagles, performed by The Concert Band of the United States Military Academy at West Point, August 18, 2004 at Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY (see more in Columns & Editorials below).
BEST OF 2001 – Musical Highlights of the Year
by James F. Cotter, The Times Herald Record (Middletown, NY)
Joseph Bertolozzi’s The Contemplation of Bravery, performed by The Concert Band of the United States Military Academy at West Point, March 18, 2001, at Eisenhower Hall, West Point, NY.
December 2006, ARISTOS: An Online Review of the Arts – “The Joys of Light Music” by Jesse F. Knight
Joseph Bertolozzi is another accomplished composer of light music. Like many others in the field, he writes in other forms as well. Choral, chamber, solo piano, and liturgical music are prominent in his repertoire, not to mention stage scores. His light music fare includes “Suite Poughkeepsie”– an evocation, he has said, “of characteristic local scenes, impressions of [his] own experiences growing up [in Poughkeepsie, N. Y.], things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants.” At the other end of the musical spectrum are two of Bertolozzi’s more serious works: The Contemplation of Bravery, for solo French horn and strings–characterized by him as “introspective, meditative”–and An Age Will Come (commissioned in 1992 for the Columbus Quincentennial). These inspiring contemporary compositions may be heard in their entirety on the composer’s website [more on all three]. (Listen also to the United States Military Academy Band’s version of The Contemplation of Bravery.)
Sept 23, 2004, via e-mail from WHMT-FM, Classical Radio for the Capital Region
“….I also wanted to tell you what a delight it was to hear and introduce to others the Suite Poughkeepsie. As you might imagine, a radio announcer’s duty extends quite a bit beyond what happens on mic. Often, there is little time in the background amid the constant juggling act to really sit and absorb many of the pieces as much as I would like. All too seldom do I find pieces that, regardless of the circumstances of the moment, I sit back and am mesmerized and moved. The Suite Poughkeepsie was one such occasion. I very much look forward to playing it, as well as others, again and again.
Bill Winans, Radio Operations Manager”
WHAT OTHER RADIO ANNOUNCERS AND MUSIC DIRECTORS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE CONTEMPLATION OF BRAVERY CD
|KCSN – The Audition Booth, 88.5 – Los Angeles||This will get some airplay|
|WVTF – 89.1 – Roanoke, VA||This was pretty darned good. The “Suite Poughkeepsie” especially is really nice, very accessible, full of good tunes, just what classical radio needs now…|
|WHIL – 91.3 – Mobile, AL||The Bertolozzi is extra-specially fine. I’ve given it a big push among our announcers and have started to play it myself on the air.|
|WABE – 90.1 – Atlanta, GA||It’s a great disc, destined for airplay.|
|KHFM – 95.5 – Albuquerque, NM||Generating alot of interest from listeners!|
|KUNC – 91.5 – Greeley, CO||I’m listening and really like it.|
|WETA – 90.9 – Washington, DC||I like his compositional style|
|WUFT – 89.1 – Gainesville, FL||Nice and patriotic without being sappy.|
|KDB – 93.7 – Santa Barbara, CA||I like it|
|WOI – 90.1 – Ames, IA||These are good pieces. Some of the sections remind me of Copland.|
|WIUM – 91.3 – Macomb, IL||Have had it on the air – good stuff, and appropriate|
|WKYU Western’s PR – 88.9 – Bowling Green, KY||Contemplation of Bravery is good, and airable. I think I like Suite Poughkeepsie|
|WNMU – 90.1 – Marquette, MI||Initial listener response has been positive, especially for Suite Poughkeepsie|
|MPB / Mississippi Public Broadcasting – multi – Regional, MS||It’s a nice album. I played the Poughkeepsie Suite a few weeks ago|
|WWFM / New Jersey network – multi – Regional, NJ||I like Bertolozzi’s music|
|KRWG – 90.7 – Las Cruces, NM||I like it. I’ll program something from the Poughkeepsie Suite|
|WCLV – 104.9 – Cleveland, OH||I like the Bertolozzi|
|WQLN – 91.3 – Erie, PA||I will use each of the pieces on the air ….one a week to start|
|KUHF – 88.7 – Houston, TX||Will get this on for Veterans Day|
|WHRO – 90.3- Norfolk, VA||The “Contemplation of Bravery” disc is also very interesting…nice stuff. I’ll hit my new releases audience with it|
|KIXI – 880 – Bellevue, WA||Beautiful compositions|
|WVPW West Virginia Public Radio – MULTI – Regional Charleston – 88.9 WV||I really like this CD|
|KRFA – 1300 – Pullman, WA||Really interesting stuff|
|WDET – 101.9 FM – Detroit, MI||Bertolozzi pays homage to Poughkeepsie in this suite, a delightful musical journey through his hometown’s landmarks.|
PIANO & GONGS with MUNDO DIVINO
“AREA’S TOP MUSICIANS JAM”: ‘…Bertolozzi too lended his cymbal and gong prowess; later he performed a brilliant number, titled “Silent Meditation” (Meditation on Diviunm Mysterium) on the piano, while band mates chimed in with improvisation that accentuated the already flawless original rendition.’
Jennifer Warren, The Hudson Valley Press, December 7, 2011
“YANKEE TAVERN” – Sound design by Jeff Knapp using Bridge Music
Special note is in order regarding the very effective mood music titled “Bridge Music.” The unique sound was created by Joseph Bertolozzi, a percussion genius, who literally “played” one of the upper Hudson River bridges.
Rick Busciglio, The Northern Jersey Examiner, January 17, 2015
A most unusual aspect of this production is the “music” created by Joseph Bertolozzi. While the sounds do have pitch and rhythm, the instrument on which they have been produced was the Mid-Hudson Bridge. Thus “Bridge Music,” made up of percussive, metallic, brittle, punctuated and even grating sounds, adds to the enigmatic atmosphere.
Marcus Kalipolites, The Times Herald-Record, September 24, 2010
Not only do Bertolozzi’s alien rhythms produce a varied and delightful percussive fabric, at once tribal and industrial, but the range of melodic notes he entices from the huge structure, which is more than 3,000 feet long, is vast. It gives the album an absorbing sense of movement, as though you’re caught within its imposing machinery.
Mia Clarke, Time Out Chicago, June 11-17, 2009
WINGS OF EAGLES
Thursday August 19, 2004
West Point band adds zest to city anniversary, 350 enjoy speakers, concert
Kathianne Boniello, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY)
“……With the crisp singing of trumpets and a crescendo of church bells, the City of Poughkeepsie ended Wednesday’s 150th anniversary celebration with a flourish. The end of the piece, marked by the trumpets and bells, brought a standing ovation.”
Friday, August 20, 2004
CITY MARKS BIG ANNIVERSARY IN STYLE
The Poughkeepsie Journal – Editorial
It was a grand event, this celebration Wednesday of the 150th anniversary of Poughkeepsie becoming a city. The U.S. Military Academy Band from West Point was a joy to listen to, ranging from foot tapping show tunes to composer Joseph Bertolozzi’s inspirational piece titled ”The Wings of Eagles.” He grew up in the city and members of his family were on hand.
There were flags waving and speech making — just as there should have been on yet another historic happening in a history-rich city. Mayor Nancy Cozean deserves a lot of credit for this event and her fine touch was displayed in the way the schedule was designed and the way it stayed on track.
There were dark clouds hovering to the south of the city, but the storm never touched the hundreds of city residents who came out for the event. There were trumpeters on the U.S. Post Office balcony and on the roof of the Poughkeepsie Journal building, and they played boldly and well — building to a crescendo of bells ringing from the post office and churches around the city. A city makes progress in many ways. Sometimes there are giant steps and sometimes there are smaller events that make you proud. This was one of those.
August 27, 2004
BELLS SIGNALED CITY’S ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY
By John W. Barry
On The Record – Poughkeepsie Journal
A concert given last week by the United States Military Academy Band celebrating the City of Poughkeepsie’s 150th Anniversary was exciting and inspiring. An original composition written by Beacon composer Joseph Bertolozzi and performed by the ensemble underscored the sense that everyone in attendance at the intersection of Mansion Street and Civic Center Plaza was making some history of their own.
But as riveting as the concert was what happened a block south of the festivities, at the intersection of Mill Street and Civic Center Plaza. As the military band performed, the music its members made reverberated off the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. The sound was somewhat muffled, but it maintained much of its clarity and volume.
If you closed your eyes and stood at the west entrance to the Journal parking lot, you wouldn’t know if the music was coming from the north or the south. You were simply surrounded by sound. The experience was mind-bending and a little eerie. It was as if you were listening to the actual performance of the music and a shadow — or a ghost — of that performance.
This experience made me think of the countless spirits — ghosts, if you like — of Hudson Valley residents who built this valley centuries ago and were probably around 150 years ago, when Gov. Myron H. Clark signed the city’s charter.
The joyous atmosphere of the concert hinted at the fact that perhaps some of those spirits, basking in an accomplishment that had taken root over 150 years, were checking out the scene.
Also checking out the scene were several people at the Poughkeepsie Grand. Likely oblivious to the music I was hearing reverberate off the hotel were two people peeking their heads out of the parking garage and one guest who had pulled the blinds back from the window. All were checking out the party. Some looked through binoculars.
Capping the festivities was the ringing of the bell atop the post office, which triggered the ringing of church bells throughout the city. This exercise in aural stimulation was quite moving in a sacred sense, as it seemed that a presence from the great beyond, marked throughout history with the ringing of church bells, was checking in on the city’s birthday.
The domino effect of church bell ringing reminded me of a scene in the ‘‘Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,’’ when successive watchfires are set atop strings of towering mountains to summon armies to a final battle.
The bell-ringing also made me think of the Hudson Valley in Colonial times, when church bells might have been used to warn of the impending arrival of British troops or the need for hands to help fight a fire. But more than anything, the ringing of church bells last week helped me appreciate the coordinates where the city’s 150th anniversary stood — that place where past meets present.
Visit the Journal’s Web site
PIANO & ORGAN WORKS
Mr. Bertolozzi, an ebullient performer who clearly loves playing for an audience, presented a program of short, lighthearted pieces that ranged from the traditionally sacred to the jazzy, with bows to Bach, old American hymns, folk songs and dances. His artistic home is the musical theater tuneful, and at turns buoyant, witty, and pensive. Particularly enjoyable was his “Tarantella,” played on the organ pedals only – a delightful tour de force. Popular with the parishioners, Mr. Bertolozzi’s musicianship adds greatly to the mission of the church and to the community.
Cornelia Cotton, The Gazette (Croton-on-Hudson, NY) October 24, 2002
In the manner of Leonard Bernstein and John Williams, it is theatrical and tuneful, with a variety of moods: a robust opening fanfare, an elegiac tribute to the war dead, an Italian tarantella, a wedding march, and a swing session. It is an appealing, appropriate tribute to a city celebrating its bicentennial.
James Cotter, The Times Herald Record (Middletown, NY) March 12, 1999
[Conductor Randall] Fleischer led with Vivaldi and a re-orchestration of a classical work that was definitely a highlight of the experiment, setting the tone for what followed. And that was a brilliant work by local composer Joseph Bertolozzi for electric keyboard, entitled Concerto/Fantasy 85,” composed on (what else) the Yamaha SY 95. Suffice it to say, Vivaldi was in good company.
Taconic Newspapers, (Millbrook, NY) February 17, 1994
The Hudson Valley Philharmonic introduced an adventurous piece by local composer Joseph Bertolozzi, called Concerto/Fantasy 85. The work, with a Yamaha synthesizer as its focus, also showcased a range of textures, from chorused electric guitar arpeggios to a section with xylophone [sic: vibraphone]. At times, the orchestration recalled classic art rockers The Moody Blues, and it was an early highlight.
Anthony De Barros, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) February 14, 1994
Joe Bertolozzi’s composition [Concerto/Fantasy 85], influenced by the music of Yes, was interpreted by the Maestro [Randall Fleischer] in a dreamy fashion and transported me to another space and time. A truly beautiful composition, I made a mental note to catch one of Bertolozzi’s own performances to see what this young composer was capable of.
Stella Miller, Rhythm & News (Hyde Park, NY), March 1994
GRAND MOTETS FOR THE SACRED TRIDUUM
Much more challenging are the two “Grand Motets for the Sacred Triduum” which are meant to be sung by choirs such as [conductor Norma] Raybon’s. In the elaborate setting of portions of “Ave Verum Corpus” and “Regina Coeli” texts, in English, Bertolozzi has created contemporary church music that is equally appropriate to the church and concert hall.
Eric Goldberg, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) May 10, 1991
WAITING FOR GODOT
“Prologue to Waiting for Godot” [sic] by Joseph Bertolozzi, a local composer, gave the right, desperate mood.
Florence Pennella, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) April 22, 1990
TRIO CON BRIO
In the Trio Con Brio, Joseph Bertolozzi proved he is a renegade. Hasn’t he heard that consonance, tonality and beauty are old hat? No one writes music as simply gorgeous as his Adagio anymore. Thankfully he does.
Martin Heresniak, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) November 24, 1983
A Country Theater Repertory Company has an excellent finale with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Almost unbelievably they have added freshness to a song which, unfortunately, has all but become a cliché.’ [NB Joseph Bertolozzi arranged and orchestrated the finale].
Jeffery Borak, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) July 20, 1980
THE ECCENTRICITES OF A NIGHTINGALE
….and in the atmospheric score composed by Joseph Bertolozzi this production of “Eccentricities” captures the haunting mood and rhythm of [Tennessee] Williams’ piece.
Jeffery Borak, The Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) October 28, 1978
TAKIN’ IT TO THE BRIDGE
by Steve Hopkins
The Hudson Valley Chronic
“…Move over, James Brown; Joe Bertolozzi is the hardest-working man in show business. Joseph Bertolozzi is nothing short of a force of nature, a man for whom the word “no” seems beyond the range of a usually sharp sense of hearing.”
WINGS OF EAGLES
Friday, December 31, 2004
The Year in Review: Musical Events
By John W. Barry
The Poughkeepsie Journal
“….On the other end of the spectrum [from Bob Dylan, U2, and Willie Nelson] was a majestic concert held Aug. 18 that celebrated the City of Poughkeepsie’s 150th anniversary. Staged in front of the Poughkeepsie Post Office, across from City Hall and the Journal building, the concert featured symphonic and patriotic selections from the United States Military Academy Band.” “The highlight of the event, which also included horn players on the Journal roof and post office balcony, was the debut of “Wings of Eagles,” which Beacon composer Joseph Bertolozzi wrote for the occasion.”
“The Hudson Valley Our Heritage, Our Future”
Chapter Eight, p. 260
“Recognizing the talent in our midst the Hudson Valley Philharmonic has played music of composers who are our neighbors, such as Peter Schickele, Robert Starer, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, Joseph Bertolozzi, Meyer Kupferman and Richard Wilson.”
Copyright 2005, Poughkeepsie Journal. Reprinted with permission. (www.poughkeepsiejournal.com)
SAINT THOMAS CHURCH FIFTH AVENUE
New York, New York
Dear Mr. Bertolozzi,
Thank you so very much for your good letter of the twenty-seventh, with the very impressive information about yourself and your career. I am deeply moved above all by the wonderful music you have produced.
You are a superb composer, and I hasten to congratulate you upon such truly beautiful music, so skillfully wrought, so sincere and convincing. You have a wonderful ear, and know just how to write down and communicate to others your musical thoughts. You are very well-organized indeed, so that your ideas are understood at once. You are an excellent painter of the words of the text; the colors that you employ are evocative and make great musical sense. Your counterpoint and your sense of sonority are excellent.
The church is in great and grave need of artists such as yourself! Keep up the great work! Too often, we complain about the state of “church music,” and yet do nothing about it. There you are, in your own parish, creating music for the specific needs of a parish. I think it’s wonderful, and I much encourage you to keep it up!
I have noted at length each of your works, with the hope and thought that we might someday, with your permission, perform them here at Saint Thomas Church. In the meanwhile, keep up this great work.
With congratulations and very best wishes, especially for your continuing
successes, I am,
Gerre Hancock, Organist and Master of Choristers
31 December 1990
PHINNEY RIDGE LUTHERAN CHURCH
In an e-mail to hornist Mark Robbins, upon his performing Trances & Visions at their church:
Our worship last Sunday was ever so much more rich because of this composition you so beautifully brought to us. It lifted the entire service to a new and deeper level and people are still talking about it, so moved were they.
It was the perfect response to the old testament story about the handing of the prophetic task from one generation to another, for whom trances and visions were the ways in which God revealed God’s message of abiding love.
One seasoned churchman, new to our congregation, was nearly bursting as he declared that this was the BEST Transfiguration service he had ever attended. In his words, “it all came together – the preaching, the music . . .all of it.”
Thank you for bringing this particular piece to us and for sharing your musical talent that reached so deeply into our souls. Please come again!
Pastor Bev Piro, Associate Pastor, Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
February 22, 2012
I am forwarding one of the several notes I received about your participation in our services on Sunday.Seldom in all of my years at PRLC have I heard such an outpouring of positive comments – especially comments about how well the added musical offering added to the overall worship experience…Every church musicians dream! Thanks so much for helping to make that come true.Particularly gladdened to hear how so many congregants were uplifted and found meaning and means of meditation by what you offered. Please communicate this to the composer as well.It is such a joy to make music with you.
Valerie Shields, Organist, Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
February 22, 2012
THE HOWLAND CULTURAL CENTER
Beacon, New York
The performance you gave of the “Bronze Collection” on Sunday was absolutely incredible. We didn’t know what to expect from a program which featured 50 various cymbals and gongs from all over the world. Your original compositions were extraordinary! Your mastery of the instruments was fantastic! You gave one of the finest performances we have ever experienced here at The Howland Cultural Center.
In spite of the hot weather, no air-conditioning, and a standing- room only audience, people were enthralled with the music, the unique presentation of instruments, and especially the beautiful sounds you produced from the “Bronze Collection.” Your reputation as a musician and composer is so well-established, but this unique concert gave everyone one more reason to follow wherever you perform. And we hope it will be often at the Howland Cultural Center.
Florence Northcutt, President
May 27, 2004
New York, New York
I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed your Bronze Collection CD. I was even more taken by your live performance. The music is so much more vibrant when you perform it live. Watching you move around your rig, and the spinning gongs, etc. is all just so visually compelling.
I cannot think of anyone else that is doing what you are doing. It is a real conversation starter with a lot of buzz around it. I am always looking for performers that can make a real impact with the audience and leave them still talking about the experience for weeks to come. I think that you would be perfect for some of the events that we are starting to put together for the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. I’ll work you into some of these events. Stay in touch!
Carl Barnes, Director, Event Marketing
October 3, 2003
CUNNEEN-HACKETT ARTS CENTER
Poughkeepsie, New York
I am pleased to be able to say that I have had the happy opportunity to listen to the music of Joe Bertolozzi for the past 10 years. Joe is a consummate musician; dynamic, professional and totally dedicated to his craft. His “Bronze Collection” is a very unique and intriguing percussion/gong presentation, that can capture the attention of the casual
listener, while selling the connoisseur on its musical/compositional merits. Joe is also community minded and seems to thrive on creating new learning venues and sharing his love for music.
Jo Ann Feigenheimer, Executive Director
December 8, 2003
At St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill, New York we found one of the most energized musicians encountered on our travels: Joseph Bertolozzi. While awaiting the replacement of a totally inadequate electronic organ in what is otherwise a striking, modern worship space, he makes his own arrangements of the service music and hymns for his resident “band” each week.
Particularly impressive is the fact that he canvasses the congregation, procures a dozen faithful, volunteer players and then writes for their specific instruments. This practice is certainly in keeping with the great historic tradition of the church musician.
The combination there can be curious (strings, flutes, trumpets and a saxophone) but Bertolozzi makes it work. By virtue of the forces at hand, this ensemble makes good, colorful, and rhythmic accompaniments for the music of the Mass.