Published on November 20th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Lou Rogai Shares ‘Cathedral’ Via Veriditas Recordings, Playing East Coast Dates
LOU ROGAI SHARES CATHEDRAL: AN EXPERIMENTAL ELEGY FOR CHAMBER ENSEMBLE IN 3 MOVEMENTS
COMPOSITION OUT NOW VIA VERIDITAS RECORDINGS
AVAILABLE ON 12″ VINYL + CD HERE
LISTEN & SHARE: Lou Rogai – Cathedral
Cathedral is an experimental elegy for chamber ensemble in three movements. The passages of this 17 minute piece are exercises and expressions on a theme. Orchestrations of classical guitar, woodwinds, brass, synthesizer, vocals, and piano are woven with tendrils of string movements and field recordings. Subconscious imagery acts as connective tissue, sense-memory recalling the theta dream-state. The movements work within an overarching reference to an inner cathedral or sanctuary, the spiritual chambers and corridors that we each have inside of us.
Rogai’s woodwind and brass ensemble, “Acceptance”, stands as the centerpiece; a medieval and Gregorian dirge which imagines Chet Baker’s sentimentality with the stillness of John Cage. Gothic and modern architecture meet in both literal and abstract passages, conveying a range of emotions in three variations. Orchestral shifts represent youthful exuberance (“Arrival”), the somber acceptance of letting-go (“Acceptance”), and the sublime and final reductive nature of transfiguration (“Ascent”).
In full-circle orbit, albeit a smaller concentric one, composer Lou Rogai found himself linked to the topography of his native NYC where three periods are represented; childhood, coming-of-age, and adulthood. Thematic flash-memories of a prior cityscape and recollections of once-familiar elements guide the narrative. There are personal metaphors at play, and the melodic structures of musical pieces he carries with him have shifted accordingly, each deserving of its own function and form.
Ties to Morningside Heights are in the form of various field recordings, past and present. The sounds within The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine resonate exactly as they did 20 years prior, his sanctuary for months while a family member was in hospice a block away. As the inside elements remain consistent, the outside environments were being glossed with a cultural sandblasting. Further neighborhood ties are field recordings from the halls where his teenage son attends music conservatory. Incidentally, Rogai’s mother attended the same school 50 years earlier, as did collaborator Patrick McGee and woodwind player Jay Rattman. These are threads and references woven throughout the tapestry of Cathedral.
Cathedral reminds us of a changing landscape, both personal and cultural, and the ability to find peace within chaos. It’s an experiment in carving out our own sacred spaces, taking clues from dreams and memories, and acknowledging the fabric from which our own story is woven.