Collected Works of Dary John Mizelle, Vol. 1

Dary John Mizelle

Total Time

Track Time Preview Cost +Add
1 Metalsong II (1997) [Margaret Leng Tan] 7:51 $1.49
2 Soundscape: Metal [Oberlin Percussion Group] 5:35 $0.99
3 Soundscape: Skin 2:40 $0.99
4 Soundscape: Wood 7:18 $0.99
5 Soundscape: Earth 3:41 $0.99
6 Soundscape: Glass 6:23 $0.00 Free Downloads
7 Soundscape: All 6:31 $0.99
8 Pi/Grace for percussion solo (1971) [Brad Carbone] 16:46 $1.99
9 Samadhi for electronic media 12:45 $1.99
Format: FLAC (16 Bit/CD Quality)
Full Album Includes ALC Version

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Audiences and critics alike have hailed Dary John Mizelle as a Renaissance Man of modern music, giving rebirth to the traditional sounds of ancient instruments such as the Japanese Shakuhachi flute, extended use of the human voice, and conventional and unconventional acoustical instruments. His palette includes the symphony orchestra and chorus, as well as the exciting sounds of electronic and computer music.

Soundscape, Collected Works Vol. 1 is the first volume in a series which will document the major works by this acclaimed multidimensional composer, and includes works for percussion, toy piano, and electronic media.


The disc begins with the premiere recording of Metalsong II, beautifully performed by toy piano diva, Margaret Leng Tan, followed by the epic Soundscape for percussion ensemble. Soundscape is a breathless tour de force which takes the listener on a metascopic and quite endless journey into the essence of matter and its inherent wave defining potential. Pi/Grace is a meditative work looks outward to the endless reaches of space, finding a point of eternal grace somewhere between the lustrous tympani glissandi and the resonant wood blocks. Samadhi is a work that can truly be appreciated when one's consciousness is removed from the mundane. Mizelle's use of these classic retro synth sounds and ancient computing technology make this work extra cool.

Metalsong II was written at the request of Margaret Leng Tan after hearing my instrument the alumiphone, used in the New York premiere of Winter Suite in the summer of 1997. I composed Metalsong as a virtuoso piece for toy piano and alumiphone in which the performer is asked to make rapid changes in color and instrumental technique. Never having written for the toy piano, I began by planning a structure and composing some keyboard music. In the course of our work, it became clear that I would have to approach this piece as a solo percussion work, and I made a new beginning, with a happy result. Metalsong is a part of SPANDA, a complex of 198 compositions designed with a coherent macroform lasting 13 days the composition of which was begun in 1989, and is still in progress. The title derives from the sound world of the composition, which consists mainly of the sound of plastic hammers and mallets striking metal rods. Metalsong II is dedicated to Margaret Leng Tan.
Soundscape was composed for the Oberlin Percussion Group and the collection of percussion Instruments at the Oberlin Conservatory, augmented by several of my own. Soundscape is a six-movement work for percussion ensemble composed during the summer of 1976. The first five movements exhibit essentially different approaches to rhythm, structural process, and timbre. The sonic materials for each of these five movements are derived directly from different material substances; Metal, Skin, Wood, Earth, Glass.
The structural processes of these movements are reflective of universal shapes which can be realized in any musical parameter.

. < Growth process
II. > Decay process
III. <> Growth and decay process
IV. >< Decay and growth process
V. –––Stasis: process of no change

The rhythms of each of the first live movements follow essentially different processes of organization.

1.) Modal rhythm based on two cycles: 18 beats arranged as 3,1,1,1,1,3,1,1,1,2,2 and 21 beats arranged as 3,3,5,2.4,4. Toward the end of the movement these two cycles are integrated several different levels of organization.
2.) Metrical rhythm realized in cross-rhythmic structures (some as complex as 13:17:19:23). Prime numbers are used in realizing this process.

3.) Free rhythm at the microstructural level; the overall duration is controlled in a general way.

4.) Rhythm used texturally. Each part has an independent polyrhythmic cell which is subjected to an additive-subtractive process which determines the form. The central section using struck stones utilizes unequal-lengthened periods, which come into synchronization at the exact center of the movement.
5.) No determination of microrhythm, but exactly timed macrorhythm.
6.) The sixth and final movement accomplishes an Integration of the timbres, structural processes and rhythmic processes of the First five movements: this results in a complex spiral structure.

I think of this piece as an extension of the ancient Chinese idea that associates the timbre of various instruments with the materials out of which they are made. Each movement is designed to be performed in a different area of the performance space, and this idea is reflected in the recording and mixing techniques used.
Pi/Grace grew out of improvisations I made in San Diego during 1971 with percussionist Ron George, who was fond of placing resonant metal instruments on timpani heads so that the drums would act like an acoustical amplifier for the metal sounds. The earliest versions of the score were simple colored drawings showing the motion of the timpani pedals and the piece was often performed in the dark with laser illumination of the instruments. I composed the present score in early 1972 and scored it for two percussionists; it was premiered in 1973 at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I developed the solo version heard on this CD with percussionist Brad Carbone and it represents a unique realization of the score. Unlike most of my percussion music, Pi/Grace contains very few loud sounds and exists somewhere between "normal" acoustical percussion music and live electronic music using amplified small sounds. The title refers to an I Ching hexagram, which speaks of "beauty of form".

Samadhi was composed in 1978 and realized using the Hybrid Studio at the Oberlin College Conservatory. The synthesis system in this studio consisted of a digital synthesizer designed and built by the Italian computer scientist Sergio Franco, and a DEC PDP8 minicomputer which controlled the synthesizer through programming commands entered through the switch register. The musie attempts to depict the state of Samadhi or the blissful state when the mind is quieted through yogic concentration. I had read about this state in the fourteenth chapter of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramalmsa Yogananda. The form of the composition is the hourglass shape with longer sections at the extremes and shorter sections in the middle. The work was premieded at the International Computer Music Festival in 1978 held at Northwestern University in Chicago.


Mizelle's imaginative use of timbre sustains [the listener's] interest...the sound is excellent." John Story, Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 2000

"Soundscape " is like a percussion thesaurus. The whole record is quite brilliant." Lukas Foss, Composer, Conductor
"I have always found [Mizelle's] writing to be imaginative, deep-probing and, without question, challenging and original." Kenneth Gaburo, Composer, Publisher

"Polyphonies I... combines the remarkable reath sounds possible on the Japanese shakuachi with an equally remarkable set of electronic sounds." Tom Johnson, The Village Voice

"...just beautiful, just beautiful." John Cage, Composer
' heir to the experimental, spiritual tradition of Ives and Cage....' Kyle Gann, Village Voice
"....a shrewd and imaginative manipulator of sound..." Bernard Holland, New York Times

"We live in an era which has as ethical imperative the careful and conscious allocation of energy and resources, beginning with our own. We are part of a musical community that is seemingly aesthetically tired and often paralyzed in its capacity to assert judgement. What we decide to hear -- and not hear -- defines our values. We choose our music carefully because we feel it has meaning worthy of advocacy and contemplation, and because its appearance fulfills a need in the community. The music of Dary John Mizelle has for too long been underground. His steadfast individuality has no doubt served the integrity of his music, but it is time for his work to receive a broader dissemination. What we hear in his considerable output of over 300 compositions is music of protean diversity, but unmistakbly his own. It embraces western and eastern traditions, and acoustic and electronic instruments, with an ease and purity that makes it all seem natural. Mizelle's roots are many, and have served him well in forging his own voice. In the western composer in him, there are shades of Bartok, Messiaen, and Xenakis. His works are designed with a careful sale of macro- and micro-structure, with large-scale and internal rhythms derived from eastern music and American jazz, and with a mathematical exactitude and concern for detail. Yet within such careful archetecture, Mizelle often gives his performers room to move about or improvise, and to establish their own sense of space and time. Mizelle takes care to see that the complexity and structure of his music mirrors the complexity and structure of nature: elegance of design co-exists with fortuity. In a work such as LAKE - MOUNTAIN - THUNDER, Mizelle is a landscape artist, exhibiting a reverence for sound and its placement. He expands our sense of space and time, and takes us to a vista of the natural world where we may experience a revelation of the designs, processes, and sounds he so loves. Dary John Mizelle is one of our most important composers. We find his music, and where it takes us, to be essential." John Kennedy and Charles Wood, Directors of Essential Music


Special Thanks to West Center Church, Paul Deege, Alan Ross, Pier Giacalone, Jerry Graham, Graham Newton, Silas Brown, Bob Hoover, Frank Eaton, & Alaskan Audio Arts.

Produced By: Marc Wolf
Executive Producers: Jeremy Tressler & Marc Wolf
Recording & Engineering: Jeremy Tressler, Dreamflower Studio
Mastered by: Jeremy Tressler, Dreamflower Studio
Liner Notes: Dary John Mizelle
Design & Typography: Marc Wolf
Microscopic Images: Sven Schirm


*Soundscape recorded by Tom Bethel  Oct. 23-25. 1980 at Oberlin Conservatory & Produced by Dary John Mizelle and Ned Rothenberg.


This is a composer supervised recording.

All selections published by Mizelle Music.
© 2000 furious artisans

Buy the compact disc here:

Dary John Mizelle: Soundscape [Compact Disc]

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