Roderick Usher's 'Phantasmion'

Op. 25 | Solo Guitar | 1990

"Roderick Usher’s ‘Phantasmion’ was the result of one of my earliest ideas:  I recall clearly coming under the spell of Edgar Allen Poe sometime in elementary school.  I was particularly struck by Poe’s account of the mad English guitarist Roderick Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher).  Having just begun the serious study of the guitar myself,I immediately began improvising the sorts of weird dirges that Poe so vividly describes in the story.  Among other things, I tried detuning the guitar at random, and scraping my nails on the strings to aid my quest for the sorts of strange “unheard” harmonies that I imagined, and though this may have produced a bit of spontaneous, blissful microtonal cacophony (!) I never felt that I came even close to the wonderful music that Poe’s words conjured up.  After all, at that time I was far more interested in the Beatles and had hardly heard a note of Bartok or Stravinsky.  And so nothing came of the project at that time.  I at least had the sense to know that this was a task far beyond the technical and artistic capacity of my thirteen-year-old self.  Cut to the future:  I am now friends with one of the pre-eminent guitar virtuosos of our time, Scott Tennant.  With his encouragement I threw myself back into the eerie world of Poe’s bleak mid-nineteenth century England with s kind of frenzy, and simply allowed myself, once again, to be swept up in Poe’s wonderful musical imagery.  It was passages like the following that made this such an easy and enjoyable task." - IAN KROUSE

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In Summer, 2019 guitarist Robert Trent will record the premiere recording of ‘Roderick Usher’s Phantasmion’ at the UCLA Ostin Recording Studio, along with ‘Dror Yikro’ and two works by Ronald Pearl.  To be released by Urtext Digital Classics in 2019 or 2020.

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Copyright © 2019 by Crystal A. Frost